Diagram based water cooled chiller plant diagram

Learning objectives. As a consulting engineer, knowing when to design an air-cooled chilled water plant or a water-cooled chilled water plant can be a challenge.

While the systems are similar, they have fundamental differences that will address unique project goals.

diagram based water cooled chiller plant diagram

This article will explain the components of each plant and present clear guidelines for optimized use of both plants, depending on the building type, size and client goals. This article will review the advantages and disadvantages of each system bases on size, noise control, cost and efficiencies. The primary argument is that in most cases water-cooled chilled water plants provide the most long-term benefits in terms of energy and cost savings, despite the higher upfront costs.

An air-cooled chilled water plant consists of an air-cooled chiller, located outside of the building; primary and secondary pumps; expansion tank; air separator; and some form of chemical treatment. See figures for images of air-cooled chiller plant diagrams and an installed air-cooled chiller.

Figure 1: A water-cooled chiller installed for a data center in the United States is optimal for long-term cost savings benefiting the building owner. Courtesy: Page. A water-cooled chilled water plant consists of a water-cooled chiller, typically located inside the building. They also can be placed outside the building and include chilled water pumps, an expansion tank, an air separator, chemical treatment, cooling towers located outside of the building, condenser water pumps, makeup water to accommodate evaporation of the condenser-water and chemical treatment.

See Figure 2 for an example of an installed water-cooled chiller. Figure 2: This is a photo of an installed water-cooled chiller. For illustrative purposes, a ton air-cooled chiller plant will be compared to a ton water-cooled chiller plant.

A primary-secondary pumping arrangement consists of a primary loop in which the water is pumped through the chiller constantly mostly used in the past or variably more common today to produce the desired chilled water temperature. The secondary loop consists of a pump or pumps that pulls the chilled water from the primary loop and pumps it through the building loop to the air handling units, fan coil units or to whatever piece of equipment is being used in the building to deliver conditioned air.

The secondary pump s can either operate in constant speed or variable speed, depending on the type of controls for the system. If the secondary pump s operate in variable speed, the pump speed will vary based upon the pressure in the building loop piping system.

The chilled water flow through the respective coils at the AHUs and FCUs is controlled by either a two- or three-way control valve.

Commonly, three-way valves are used to maintain flow through a section of pipe, typically at the end of a long run or to maintain a minimum flow through a coil or piping system. A differential pressure sensor typically located two-thirds of the way downstream in the longest pipe run in the building loop; it will control the speed of the secondary pump s.

In the same manner, when the control valves begin to open to allow more chilled water flow, the pressure in the building loop will decrease, which will increase the speed of the secondary pump s to keep up with the building demand.

There also should be a decoupler between the primary and secondary loop. See Figure 4, which shows the different components between a water-cooled chiller system and an air-cooled chiller system. An air-cooled chiller plant occupies less square footage in a building than the water-cooled chiller plant, typically because only the pumps, expansion tank, air separator, etc.

A sound level increase of 10 db is the equivalent to double the noise. Figure 4: This compares the different components of a water-cooled chiller system and an air-cooled chiller system.

An air-cooled chiller consists of a compressor and a fan, which both produce environmental noise. A compressor generates more noise than a fan, thus cooling towers are quieter during operation. There are many options or strategic designs that could dampen the noise generated by an air-cooled chiller plant. For example, most air-cooled chillers have an option of a sound blanket, which is an additional cost. Sound barrier walls are also alternatives to dampen the compressor noise to the surrounding environment.Many climates have hot weather.

Some places are hot year-round. This is all thanks to the chilled water system. Chilled water systems are used in medium and large-sized buildings. Chiller plants act as a centralized cooling system that provides cooling for an entire building or even multiple buildings.

How Chiller Systems Work

This is because it is often more practical to centralize air conditioning equipment in one location rather than install many pieces of equipment in many different places. Even though chilled water systems are a new idea to most people, the concept has actually been around since the time of the ancient Romans.

In order to cool their buildings, the Romans would run water through the walls to cool the space inside. Then inCarrier invented the first centrifugal chiller, which made it possible to provide large-scale air conditioning for buildings.

Since then, chillers have undergone much innovation and there are many different types of chillers. However, the purpose of a chiller remains the same: To remove heat from water. At the heart of the water chilled system, a chiller removes heat from water by means of a refrigeration cycle.

The compressor is what drives the entire process. It also uses the most energy in a chilled water system. The chilled water loop consists of pipes and pumps that move chilled water around a building. A chilled water pump CHWP pushes chilled water through the chiller and through the chilled water line around the building. The chilled water that exits a chiller is called the chilled water supply CHWS.

When a chiller is producing chilled water, the heat that is removed from the chilled water must be rejected somewhere — usually outside of the building. The chiller system is the facilitator of heat transfer between the inside of a building and outside of a building. There two main types of chilled water cooling systems: air-cooled chillersand water-cooled chillers.

Air-cooled chillers are almost always located outside of a building and remove heat from the chilled water by exhausting the heat directly to the surrounding air. Air-cooled chillers exhaust heat from the condenser coil.

diagram based water cooled chiller plant diagram

As warm refrigerant passes through the condenser coil, the outside air blows over the condenser coil and removes heat from the refrigerant. The refrigerant then passes through an expansion valve, where it rapidly cools and goes through the evaporator, where it cools the chilled water. This process is then repeated all over again.

Water-cooled chillers are almost always located inside of a building. They work almost the same way as air-cooled chillers. The difference is that they remove heat from chilled water by exhausting the heat to a second, isolated water line called the condenser water line.

The condenser water flows through the chiller and picks up heat. The condenser water then returns to the cooling tower. The cooling tower is almost always located outside of the building and removes heat from the condenser water by evaporating some of the condenser water into the atmosphere. As some of the condenser water evaporates, heat is removed from the condenser water, and the cool condenser water flows back to the chiller. Water-cooled chiller systems are very energy efficient.If you work with industrial machinery, you might use a process chiller system to keep your machines from overheating.

Air- versus water-cooled chilled water plants

They can be very effective in keeping things at optimal temperatures, but how does a chiller work? Knowing how process chillers work can be helpful in choosing the best system to meet your needs. To put it simply, industrial chillers cool process fluids. The process fluid absorbs heat from what is being cooled and then goes through the chiller where the heat is removed from the fluid and transferred to the ambient air.

Industrial water or glycol chiller systems contain two main circuits: a refrigeration circuit and a fluid circuit. The refrigeration circuit is made up of four components: the compressor, the condenser, the expansion valve and the evaporator.

diagram based water cooled chiller plant diagram

The refrigeration circuit removes heat from the process fluid. The fluid circuit is typically comprised of a fluid reservoir, a pump, filters, and a heat exchanger. The fluid circuit carries the process fluid around the object being cooled.

The refrigeration circuit is the most technical part of how a chiller works. The refrigeration cycle uses the principles of thermodynamics to efficiently move heat from one area to another. In the case of chillers, heat is taken from the fluid being chilled and transferred to the ambient air.

The refrigeration cycle begins with the compressor. The compressor takes low-pressure low-temperature refrigerant in gas form and compresses it into a high-pressure high-temperature gas. This gas then flows through coils in the condenser. While in the condenser, air or water will flow over the coils and remove heat from the refrigerant.

As the refrigerant loses heat it will begin to condense until all of the gas has condensed into a liquid. After leaving the condenser, the liquid goes through the expansion valve. The expansion valve restricts the flow of refrigerant. When the high-pressure liquid goes through the expansion valve it enters the evaporator. The evaporator is where the refrigerant starts evaporating back into a gas. When the refrigerant evaporates it gets very cold and absorbs a lot of heat.

It is in the evaporator that the process fluid will interact with the cold refrigerant.This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Learn more about how Advantage Engineering, Inc.

diagram based water cooled chiller plant diagram

Please refer to the Advantage Engineering Privacy Policy. We are open and ready to support your business. Compressor 1 The compressor has two functions in the refrigerant cycle.

First, it removes the refrigerant vapor from the evaporator and reduces the pressure in the evaporator to a point where the desired evaporating temperature can be maintained. Second, the compressor raises the pressure of the refrigerant vapor to a level high enough so that the temperature is higher than the temperature of the cooling medium available for condensing in the refrigerant vapor.

Air-Cooled Condenser 2 The air-cooled condenser is a heat exchanger where the process heat absorbed by the refrigerant is given off to the air around it. As heat is given off by the high temperature high pressure vapor, its temperature falls until the vapor condenses to a liquid.

A centrifugal blower or motor driven fans generate airflow across the condenser. High Pressure Limit 3 Protects the system against excessive pressure in the refrigerant circuit. High Pressure Pressure Gauge 4 Provides visual indication of the refrigerant condensing pressure. Liquid Receiver 5 The receiver is required to hold the system refrigerant charge during service.

Filter Drier 6 The Filter Drier removes moisture, dirt, and other foreign materials from the refrigerant that will harm the system components and reduce efficiency. Liquid Line Solenoid 7 The Liquid Line Solenoid is an electrically controlled refrigerant flow control valve that closes when the compressor stops.

This prevents liquid refrigerant from migrating to the evaporator and causing liquid slugging when the compressor starts again. Liquid slugging can cause severe damage to the compressor. The valve is opened when the compressor is on.

Refrigerant Sight Glass 8 The Refrigerant Sight Glas allows the operator or serviceman to observe the flow of liquid refrigerant. Adequate refrigerant is determined by a clear liquid flow. Bubbles in the liquid flow indicate a shortage of refrigerant. The moisture indicator provides a warning in the event that moisture enters the system, indicating that service is required. A green indicator signals no moisture content. A yellow indicator signals that the system is contaminated with moisture and requires service.

Expansion Valve 9 The Expansion Valve meters the flow of liquid refrigerant into the evaporator at the proper rate to provide cooling of the process water. As more cooling is required, additional refrigerant is metered through the valve into the evaporator. When activated, the valve opens and allows hot refrigerant gas to enter the refrigerant stream entering the evaporator. This reduces the effective capacity of the system.

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