1COLD Industrial Chillers are commonly used to dehumidify the air or cool process fluid. Most chillers either employ the use of an absorption cycle or vapour compression for cooling.This is useful for simple applications and a variety of complex industries like aerospace and data communication. However, not all industrial chillers are the same. Depending on the amount of cooling needed, chillers used in different industries can be classified into three major types:
- Air chillers
- Water chillers
- Evaporative condensed chillers
Air chillers, sometimes called air handlers, are chillers which cool the air by transferring sensible and latent heat from the air to chill water. This is in order to cool and dehumidify the air streams. Air chillers are most popular in HVAC systems and air conditioning applications that may be rated with 15 to 1500 tons of cooling capacity. This type of chiller typically employs vapour compression refrigeration for cooling.
Water chillers are used in mid-range to large industrial and commercial facilities. This type of chiller uses cooling towers, which are heat rejection devices. This process removes wasted heat into the atmosphere. Cooling towers help retain cool temperatures inside buildings and/or facilities and make water chillers more effective when installed indoors. Using water chillers reduces energy consumption by more than 15% and allows a quieter operation due to the absence of fans that are usually present in air chillers.
Evaporative condensed chillers are somewhat similar to water chillers. However, they use mists of water and employ the principles of evaporative cooling instead of the usual use of absorption refrigeration or vapour compression. This makes evaporative condensed chillers more efficient than traditional air chillers but with lower efficiency compared to water chillers. Unlike water chillers, evaporative condensed chillers don’t need cooling towers to remove internal heat, making them effective for use in either indoor or outdoor applications.
Under these three major categories are the subcategories determined by the compressor types used in industrial chillers. They are:
- Reciprocating chillers – These chillers use reciprocating compressors that enable them to deliver small amounts of refrigerant at high levels of pressures.
- Centrifugal chillers – These are the most typical chillers in the industry because of their energy efficiency, high refrigerant flow and higher volume for low pressure applications.
- Screw driven chillers – Simply apply the use of screws to reduce direct volume between two rotors during gas compression.
- Absorption chillers