A chilled water plant’s annual operating cost is a major contributor in a facility budget. Typical chilled water plants consist of multiple chillers, cooling towers, chilled water pumps, condenser water pumps, plate heat exchangers and water treatment equipment.
The chilled water is generated in the central plant and then transported through a piping network to cooling coils (air handlers), or to point of end-use in processes. Facility directors and energy managers are always chasing multiple goals - satisfying all the customers, maintaining a high-level of reliability and minimizing energy spends with varying demand and weather. Therefore, many modern plants employ a good chiller optimization package such as Hudson Technologies’ SMARTenergy OPS® in conjunction with Building Automation Systems (BAS) to optimize the chiller plants.
Chiller Plant Efficiency Driven by Cooling Tower Management
In a water-cooled chiller plant, cooling towers facilitate heat removal. Cooling towers are designed for peak summer conditions - high temperature and humidity. The efficient operation of a chilled water plant is highly dependent on cooling tower management. In practice, four cooling tower management strategies are applied, i.e., constant setpoint, seasonal reset, manual reset, and automatic reset. Application of a strategy is based on the chiller plant configuration and operation philosophy at a particular plant. Automatic reset is the most energy efficient strategy. It uses prevailing ambient conditions and the actual cooling load to continuously make setpoint changes.
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