Daikin Introduces Free Cooling with Pathfinder Chiller

Daikin has introduced an integrated water-side economizer (WSE) for its Pathfinder Air-cooled Screw Chiller. The WSE, providing what is commonly known as "free cooling," uses outdoor air to naturally cool water and other process fluids, reducing compressor work and increasing chiller efficiency. The Pathfinder with Free Cooling also operates without needing water from a cooling tower. This drastically cuts water use, as well as costs for water, sewer and chemical treatment. The new chiller with integrated WSE is well-suited for data centers and other buildings with higher power requirements and indoor temperatures.

The Daikin Applied Pathfinder Air-cooled Screw Chiller now available with an integrated water-side economizer.

"Water availability is starting to become a widespread problem," said Hugh Hudson, data center market manager, Daikin Applied. "For many organizations, water conservation is part of their sustainability efforts, and some facilities are in areas with water restrictions. By omitting a cooling tower or evaporative cooling system, free-cooling chillers put less stress on municipal infrastructure and the environment."

Most free-cooling systems require two separate pieces of equipment, a chiller and dry cooler, along with a layer of controls for coordination. By adding an on-board economizer to the Pathfinder, both tuned at the factory to optimize control and performance, the Daikin technology decreases installation and commissioning times, and related expenses. Overall, the Pathfinder with Free Cooling can trim upfront capital costs by as much as 40% compared to traditional economizer applications.

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The integrated layout also is more compact, reducing air-flow clearances and interconnecting pipes. Plus, the chiller's pipe headers are made of multi-layer polypropylene to eliminate corrosion and contaminants while trimming weight and the load on a building's roof. They are located on the exterior of the unit for service and maintenance access, and they are removable too, allowing the entire unit to fit in a standard shipping container.

Efficient cooling in a smaller footprint allows for larger facility scale and higher power densities. It enables code-compliant designs as well, helping meet ASHRAE 90.1 and 90.4 standards and other regional and local codes.

"The Pathfinder with Free Cooling is particularly suited to data centers, which are rapidly growing in number, size and power density," said Hudson. "The chiller-WSE combination simplifies construction, which ultimately lowers cost while decreasing the risk of installation errors and schedule overruns."

The Pathfinder functions in three different modes — free cooling, mechanical and hybrid — to optimize energy performance and, for a data center, improve power usage effectiveness (PUE). At low ambient temperatures, the WSE coils reject the heat, allowing the chiller compressors to shut down, eliminating power draw entirely. Daikin's proprietary microchannel fluid coil design also allows the unit to operate at a lower air pressure drop, which decreases the energy required to run the fans, furthering efficiency and contributing to a faster payback.

When the unit operates in high ambient temperature conditions, the Pathfinder uses Daikin's Variable Volume Ratio (VVR) technology and a variable frequency drive to maximize efficiency, resulting in substantial cost savings for building owners over the life of the equipment. This is the first factory-packaged air-cooled chiller that provides both an integrated WSE and VVR compressor technology. 

About Daikin Applied

Daikin Applied, a member of Daikin Industries, Ltd, designs and manufactures technologically advanced commercial HVAC systems for customers around the world. Customers turn to Daikin with confidence that they will experience outstanding performance, reliability, and energy efficiency. Daikin Applied equipment, solutions, and services are sold through a global network of dedicated sales, service and parts offices. For more information, visit www.DaikinApplied.com.