System Assessments

For U.S. Flue-Cured Tobacco Growers, Inc. (USFCTG) sustainability is a guiding practice for tobacco production from seed to delivery. So when traditional chemical water treatment had proven problematic in air washers at its plant in Timberlake, North Carolina, the company thought outside the box for solutions to address a variety of issues while also supporting its sustainability goals. 

“Evaporative cooling capacity for the district system is provided by a six-cell, open-loop cooling tower capable of 6,000 tons,” said Reid Olsen, USU Central Energy Plant Manager, who has been at the university for 26 years. “This tower serves the condensers of the water-cooled chillers at the heart of the district cooling system. There are four chillers in all, two of which are rated for 1,800 tons each, and the other two are 900 tons apiece. The cooling towers reject heat from the condenser water loop via evaporative cooling, allowing the chillers to supply chilled water to the campus cooling loop.”
Do water-cooled chiller plants still deliver lower utility bills? Today, many chiller plant energy analyses carefully account for energy costs, and even energy escalation rates – a factor that projects how fuel costs will increase over time, while ignoring water and wastewater costs associated with cooling towers. While highly effective at transferring heat, cooling towers consume millions of gallons of water each year through the process of evaporation, drift, and blowdown. With the rising cost of water and wastewater, this omission can result in an incomplete picture for the building owner.
The 2020 AHR Expo, the world’s largest HVACR event, was held February 3-5, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Supported by event co-sponsors, ASHRAE and AHRI, along with 31 other major industry organizations, and more than 1,900 exhibiting companies, AHR Expo is the industry’s largest global marketplace to network, share best practices and learn about innovative solutions from all over the world. With more than 200 free seminars, the education program featured new product and technology presentations, professional certifications, and education sessions focused on general industry-wide topics, engineering, industry trends, and topics tailored to attract the OEMs, engineers, contractors, facility operators, architects and other HVACR industry professionals from more than 160 countries.
The need to pay close attention to the university’s central chiller plant has always been a priority given the energy required to power the chillers, said Michael Bolien, Manager of Central Plant Operations, University of Tulsa. At TU, seven water-cooled chillers provide 7,000 tons of cooling capacity to all university facilities. “Over the past five years, TU has had a 17% increase in cooling load, based on the square footage of new buildings. Because our central chiller plant is our biggest energy user, optimizing its operations is our first line of defense,” said Bolien.
Chillers are an essential component in many building Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems. They provide cooling to the building by working in tandem with pumps and cooling towers in a water-cooled chiller plant. Because of the chiller’s complexity and its role in cooling facilities, it is arguably the most important piece of equipment to maintain.
Among key initiatives at DENSO’s Maryville, Tennessee, facility is the use of an innovative ice-storage system engineered to provide environmentally friendly comfort cooling to employees at the company’s main production facility. The system also allows Plant 101 to reduce cooling costs per ton by 44%, while providing a payback of less than four years. It also resulted in an annual carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction of 18,000 tons.
Absorption chillers have been around for more than 75 years, with several thousand chillers operating successfully all over the world today. Yet myths about cost, operation and performance surround this technology, particularly in North America. Look beyond the myths and you’ll discover absorption cooling technology can be efficient, cost-effective, flexible and reliable.
Have you ever woken in the middle of the night in a cold sweat wondering if your plant is using more energy than it should, putting you at a disadvantage as compared to your competition? Even if your energy monitoring or energy management system is in place you may not have the required insight to improve your performance and keep you competitive.
Absorption chillers have been around for more than 75 years, with several thousand chillers operating successfully all over the world today. Yet myths about cost, operation and performance surround this technology, particularly in North America. Look beyond the myths and you’ll discover absorption cooling technology can be efficient, cost-effective, flexible and reliable.
For decades, evaporative cooling has been the principal means to regulate the temperature of buildings. And with more than 50% of total building water usage dedicated to heat transfer, there are major opportunities for water savings.