System Assessments

Like many universities across America, The University of Cincinnati had a major challenge having to operate aging central utility plants with older technology, reduced efficiencies and capacities, with chilled water equipment at the end of its service life. Even so, UC needed to maintain plant operations under diverse load conditions, including critical hospital utility demands that are currently expanding and in daily periods subject to energy tariff.

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.
Cooling towers can use several power transmission technologies, including a gear drive, belt drive, direct drive, and electronically commutated (EC) drive. Each has advantages and disadvantages. The proper selection strikes an appropriate balance of initial cost versus operating costs.
Cooling large buildings typically requires the use of air- or water-cooled chillers that produce chilled water, which then cools the air. About 39% of buildings over 100,000 square feet use chilled-water systems employing various refrigeration compressor designs.
How often do you think about your cooling tower or the fill that provides the cooling engine for your process? Unfortunately, if you’re like many plant operators, your cooling tower is but one piece of equipment in your large facility, and its ranking on your priority list is probably lower than many other expensive and more intricate pieces of equipment in your plant.