The 2023 AHR Expo co-sponsored by ASHRAE and AHRI was held Feb. 6-9 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA. A total of 1,779 exhibitors (425 international) spread across 487,000 square feet, and several dozen free educational sessions drew 42,794 total attendees. HVACR equipment manufacturers and suppliers displayed their latest innovations engineered to address the megatrends in the HVACR industry and market. This report will highlight the cooling tower, chiller/heat pump and associated technology innovation centered around electrification, decarbonization and water conservation.
Heat Rejection Equipment - Cooling Towers, Adiabatic Coolers, Dry Coolers
The Cooling Technology Institute’s (CTI) four educational sessions drew standing-room-only crowds. Representatives from BPEARSON Consulting, SPX Cooling Tech, Eurovent and Baltimore Aircoil Company presented Fundamentals of Water Treatment; Cooling Tower Fundamentals; System Sustainability? Prove it with Certified Performance; and Fundamentals of Adiabatic Heat Rejection. Owners and operators of heat rejection equipment can join the CTI and attend its annual conference to meet the several dozens of technical experts with hundreds of years of combined experience capable of assisting with your next project.
Frank Foster and Jalene Fritz at the Cooling Technology Institute booth (left to right).
Baltimore Aircoil displayed a model of its TrilliumSeries Adiabatic Cooler for demanding applications where energy efficiency is critical, but water must be used sparingly. Available in seven factory assembled models (17 - 77 total fan HP) the TrilliumSeries features automated reversing EC fans, eight application-specific control strategies, oversized adiabatic pads with a special coating, and a partitioned water distribution design to ensure complete, consistent wetting of pads.
Quan Wang and Ben Seidel at the Baltimore Aircoil Company booth (left to right).
Delta Cooling Towers displayed its Anti-Microbial (AM) Cooling Tower with anti-microbial HDPE resin tower shell, anti-microbial tower fill and drift eliminators. “According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 70% of existing cooling towers in a random sampling contain the legionella bacteria, and about 6,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are now reported each year in the U.S.,” said John Flaherty, CEO, Delta Cooling Towers. Aside from the anti-microbial material, the AM Cooling Tower basins are engineered with side-to-side and back-to-outlet slopes to prevent stagnant water promoting legionella growth.
Martin Previtera, Dave Blodgett, Jay Flaherty and John Flaherty at the Delta Cooling Towers booth (left to right).
Since 1940, Moore Fans has been manufacturing axial flow fans in Missouri, U.S. Over 400,000 Moore fans operate across the globe in air-cooled heat exchangers, cooling towers and more. Its team displayed the Class 10000 Extended Cord fans for low noise applications. Its airfoil blade design increases efficiency while achieving considerable noise level reduction.
Tony McCauslin and Spencer Ward at the Moore Fans booth (left to right).
EVAPCO displayed the eco-Air Series Adiabatic Cooler, now CTI certified for thermal performance per Standard 201. The adiabatic pre-cooling and spray assist systems pre-cool the entering air resulting in energy savings and minimal water use. Adiabatic pads can act as air filters, limiting the exposure of dirt and debris to the tube and fin heat transfer surface. This technology is well suited for high dry bulb climates and high temperature applications. Both NEMA and EC motor options require zero routine maintenance.
Troy Reineck displaying the eco-Air Series Adiabatic Cooler at the EVAPCO booth.
SPX Cooling Tech introduced the Marley WaterGard, a water usage optimizer and filtration system for evaporative cooling products. Using membrane technology, WaterGard pre-conditions cooling tower water and limits chlorides and calcium bicarbonate introduction into the tower, thus reducing necessary blowdown water. Features include an integrated pump, system bypass, and optional carbon system for chlorine filtration. “Based on our models, WaterGard could help reduce water usage up to 59% for some locations, and reduce wastewater discharge up to 88%,” said SPX Cooling’s Senior Global Product Manager, Marshal Zabel.
Tony Ring, Kevin Dwyer, Marco Marquez, Andrew Rogers and Carolina Lebron at the SPX Cooling Tech booth (left to right).
REYMSA Cooling Towers expanded the cooling capacity of its all-fiberglass RT Series induced draft, counterflow evaporative cooling towers by up to 15% with new RTGTC and RTGMTC models. New models use a thermoformed PVC fill with MicroBoost designed to maximize heat transfer performance. The RT Series now ranges in capacity from 668 up to 7,790 GPM.
The REYMSA Cooling Towers team.
Tower Tech displayed a BabyTech demo tower, a fully functioning mini tower showcasing the functionality of Tower Tech’s TTXR/TTXL 4-fan factory-assembled, counterflow mechanical draft cooling towers. Tower Tech units come standard with a fully enclosed Flow-Thru basin, variable-flow spray nozzles, bottom mounted fans and more.
Robert Curtis, Kyle Amos and Brian Hobbs at the Tower Tech booth (left to right).
Chillers and Heat Pumps
Mikropor displayed its MCHILL Water Process Chiller and its atmospheric air filtration solutions. Available in 18 sizes, the MCHILL cooling capacity ranges from 1.7 - 55.3 tons (evaporator water inlet/outlet temperature 45/55°F, ambient air temperature 75°F). Its standard components include hermetic scroll compressor (R-410A), aluminum microchannel refrigerant condenser with variable speed EC fan motor, thermostatic expansion valves, brazed plate stainless steel evaporator, integrated cold storage tank, 3 bar integrated centrifugal water pump and electronic control with mobile app support.
Jerry Orahood, Ryan Loeffler, Bill Smith (Chiller & Cooling Best Practices Magazine), Evren Yazici, Jeff Crutchfield and Jeff Thibodeau at the Mikropor booth (left to right).
Automated Logic, a Carrier company, introduced its latest WebCTRL v8.5 building automation system, delivering message queuing telemetry transport integration capabilities and efficient staged controller downloads. Its commissioning tools continue to be enhanced so system designers and technicians can deliver an optimized system and the most efficient customer service possible from the design phase through to customized operation. Operators can expect predictive maintenance, condition monitoring, predictive insights and more. With end users under significant ESG commitments, a user friendly, customizable dashboard for efficient asset performance reporting to the company C-suite and top energy/water management teams is required.
Wayne Garrett, Managing Director - North America Applied, Carrier, and Mark Jones, Associate Director - Carrier Controls at the Automated Logic booth (left to right).
BUDZAR Industries, a division of Multistack, displayed its Isobutane (R600A) Chiller/Heat Pump for applications requiring simultaneous heating and cooling. Its capabilities include a cooling temperature range from 20°F to 70°F, a heating temperature range from 70°F to 225°F, with 1 - 740+ tons of capacity.
Edward George alongside the Isobutane (R600A) Simultaneous Chiller/Heat Pump at the BUDZAR Industries booth.
Johnson Controls displayed the YORK YMAE Air-Cooled Inverter Scroll Modular Heat Pump, coming to North America in 2023. “Application of heat pumps is the low hanging fruit for decarbonization of plants and buildings,” said Rob Tanner, Marketing Director - Applied Equipment for Johnson Controls. The YMAE can provide simultaneous heating and cooling. YORK’s air-to-water heat pump technology can heat water up to 140°F (60°C). Water-to-water units will achieve even higher water temperatures.
Rob Tanner alongside the YORK YMAE Modular Inverter Scroll Heat Pump at the Johnson Controls booth.
At the LG Air Conditioning Technologies booth, John Michael, U.S. Chiller Product Manager, displayed the LG Inverter Scroll Heat Pump Chiller capable of providing both hot and chilled water for process and comfort applications. LG’s inverter technology allows the unit to match changing loads while providing efficient electrical consumption compared to compressor staging systems. Variable speed condenser fan motors and compressors help achieve 51-60 db(A)3 rated sound pressure at 30’ (tested per ANSI/AHRI Standard 370-2015).
John Michael displaying the Inverter Scroll Heat Pump Chiller at the LG Air Conditioning Technologies booth.
Multistack displayed its capabilities with three units on display; a 650-ton MS6 Water-to-Water MagLev Flooded 6-pipe Dedicated Heat Recovery Chiller (DHRC); a 180-ton ACF Air-Cooled MagLev Flooded Integral DHRC, and an 85-ton ARA Air-to-Water Modular DHRC Heat Pump. Multistack’s MagLev centrifugal chillers offer R-1234ze, R-513A and R-515B refrigerant choices. Its scroll chiller line operates with R454-B, rather than R-410A. R-454B has a GWP of 466, which is 78% lower than R-410A. One of many features offered is the available MagLift refrigerant pump capable of expanding the operational envelope enabling lower pressure ratios, increasing efficiency, and eliminating the need for a water-side economizer.
Scott DeGier displaying the Water-to-Water MagLev Flooded 6-Pipe DHRC at the Multistack booth.
At the Superior Signal booth, attendees were able to do live leak detection demos with its patented Superior AccuTrak Ultrasonic Leak Detector. Extremely sensitive to the ultrasonic sound of a refrigerant gas leak, this leak detector uses a technique called “heterodyning” to translate ultrasound to a lower frequency your ear can interpret. This product has been trusted by HVAC and chiller technicians for decades.
Jim Kovacs, Helen Kovacs and Matt Rooke at the Superior Signal booth (left to right).
Tecogen unveiled its Tecochill Hybrid-Drive Air-Cooled Chiller (R-513A) powered by low-pressure natural gas fueled TecoDrive 7400 engines - industrial versions of the General Motors V 7.4L V8 modified to Tecogen specifications. Also equipped with an electric permanent magnet motor, the Tecochill can blend both power sources (electric and natural gas) to optimize savings. The Tecochill uses dual semi-hermetic variable speed single screw compressor technology, microchannel air-cooled condensers with direct DC-powered fan motors, and DS shell and tube evaporators to achieve 100 tons of cooling capacity at AHRI standard conditions (44°F/55°F CHW and 95°F ambient).
Elliot Rogers, Dalton Allaben, Stephen Lafaille and Jeffrey Glick at the Tecogen booth (left to right).
Trane highlighted its Ascend ACX Air-to-Water Heat Pump, capable of 140 - 230 ton cooling capacity, and 1,500 - 2,500 MBh of heating (up to 140°F hot water temperatures and operation down to 0 degrees). Equipped with variable speed fans, intermediate discharge valves on the compressor, EC fan motors and brazed plate evaporators, the ACX is built on Trane’s Ascend chiller platform and controls knowledge to provide consistent quality and reliability.
Jackie Sopko, Chiller Commercialization Leader at the Trane booth.
Refrigeration Compressors, Drives and Motors
Danfoss North America reported 20% growth in 2022, provided regulatory updates impacting the HVAC industry, and shared its latest heat pump and data center efforts and discussed its current ESG areas of focus - diversity & inclusion, decarbonization and cyclability (how products will be recycled at end of use) during its press conference. “Only 9% of manufactured goods are recycled globally. If amount of recycled goods doubled to just 18%, this would have an exponentially beneficial impact on carbon footprint,” said Kim Fausing, CEO, Danfoss, citing the World Economic Forum.
On display at the Danfoss booth was its latest Turbocor oil-free centrifugal refrigeration compressors, an S22 gasketed plate and frame heat exchanger (1 - 26” connection, up to 30,000 GPM), its MicroChannel heat exchanger (MCHE), variable frequency drive offerings, and much more.
Max Kobelski with the Danfoss Turbocor TTH oil-free centrifugal compressor.
WEG is introducing its Cooling Tower Direct Drive System to replace conventional cooling tower ventilation systems - formed by a motor, driving shaft and gearbox - reducing mechanical losses, enabling higher performance. Currently offered exclusively as a custom-build, this system features permanent magnets in the rotor, ensuring high performance levels with high torque, even at low speeds.
Dale Basso, Emerson Hamerschmitt and Valone Gomes at the WEG booth (left to right).
Hydratech offers a non-toxic glycol hybrid, Coolflow DTX, for process cooling and HVACR systems. Although based on ethylene glycol, the product is tested and classified as non-toxic by an EPA certified laboratory. The alternative, propylene glycol, is historically known as the non-toxic choice. Coolflow DTX has a patented additive, DeTox, preventing its ethylene glycol base from metabolizing in our bodies and causing harm. This solution allows an operator to benefit from improved heat transfer characters of an ethylene glycol such as lower dynamic viscosity and higher thermal conductivity. Hydratech introduced DTX Technology in the UK in 2010, and introduced it to North America at AHR following its September 2022 opening of its first U.S. site and production facility in East Granby, Connecticut.
Ben Hickson, Karen Sulzinski and Mark Stone at the Hydratech booth (left to right).
Honeywell served refreshments chilled from a refrigerator that previously ran with R-404A, retrofitted with Honeywell’s Solstice N71 (R-471A). N71 is a non-ozone depleting, non-flammable HFO based refrigerant. For centrifugal chillers, Honeywell offers an R-1233zd (HFO), a nonflammable replacement for R-123 with a global warming potential (GWP) of 1. For screw chillers, Honeywell offers an R-513A (HFO), an R-515B (HFO blend) and an R-1234ze (HFO blend). Lastly, for scroll chillers, Honeywell again offers three Solstice refrigerants – an R-454B (HFO blend), an R-515B and an R-1234ze.
Michael Sweeney, Platform Lead for Commercial Refrigeration at the Honeywell booth.
Invertek Drives displayed its Optidrive Eco Pump AC variable speed drives (0.75 - 250 kW / 1 HP- 400 HP) for energy efficient pump control with AC induction, AC permanent magnet, brushless DC and synchronous reluctance motors. Features include reduced harmonic current distortion, noise reduction, dry run protection, motor preheat function and Optiflow multi-pump control technology. It also displayed its general purpose, easy-to-use Optidrive E3 VSD (0.37kW - 37kW / 0.5 - 50 HP).
Nigel Evans and Wayne Morris at the Invertek Drives booth (left to right).
GF Piping Systems displayed its COOL-FIT PE Plus pre-insulated piping system for refrigeration and chilled water. This fully plastic (HDPE) pipe is insulated by a foam layer and protected with a UV-resistant jacket layer, enabling low thermal conductivity compared to metal. Its custom valve insulation kits, preinsulated pipes and electrofusion fittings, and light weight design enable quicker installation and minimal maintenance. Custom adapter fittings and flange connections permit simple connection into existing metal systems.
Manchester Tank offers refrigerant recovery cylinders manufactured in the U.S. to DOT specifications. Available in sizes from 30 - 1,000 lbs. (13.6 - 453.6 kg), refrigerant recovery cylinders are refillable, have a powder coated paint finish for maximum rust protection and much more.
Nolan Foran and Joe Luthman at the Manchester Tank & Equipment booth (left to right).
The 2024 AHR Expo will be held January 22-24 at McCormick Place in Chicago, IL. For more information visit www.ahrexpo.com.
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