Water Chillers

What are water chillers?

Water chillers are a type of mechanical devices that delivers refrigerant by transferring heat through the channel of water, in order to cool down the temperature of machines. Water chillers are worked by three fluid cycle systems that includes hot water, cooling water, and system working fluid which remain in their own separate loops, and each cycle system is worked without mixing together. Therefore, water chillers are devices that would not cause contamination or emissions which are environmental-friendly.

A water chiller system consists of chillers, condensers, pipes and cooling pumps, cooling expansion reservoirs, which make up a source of producing refrigerant. It is related to an HVAC system, which makes a channel to control the temperature and quality of air in the environments where it is utilized. There are a variety of applications of water chillers, while they are more commonly used in larger places such as industrial or medical environments, where there are many large-scale machines that produces a great amount of heat when they are operated.


What is an HVAC system?

An HVAC system stands for Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, which controls the temperature and humidity in the environments. The temperature of a space may be influences depending on the materials that build the architecture, or the devices that are used within the architecture. It usually causes bed effect whether the temperature is too high or too low. Thus, the temperature of any environments should remain at the average level, which requires the assistance of the heating and cooling devices. Besides, the system also provides measures to control the humidity of the air by its air conditioning sphere. Water chillers refer to one category of the HVAC system that remove heat by cooling and dehumidifying the air, which are widely used nowadays.


How does a water chiller work?

In an industrial environment, the machines that are operated would produce heat to the ambient area. In order to cool down the heat, a water chiller would be worked. The heat from those machines comes into the water chiller, and it would be delivered through hot water within the first loop of the system. During the delivery process, the hot water would not come in contact with the turbine. Instead, when the hot water passes through the coils of the heat exchange tank, it would be transferred to the secondary working fluid, which has a lower boiling point than water. Once the working fluid reaches its boiling point, it would become vapor and passes through the turbine.

Then the electric generator spins along with the spinning turbine, which generates power to deliver the vapor to the condenser tank. At that time, cooling water from the cooling tower would enter the condenser to another side of the condenser tank and circulates through the coils inside and cools the vapor, which condenses back into a fluid. After the fluid moves out from the tank, the pump would be operated to provide the cooling source to the surroundings of the machines where the water chiller is supposed to work for.


Air conditioners vs. water chillers

As far as we know, in the hot summer, air conditioners would be needed in any indoor environment. The air conditioners also aim to cool down the temperature of the environment, while they are slightly different from the water chillers depending on the applied usage. As the air comes through the coils in chilled liquid, the heat would be transferred from the air to the chilled water, which provides the refrigerant, the spreads cool air through the environments. Since the chilled water in the air conditioner is a cycle system, the chilled water would always provide refrigerant once the air comes through it. Air conditioners are usually used in indoor environments such as homes or offices, which offers limited source of cool air in more confined spaces. However, water chillers are used in larger venues, such as factory floors, arenas and other larger facilities.


Types of water chillers

● Reciprocating water chillers
Reciprocating water chillers are operated by the internal piston which compresses the refrigerant in the loop from the intake valve to the exhaust valve to absorb heat. Multiple units of reciprocating water chillers can be used together, and they are much affordable than other types.

● Centrifugal water chillers
Centrifugal water chillers are worked with one or multiple impeller wheels that keep providing small compressive force to refrigerant against the sides of a cylindrical chamber until the refrigerant is exhausted.

● Screw-driven water chillers
Screw-driven water chillers use helical rotors to provide big compressive force to the refrigerant by meshing helical screws within a cylinder. Because of the big compressive force that screw-driven water chillers provide, they are usually small and work efficiently.

● Absorption water chillers
Absorption water chillers uses the absorption refrigeration cycle instead of a mechanical compressor. In contrast, the compressor is replaced by an absorber, pump and generator. The generator uses steam or hot water to boil off the refrigerant into vapor, and the vapor would be cooled by condenser and be delivered to its applied area.

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