Save Money and Energy with Absorption Chillers
Absorption chillers have been around for some time, but thetrue potential of the technology is just now coming to light for manufacturingplants around the world. Most absorption chillers use a type of technologyknown as co-generation.
Co-generation is enabling the by-product of creating onetype of energy to transform into a new form of energy itself. For example, theheat used to create electricity is then captured and used to heat water in thewinter or to cool water for air conditioning in the summer. Heat is transformedinto cool with the use of an absorption chiller.
Absorption chiller manufacturers can benefit fromco-generation technology by creating co-generation compatible chillers. Manycompanies already have created chillers with this capability, as more and morelarge factories, and even entire cities, strive to find new ways to go green.
Using a co-generation system is not only moreenergy-efficient and green than wasting the heat from electricity generation,but it is also cost-effective for companies as well. Typically, a water heaterwould have to create its own energy, or a chiller would have to use a separateenergy source for creating chilled air. In co-generation, the same energy isused twice, which can potentially half any energy requirements of a factory orany other commercial building.
Even some households now use a co-generation system toeliminate energy waste. Construction companies around the world are utilizingthe technology of co-generation and absorption chilling to reduce utilityexpenses and save energy in a variety of ways without implementing complicatedsystems. In today’s world of energy savings, absorption chilling is a simpleway to save energy and money on a small or large scale.
Absorption chillers are an alternative to standard, electric chillers and work similarly to air conditioning systems. Instead of using electricity as power, these chiller systems run off heat. They are used when electric power conditions are poor, and they significantly reduce electricity costs associated with cooling, since they do not use a gas compressor. However, absorption chillers do require greater pump energy than electric chillers.
Absorption chillers are quiet, vibrationfree, reliable, low maintenance and don't use any CFC gases. Because they aredriven primarily by heat energy instead of mechanical energy, they are used in industrialmanufacturing plants that use boilers or have access to wasted heat from different machineryand processes. The heat source may be solar, gas, water or bromide and steam. In this way they reduce electric peaks in a building's electric load, cutting costs during the hottest times of the year. They may act asthe sole cooling system, or work as part of an integrated cooling and heatingsystem. Although more complex, absorption chillers act similarly to someresidential refrigerators, which have a gas flame at the bottom and ice cubesat the top.
Components of absorption chillers must be integrated closely. Thecompressor, condenser and evaporator equipment are all contained in a singlearea within the facility. Theprocess begins when a refrigerant, usually ammonia, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, alcohol, brine or methane, is put under pressure, causing heat to build up inthe compressor. The liquid is then converted to vapor, and moved into thecondenser. The heat leaves, causing the gas to turn to liquid. The cooledliquid then travels to the evaporator, and turns into gas, pulling heat from a liquid coolant or fromthe air. The chilled air or fluid is then pumped into the process or facility, effectively cooling itdown to a desired temperature. The pump is the only electrically-poweredcomponent. Absorption chillers may be direct, meaning the heat source is gas orfuel that is burned in the unit, or indirect, using steam or other transferfluids to bring heat from other sources like the boiler or variousheat-generating industrial processes. The system may also use both the indirectand direct heat-drawing methods at the same time.