Save Money and Energy with Absorption Chillers
Absorption chillers have been around for some time, but the
true potential of the technology is just now coming to light for manufacturing
plants around the world. Most absorption chillers use a type of technology
known as co-generation.
Co-generation is enabling the by-product of creating one
type of energy to transform into a new form of energy itself. For example, the
heat used to create electricity is then captured and used to heat water in the
winter or to cool water for air conditioning in the summer. Heat is transformed
into cool with the use of an absorption chiller.
Absorption chiller manufacturers can benefit from
co-generation technology by creating co-generation compatible chillers. Many
companies already have created chillers with this capability, as more and more
large factories, and even entire cities, strive to find new ways to go green.
Using a co-generation system is not only more
energy-efficient and green than wasting the heat from electricity generation,
but it is also cost-effective for companies as well. Typically, a water heater
would have to create its own energy, or a chiller would have to use a separate
energy source for creating chilled air. In co-generation, the same energy is
used twice, which can potentially half any energy requirements of a factory or
any other commercial building.
Even some households now use a co-generation system to
eliminate energy waste. Construction companies around the world are utilizing
the technology of co-generation and absorption chilling to reduce utility
expenses and save energy in a variety of ways without implementing complicated
systems. In today’s world of energy savings, absorption chilling is a simple
way 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, vibration
free, reliable, low maintenance and don't use any CFC gases. Because they are
driven primarily by heat energy instead of mechanical energy, they are used in industrial
manufacturing plants that use boilers or have access to wasted heat from different machinery
and 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 as
the sole cooling system, or work as part of an integrated cooling and heating
system. Although more complex, absorption chillers act similarly to some
residential refrigerators, which have a gas flame at the bottom and ice cubes
at the top.
Components of absorption chillers must be integrated closely. The
compressor, condenser and evaporator equipment are all contained in a single
area within the facility. The
process begins when a refrigerant, usually ammonia, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, alcohol, brine or methane, is put under pressure, causing heat to build up in
the compressor. The liquid is then converted to vapor, and moved into the
condenser. The heat leaves, causing the gas to turn to liquid. The cooled
liquid then travels to the evaporator, and turns into gas, pulling heat from a liquid coolant or from
the air. The chilled air or fluid is then pumped into the process or facility, effectively cooling it
down to a desired temperature. The pump is the only electrically-powered
component. Absorption chillers may be direct, meaning the heat source is gas or
fuel that is burned in the unit, or indirect, using steam or other transfer
fluids to bring heat from other sources like the boiler or various
heat-generating industrial processes. The system may also use both the indirect
and direct heat-drawing methods at the same time.