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FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION IN

CHILLER-COMPRESSOR SELECTION
Stephen W. Duda, PE
LEED AP
Director, Mech Engineering
Ross & Baruzzini, Inc.
sduda@rossbar.com

St. Louis, MO
Indianapolis, IN
Miami, FL

ASHRAE 2008 Winter Meeting / New York, NY


January 22, 2008 / Seminar #63
TC 8.02 Centrifugal Machines

THE PREMISE

Suppose you need to select and specify a new Chiller for


commercial comfort cooling at typical ARI conditions.

Advancements in technology, refrigerants, and


manufacturer offerings all affect which compression
technology is best suited for a given application.

So, which compressor technology should you select?


Scroll?
Reciprocating?
Rotary Screw?
Centrifugal?

SOME FACTORS TO CONSIDER


Availability
Noise
Weight
Footprint
Energy Consumption
Capacity Variability & Control
Maintenance & Reliability
Refrigerant Considerations
Price

AVAILABILITY
Approximate Liquid Chiller Availability
Range by Compressor Type

Centrifugal

Screw

Scroll

Reciprocating

10

100

1000

Cooling Capacity (TonsR)

(3.5 kW)

(35 kW)

(350 kW)

(3500 kW)

10000

AVAILABILITY
Above approximately 800 tons (2800 kW), centrifugal
chillers are the only option in a single machine selection.
While at least one manufacturer markets a centrifugal
chiller down to 125 tons (440 kW), many say that 200 to
250 tons (700 to 880 kW) is the practical lower limit for
centrifugal machines.
The chiller sales representatives interviewed for this
seminar tend to recommend against reciprocating
compressors in favor of scroll compressors.
For the purpose of this seminar, a water-cooled chiller
selection of about 240 tons (844 kW) will be followed for
comparison of options.

NOISE
Sound pressure levels for centrifugals, scrolls, and screw
machines are comparable.
The presenter found a greater variation in sound pressure
levels between manufacturers than between compressor
types within a manufacturer.
Centrifugal chiller noise is somewhat speed dependent
(some gear-drive machines rotate at a very high rpm).
The typical screw chiller has a pure tone noise that some
may find bothersome, particularly if located near occupied
spaces or sleeping quarters.

WEIGHT
240-ton (844 kW) Screw Chiller typical operating weight
range 13,000 to 16,000 lbs (6,000 to 7,200 kg).
240-ton (844 kW) Centrifugal Chiller typical operating
weight range 11,000 to 20,000 lbs (5,000 to 9,100 kg).
A pair of 120-ton (422 kW) Scroll Chillers net typical
operating weight is 10,000 to 12,000 lbs (4,500 to 5,400 kg).
The more efficient chillers often weigh more, due to
extended shell and tube length.
Weight may be a consideration if located on an upper
floor of a building, especially in a retrofit case.

FOOTPRINT
A screw chiller appears to require 5% to 20% less floor
space than a comparable centrifugal chiller.
Among centrifugal chillers, a greater variation in floor
space consumed is found between manufacturers -- This
is related to speed of rotation of the compressors impeller
as slower compressors are larger in diameter.
Many scroll chillers have the advantage of fitting through
a 3-foot (1 m) door. However, capacity limitations often
require multiple scroll machines where a single screw or
centrifugal could be applied, resulting in greater net floor
space consumed.

ENERGY CONSUMPTION
240-ton Screw Chiller typical energy performance range is
0.61 to 0.68 kW/ton peak and 0.52 to 0.56 kW/ton IPLV.
844-kW Screw Chiller typical energy performance range is
5.1 to 5.8 COP peak and 6.2 to 6.8 COP IPLV.

240-ton Centrifugal Chiller typical energy performance range


is 0.51 to 0.60 kW/ton peak and 0.49 to 0.55 kW/ton IPLV.
844-kW Centrifugal Chiller typical energy performance range is
5.8 to 6.9 COP peak and 6.4 to 7.2 COP IPLV.

A pair of 120-ton Scroll Chillers typical energy performance


is 0.79 kW/ton peak and 0.60 kW/ton IPLV.
2 ea 422-kW Scroll Chillers typical energy performance is about
4.5 COP peak and 5.9 COP IPLV.

ENERGY CONSUMPTION
Previous figures do not include the impact of a Variable
Frequency Drive (VFD).
Remember to consider differences in pumping energy
and/or cooling tower energy.
Energy performance often sets centrifugal chillers apart
from the other compressor technologies.
Some chillers are more efficient at peak load, while others
perform better at part load, so an accurate load model is
necessary to make a fully informed choice.

CAPACITY VARIABILITY / CONTROL


Most centrifugal chillers are available with optional VFD.
At least one screw chiller is available with optional VFD.
Scroll and reciprocating chillers vary capacity by staging
multiple compressors for incremental capacity control.
Centrifugal compressors commonly use adjustable
prerotation vanes for capacity control.
Screw compressors commonly use a slide valve to adjust
the effective length of the compression path.
Screw compressors do not surge and suffer less capacity
reduction at high condensing temperatures.

MAINTENANCE & RELIABILITY


Manufacturers quotations for a service contract are not
significantly different between screw, scroll, and
centrifugal chillers of equal capacity.
Multiple compressors associated with scroll chillers
predict more failures, but less loss of capacity per failure.
While some centrifugal chillers have been in service for
over 40 years, screw and scroll compressors are a
somewhat newer technology. Long-term longevity
comparisons are difficult.

REFRIGERANT CONSIDERATIONS
Screw chillers historically used R-22 and are now
primarily available with R-134a.
Centrifugal chillers are available with R-134a or R-123.
Scroll compressors historically used R-22 and are now
coming out in R-407C or R-410A.

PRICE
240-ton (844 kW) Screw Chiller typical budget price range
$70,000 to $75,000.
240-ton (844 kW) Centrifugal Chiller typical budget price
range $107,000 to $130,000.
A pair of 120-ton (422 kW) Scroll Chillers typical budget
price range $65,000 to $75,000 (installation additional).
Higher first cost of centrifugal machines may be offset in
the long term by lower energy consumption, leading to a
Life Cycle Cost analysis . . .

LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS


Compares first & recurring costs
First Costs:
Purchase and installation
Auxiliaries piping, power supply, etc.
Recurring Costs:
Energy Including pumping energy, water use, etc.
Maintenance routine, major, and repairs
Convert recurring costs to a first cost equivalent for
apples-to-apples comparison.

LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS


You can do better than simple payback!
Formulas: Find P given F, A, i & n

where

P is present value

F is future value

A is recurring value each unit of time

i is interest rate per unit time

n is quantity of time units

P = F (1 / (1 + i)n))
P = A (((1 + i)n -1) / ( i (1 + i)n))

LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS


Very Basic Example:
System A: $75,000 first cost

System B: $100,000 first cost

System A: $17,500 annual recurring costs

System B: $14,000 annual recurring costs

Interest rate is 6.5% per year

n is number of years

Run a basic 10-year example.

LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS


Very Basic Example Results for 10-Year Period
LCC = P + A (((1 + i)n -1) / ( i (1 + i)n))
System A:
75000 + 17500 (((1 + 0.065)10 -1) / ( 0.065 (1 + .065)10)) =
$200,805
System B:
100000 + 14000 (((1 + 0.065)10 -1) / ( 0.065 (1 + .065)10)) =
$200,644
Simple payback would have shown a 7-year payback ($3,500
annual energy difference versus $25,000 first cost offset.)
For more complex analyses, set up a spreadsheet.

LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS


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LIFE CYCLE COST ANALYSIS


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FOR MORE INFORMATION

Chillers and/or Compressors: 2004 ASHRAE Handbook of


HVAC Systems and Equipment, Chapters 34 & 38.

Watch for the 2008 Edition of the above.


TCs 8.01 and 8.02 have been working hard to update and improve
Chapters 34 & 38 for 2008.

Life Cycle Cost Methodology: 2007 ASHRAE Handbook


of HVAC Applications, Chapter 36.

THANK YOU

Thank you for attending Seminar #63.

Questions?