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Chiller Plant Design

Considerations

Jon R. Haviland, P.E., CEM


Assistant Vice President
Marx/Okubo Associates
jon_haviland@marxokubo.com
z Plantdesign options
z Equipment options
z New plant design considerations
z Retrofit design considerations
z Retrofit project case study

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Plant Design Options

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Single Chiller System

Tower

TWP

Chiller

CWP

Loads

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Single Chiller System
z Advantages
– Lower first cost
– Simple system for installation and control
z Disadvantages
– Inefficient at low load conditions
– Lack of back-up and redundancy

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Parallel Chiller System
Tower

TWP1

CWP1 Chiller 1

TWP2

CWP2 Chiller 2

Loads
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Parallel Chiller System
z Advantages
– More efficient at low load conditions
– Provides back-up and/or redundancy
z Disadvantages
– Increased first cost
– More difficult to control effectively, especially with
different size chillers (should have computerized
system)
– More equipment to maintain

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Series Chiller System
Tower

TWP

Chiller 2 Chiller 1

CWP

Loads

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Series Chiller System
z Advantages
– Easier to control with simple control systems
– Effective with different size chillers
– Utilize one stand-by pump
– Good for large temperature differential systems
z Disadvantages
– Increased pumping requirements for chilled water
– Chillers may not be interchangeable

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Primary-Secondary Chilled
Water Systems

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Primary-Secondary Chilled
Water Systems
z Advantages
– Uncouples chillers and loads to allow variable flow in
loads
– Can be used with large temperature differential systems
– Can be used with thermal storage systems
– Can be used with water-side economizer systems
– Improved control
– Reduced operating costs

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Primary-Secondary Chilled
Water Systems
z Disadvantages
– Higher first costs
– Requires more, sophisticated equipment
– Requires sophisticated control system

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Variable Flow Primary
z New chillers can operate with variable flow
z Simplifies system design
z Bypass with modulating control valve
required to maintain minimum flow
z System can be parallel or series design

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Equipment Options

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Electric Chillers
z Reciprocating chillers
z Rotary screw chillers
z Centrifugal chillers
z Air-cooled chillers

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Non-electric Chillers
z Absorption chillers
– Single-effect absorption chiller
z Low pressure steam
z Hot water
z Use in CHP applications
– Double-effect absorption chillers
z Medium pressure steam

z Direct-fired

z Heat recovery

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Non-electric Chillers
z Centrifugal or screw chiller without electric
motor
– Natural gas engine
– Steam turbine
– Dual drive – engine and electric motor

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Other Cooling Sources
z Air-sideeconomizer
z Water-side economizer
z Thermal energy storage

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New Plant Design
Considerations
z Determine requirements
z Design process
z After construction considerations

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Determine Requirements
z Capacity required
– Current load
– Potential future loads
– Redundancy requirement
– Provisions for special loads

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Determine Requirements
z Operating profile
– Hours per day
– Days per week
– Continuous loads
– Load diversity

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Design Process
z Schematic design of possible options
– Chiller sizing
– Chiller Performance
– Cooling sources
– Operating temperatures
– Cooling tower selection
– Basic plant layout

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Chiller Sizing
z Benefits of different size chillers
– Fewer total operating hours
– More operation above 50% load
z Depends on load profile

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Even Chillers - 8,463 operating hours

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Uneven Chillers - 7,624 operating hours

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Chiller Sizing
z Use of different size chillers may eliminate
need for pony chiller
z Variable speed chillers provide improved
part load performance and minimum
capacity

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Chiller Performance Ratings
z American Refrigeration Institute Standard
550/590-98
z Standard conditions
– Full load
– Chilled water temperatures - 54 F to 44 F
– Condenser water temperatures - 85 F to 95 F
z Efficiency rating - kW/Ton

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Chiller Performance Ratings
z Part load efficiency
– Integrated Part Load Value (IPLV)
z Standard temperature conditions

z Weighted average of kW/ton at various loads

– Non-standard Part Load Value (NPLV)


z Specific application temperatures

z Same weighting as IPLV

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Chiller Performance Ratings
z IPLV/NPLV rating scale
– A = kW/ton at 100% load
– B = kW/ton at 75% load
– C = kW/ton at 50% load
– D = kW/ton at 25% load
z ARI Standard 550-98
– IPLV = 1/(0.01/A + 0.42/B + 0.45/C + 0.12/D)

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Cooling Sources
z Use of different fuel sources provides
flexibility and reliability
z Types to be considered depend on several
factors
– Utility rates and structure
– Load profile
– Air quality considerations
– Maintenance considerations

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Cooling Sources
z Economizer cycle
– Air-side generally most effective
– Water-side use
z Building configuration does not allow air-side

z Cooling for special load requirements

z Climatic considerations

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Operating Temperatures
z Chilled water supply temperature
– Lower supply temperature
z Reduced air flow requirements

z Improved dehumidification

z Increased chiller operating cost versus reduced fan

operating costs, especially with a VAV system

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Operating Temperatures
z Chilled water ∆T
– Higher ∆T means reduced pipe size and
pumping requirement, increased coil size, and
reduced fan energy
– Optimum temperature depends on amount of
piping in system

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Chilled Water ∆T
Comparison

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Operating Temperatures
z Condenser water supply temperature
– Lower supply temperature improves chiller
efficiency
– Approach temperature can be 6 – 10 ºF above
design wet bulb
– Use 0.4% design temperature data

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Operating Temperatures
z Condenser water ∆T
– Normal 10ºF works well in most cases
– Larger ∆T common with absorption chillers
due to higher load and should be considered for
large systems or when the cooling tower is
remote from the chiller plant
– Reduced chiller efficiency versus smaller pipes
and reduced pumping horsepower

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Cooling Tower Selection
z Selection should be based on required water
flow, optimum approach temperature and
∆T
z Allowance for potential tenant equipment
load
z Selection should based on water-side
economizer conditions if that is part of
system
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Cooling Tower Selection
z Increasing size of the cooling tower is
generally the least expensive way to
improve the efficiency and provide some
safety margin in the system
z Use of variable speed drive on the fan
motor minimizes any operating cost penalty

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Determine Basic Plant
Layout
z Select system that will best fit needs of
project
z For simpler systems, parallel system with
different size chillers is probably best
choice

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Determine Basic Plant
Layout
z Systems with different occupancy schedules
or load requirements need more complex
system
– Primary-secondary plant offers most flexibility
– Variable primary flow works with new electric
chillers with less complexity than a primary-
secondary system

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Determine Basic Plant
Layout
z Large chilled water ∆T
– Series plant
– Primary-secondary with primary flow greater
than secondary flow

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Design Process
z Analyze options
– Opinion of probable costs
– Operating cost estimates
z Screening measures

z Energy simulation

– Life cycle costs

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Design Process
z Complete design of chosen option
– Peer review
– Operator review
– Determine sequence of operations

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New Plant Design
Considerations
z After construction activities
– Commissioning
– Training

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Chiller Plant Retrofit
Considerations

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Don’t Simply Replace;
Re-engineer
Chiller Plant Retrofit
Considerations
z Basic process should follow same steps as
outlined above
z Additional considerations
– Engineer and contractor should have experience
with this type of project

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Chiller Plant Retrofit
Considerations
z Additional considerations
– Engineer needs to familiarize himself with
existing plant
z Record drawings
z Operator interview
z Observation of plant

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Chiller Plant Retrofit
Considerations
– Constructability should be considered during
design phase
z Operator review
z Contractor review
– Coordination critical during construction phase

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Retrofit Project Case Study
Background
z Vacated single tenant building
z 26 years old
z Adjacent buildings under same ownership
with sale of one or all unlikely
z Building to be taken to shell condition and
renovated for multi-tenant use
z Due diligence based on these assumptions

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Site Plan

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Participants
z Owner
z Projectmanager
z Property managers (2 firms)
– Contract maintenance staff
z Construction manager
z Consultants
– Architect
– Engineer
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Existing Central Plant
z Located in penthouse
z Two 360-ton single effect absorption chillers
z Two low pressure steam boilers
– Modified to meet AQMD requirements
– Also provides heating and domestic hot water
z Two cell cooling tower
– Replaced three years earlier
– Capacity for single effect absorption chillers

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Possible Options
z Electricchillers
z Absorption chillers
z Engine-driven chillers
z Thermal storage
z Independent or with adjacent building

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Alternatives Considered
z Stand-alone alternatives
– Two 350-ton electric chillers
– Two 350-ton absorption chillers
– Two 350-ton engine-driven chillers
– Electric chillers with 4500 ton-hour thermal
storage

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Alternatives Considered
z Integrated alternatives
– Provide piping between two buildings
– Utilize one of the four options above for the
stand-alone plant

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Alternatives Considered
z Single plant alternatives
– Abandon plant in Building 2 and expand plant
in Building 3 with piping between the buildings
– Existing Plant in Building 3
z Three 250-ton electric chillers in plant on parking
level P-2
z Cooling tower on roof

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Alternatives Considered
z Single plant alternatives
– New Equipment possibilities
z 600-ton electric chiller

z Two 350-ton engine-driven chillers

z Two low temperature chillers plus 4500 ton-hour

thermal storage

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Constructibility Issues
z Building 2 options
– Electric capacity
– Cooling tower and structure
– Existing chilled water riser size
– Noise considerations

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Constructibility Issues
z Building 3 options
– Cooling tower capacity
– Condenser water riser size
– Thermal storage space requirements
– Engine exhaust routing
– Electrical capacity

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Analysis
z Opinion of probable costs
z Schedule
z Operating costs
– DOE-2 simulations
– Nine options considered

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Analysis
z Other considerations
– Electricity riser problem in Building 2
– Impact of utility deregulation

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Economic Analysis
z Based on estimated impact of deregulation
z Final options
– Integrated system with new chillers in Building
2 connected to Building 3 plant
z 700-tons electric
z 700-tons absorption

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Economic Analysis
z First Cost
– 700 ton electric
z $929,223

z $1,109,273 with potential bus duct repair

– 700 ton absorption


z $1,395,247

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Economic Analysis
z Annual energy cost
– 700 ton electric - $778,160
– 700 ton absorption - $680,769
z Simple Payback
– Without bus riser repair – 4.5 years
– With bus riser repair – 1.9 years

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Final Choice
z Absorption chillers in Building 2 with
connection to Building 3
– Proactive ownership with long term outlook
– Support from local natural gas utility
– Optimum conditions for new plant in Building
2
– Significant problems with expanding plant in
Building 3
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Chiller Purchase
z Chiller pre-purchased by owner
– Maintain control over final selection and
options
– Delivery critical
z Potential full building tenant wanted early
availability
z City rigging restrictions – Saturday night only

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Chiller Purchase
z Bid to major manufacturers
z Bid specified conditions of capacity, giving
cost, efficiency, delivery and willingness to
accept penalty clause
z Allow manufacturers to suggest alternatives
of capacity and/or efficiency and additional
cost for this

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New Central Plant
z Two 360-ton direct fired absorption chillers
with lower supply temperature
z One 120-ton rotary screw chiller for off
hours use (minimum effective absorption
chiller capacity)
z Primary-secondary piping system
z Piping between the two buildings with
transfer pumps and metering
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Single Line Diagram

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Sequence of Operations
z Seven modes of operation identified with
written sequence
z Independent versus integrated operation
z Electric or gas chiller base load
z Occupied versus unoccupied

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Phase II
z Building 1 central plant
– Originally absorption chillers and boilers
– Reciprocating chillers installed in 1987
z Noise complaints

z Reliability issues

– Small chiller in Building 3 plant for Fitness


Center after hours use with piping to lower
level air handling unit

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New Building 1 Plant
z Two centrifugal chillers and new cooling
tower
– Tower selected for maximum capacity for space
available
– Chillers selected to match cooling tower
capacity
– Use existing connection (increase size to
maximize transfer capacity) with new riser
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New Single Line Diagram

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Summary
z Project illustrates choices available and
retrofit process discussed
z Ownership with long term outlook
z Cooperation by all participants
z Life is easier with a vacant building

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