Does your Facility’s Fluid Cooling System Really Require Chilled Water?
Misapplications in fluid cooling can cost companies energy and money.
Over the last 25 years there has been a heightened awareness to reduce the consumption of both water and energy. Water and energy are not an unlimited resource. As regulations concerning the use and disposal of water have intensified, applications that use both resources have come under scrutiny. One such application is fluid cooling, which uses as much as 7 percent of the energy and 15 percent of America’s water consumption (excluding the energy-generation industry).
Federal, state, and local laws, rising costs of water and energy, and a need to reduce operational costs have pushed this awareness to the forefront of all industries. Most companies are trying to cut expenses and become more efficient. It’s smart business and it’s urgent.
Eliminating Fluid Cooling May Actually Increase Energy Costs
While this high water usage makes fluid cooling a target for energy and water conservation, the rush to reduce or eliminate it has often increased energy consumption. Inappropriate fluid cooling, particularly the misuse of chillers for cooling equipment, led to a large increase in fluid cooling costs.
In manufacturing, nearly all facilities use chillers in some capacity, typically operating with an average water temperature of 45°F – 60°F. But the question begs to be asked … is utilizing chilled water always the best choice? Creating a cold temperature, in general, is an expensive use of energy. Therefore, cooling temperatures below what is necessary has a direct relationship to an increase in costs.
Increasing Amounts of Water Being Cooled May Save Money
By simply increasing the amount of water, many fluid cooling applications operate successfully with cooling media temperatures of 70°F – 90°F. This temperature variance makes it possible to utilize other fluid cooling technologies, such as dry cooling or evaporative cooling, which would result in a reduction in energy costs, as well as a reduction or elimination of the use of water.
If a facility is to increase efficiency by reducing energy and water usage, then fluid cooling applications need to be evaluated based on the highest allowable cooling media temperature. The increase in cost to supply additional water flow to an application would be quickly offset by either reducing the chiller load or eliminating additional chiller capacity.
Building managers can find out about alternative fluid cooling technologies and applications by simply conducting a fluid cooling audit. Engineers can evaluate how to maximize the performance, reliability, and efficiency of a fluid cooling system. As experts examine each application, they can also determine the suitability of utilizing higher-temperature cooling media.
Every single degree of chilling costs money. By learning how to improve efficiencies through an energy audit, businesses can reap the rewards of taking charge of their facility costs
Identifying how to make sure your systems operate efficiently, including fluid cooling systems, can be a difficult and time-consuming task. However, JHFoster has specialists ready to help you increase efficiency in all your compressed air, automation, and robotics systems. Contact us by phone or email to ask your questions!
Adapted From 2009 Satellite Newsletter Written By Ron Nordby