Large Commercial Chillers

DOE is working with two companies—Trane and York International—to introduce to the marketplace triple-effect chillers that will improve U.S. economic competitiveness in the large commercial chiller market and improve U.S. energy efficiency. The objective of the program is to build a U.S.-developed triple-effect chiller that uses lithium bromide/water (LiBr/H2O) fluids and has a coefficient of performance (COP) of 1.4, a 30 to 50% improvement over double-effect chillers now available. This level of performance represents a revolution in large commercial chillers.

The York double-condenser coupling triple-effect chiller prototype.

The York Chiller

York's program, being carried out in a cost-shared program with DOE, in conjunction with ORNL, is in the testing phase. After reviewing several cycle possibilities for LiBr/H2O triple-effect absorption chillers, York decided to investigate use of the double-condenser coupling (DCC) concept, patented by ORNL on behalf of DOE, as the base cycle. Supporting evaluations on the stability and performance of new alcohol additives were conducted by the University of Maryland, Pennsylvania State University, and Rocky Research. As a result of these efforts, coupled with a preliminary cost analysis, York built and is currently testing a 400-ton prototype chiller. The testing will be followed by a field test program.

The Trane Chiller

The Trane Company now has an operational triple-effect prototype using the dual loop cycle, a technology patented by ORNL for DOE in 1988 and licensed from ORNL in 1989. This prototype, a product of a cost-shared program with the Gas Research Institute, is undergoing optimization and characterization testing.

The Trane dual-loop-cycle triple-effect chiller prototype.

The triple-effect absorption chiller offers many benefits. For both gas and electric utilities, the technology offers opportunities to reduce peak electricity demand and improve fuel use through integrated resource planning and demand-side management. For the nation and for end users, this technology offers energy efficiency, economic payback, job creation, and improved U.S. competitiveness in international markets. The technology should provide the springboard to allow the United States to regain lost ground in the sales of large commercial chillers.

A History of Market Shares in Large Commercial Chillers

For more information, contact

Patricia W. Garland, Energy Division
Technical Staff Member
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
600 Maryland Ave. SW, Suite 306W
Washington, DC 20024

Phone Number: (202)479-0292
Fax Number: (202) 479-0575

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