Water Chiller Plant: many options available

There are many options available for generating chilled water. Perhaps none does so more efficiently than the water-cooled chiller, an essential part of Industrial Refrigeration. A water-cooled chiller is designed specifically to remove heat from a cooling system and transfer that heat elsewhere. Water-cooled chillers have inherent advantages to air-cooled chillers. These advantages make them a better choice for providing chilled water in many circumstances. Water-cooled chillers have similar components to air-cooled chillers but use circulating water to remove heat instead of exhausting heat by air. Read below to discover everything you need to know about this industrial water chiller.

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How does the water-cooled chiller work?

A water-cooled chiller uses the refrigeration process you may be familiar with from other cooling equipment. The refrigerant vapor is used to chill process water in the evaporator and then the vapor enters the compressor of the chiller. Similarly, to an air-cooled chiller, the compressor increases the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant, pushing it to the condenser. The condenser, unlike an air-cooled condenser, contains a source of cooling water from either a nearby local water source or a cooling tower. The water in the condenser collects the excess heat from the refrigerant and removes it from the chiller. Ultimately, heat is discharged to the source water or a cooling tower. Finally, refrigerant returns to the evaporator, beginning the cycle again.


Advantages of an Industrial Water Chiller

Water-cooled chillers offer several advantages to air-cooled chillers, which make them an ideal consideration for direct cooling plants mainly when a continuous water source is available. They’re ideal for retrofit projects or those with space constraints as water-cooled chillers typically have a smaller footprint. Water-cooled chillers operate better at higher dry bulb air temperatures as they are “driven” by the wet bulb temperature instead, making them an ideal choice in hot, arid climates. These industrial water chillers offer a simple, reliable design with robust, network-based control systems making them easy to customize to meet the needs of your project. Water-cooled chillers are more efficient than other options as well and can reduce electricity consumption when compared to other options. These chillers are exceedingly reliable and low maintenance, offering a much longer service life than other chiller options. Contact ARANER and let us show what benefits a water-cooled chiller has for your new or existing application.  

Multiple Cooling Uses, A Single Chiller

Another key advantage of a water-cooled chiller goes back to its size, should you have added needs for chilling it may be possible to use a single, centralized water-cooled chiller to deliver these needs and chilled water for direct cooling. Ideal applications might be District Cooling and Heating, Data Centers, Pharmaceuticals, and more. Combining these processes with producing chilled water offers efficiencies of scale not generally achieved with separate chillers for each application. This is particularly true when an additional need for cooling coincides with a reduced demand for direct cooling energy.  

Efficiency of the Industrial Water Chiller

A properly designed and implemented water-cooled chiller plant is typically more efficient than other chiller-plant options, whenever there is water availability. One study of the efficiencies of real central chilled water plants in California concluded that water-cooled chiller plants achieved substantial energy savings, over 60% in certain cases. The same study showed significant operational savings, over $100,000 per year in the case study. We measured the efficiency of a chiller by its coefficient of performance (COP). The COP is the ratio of refrigeration performance to the electrical energy used to produce it. Water-cooled chillers are very efficient, since they require little electrical energy to produce large amounts of refrigeration energy, translating to a high COP. Water-cooled chillers may require additional pumps or equipment that uses electrical energy, so to determine the expected efficiency of an industrial water chiller in your plant the professionals at ARANER perform a full lifecycle analysis. The above mentioned intuitive, networked controls also contribute to the overall efficiency of a water-cooled chiller. Operators can easily control the temperature of chilled water using these controls. There may be times, such as part-load conditions, when increasing the temperature of chilled water may lead to less work and, therefore, increased efficiency . A rule of thumb is a 1-2% increase in efficiency per degree Celsius of temperature increase. So, increasing the water temperature and slightly increasing inside air temps automatically during off-hours could cause increased efficiency. The intuitive controls allow operators to make other adjustments over time, which could lead to additional increases in overall efficiency.  


Water-cooled chillers are a viable option for many chilling projects and are highly efficient, whenever there is water available. Whether you are planning a new chilled water plant or renovating an existing plant, ARANER can help. We are a leader in water-cooled chillers providing chilled water for District Cooling and other uses. ARANER considers the unique aspects of your project and provides you with options that are the best in technology, affordable, and efficient.  

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