Improved energy performance of air cooled centrifugal chillers with variable chilled water flow

F. W. Yu, K. T. Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


This paper considers how to apply optimum condensing temperature control and variable chilled water flow to increase the coefficient of performance (COP) of air cooled centrifugal chillers. A thermodynamic model for the chillers was developed and validated using a wide range of operating data and specifications. The model considers real process phenomena, including capacity control by the inlet guide vanes of the compressor and an algorithm to determine the number and speed of condenser fans staged based on a set point of condensing temperature. Based on the validated model, it was found that optimizing the control of condensing temperature and varying the evaporator's chilled water flow rate enable the COP to increase by 0.8-191.7%, depending on the load and ambient conditions. A cooling load profile of an office building in a subtropical climate was considered to assess the potential electricity savings resulting from the increased chiller COP and optimum staging of chillers and pumps. There is 16.3-21.0% reduction in the annual electricity consumption of the building's chiller plant. The results of this paper provide useful information on how to implement a low energy chiller plant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1595-1611
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • Centrifugal compressor
  • Coefficient of performance
  • Condensing temperature control
  • Pumping system
  • Simulation


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