Chiller Fouling wastes massive electricity but remains unaddressed in times of climate crisis. - Watco Group

Chiller Fouling wastes massive electricity but remains unaddressed in times of climate crisis.

2.4% of global electricity may be wasted via fouling.

Massive energy waste in chillers goes unnoticed in the Climate Crisis.

2.4% of world electricity consumption wasted on chiller fouling?

A total of 42 million chillers are installed worldwide with an accumulated capacity of 33 GW. If they all run at 60% capacity around the year it would mean they consume 26% of the world’s electricity consumption of 110,000 TWh. With a typical fouling waste of 15% that adds up to 2.4% of the world’s electricity consumption being wasted on chiller fouling.

Maybe it is not that bad, as many chillers are well managed. Nevertheless, fouling is a problem with a devastating environmental and economic impact, and it is hardly recognized by the public, many governments or even managers in charge of energy efficiency.

Maybe it is not that bad, as many chillers are well managed. Nevertheless, fouling is a problem with a devastating environmental and economic impact, and it is hardly recognized by the public, many governments or even managers in charge of energy efficiency.

While many countries do have standards for efficiency rates and promote automatic cleaning systems for wet chillers, in reality, the efficiency rates can drop from a specified 6 KW power consumption per KW heat removal (the COP) to a COP of 4 in a fouled unit. Such a, a 33% efficiency loss is fouling waste. Between cleaning cycles, this comes to an average of well over 15%.

Solution: Mandatory limitation on operational Chiller COP with auto shutdown. 

A shut-down mechanism not allowing chillers operating below a COP threshold of 5.5 is a practical and easy to implement solution to the problem that should be made mandatory by any government claiming to be serious about addressing carbon emmission issues.

The high-frequency interruptions (condenser cleaning required) resulting from such a mechanism can then be addressed by excellent cooling water and chiller management. A bonus advantage of chillers running at high efficiency is that less chiller capacity needs to be installed and prolonged lifespan of the equipment. 

For now, any responsible building operator should start monitoring energy waste in the entire building and the chiller in particular (as the biggest electricity user) today. Chiller-COP as a hard KPI for responsible teams can be implemented when unbiased data are available. Talk to us to explore our chiller monitoring systems.