Mar 14

So You Think You Need A Chiller…How about a Fluid to Fluid Heat Exchanger Instead?


Often when liquid cooling is required most people go straight to liquid chillers with mechanical refrigeration not realizing that if they have facility cooling water there is another option with many positive points for consideration. The fluid to fluid heat exchanger. Fluid to fluid heat exchangers have several positive points for their recommendation if facility cooling water supply is available and the required fluid set-temperature is above that of the facility cooling water source.


Another big advantage with fluid to fluid heat exchangers is the amount of cooling they can provide per dollar.  For example, a recent real life case had a customer requiring a heat removal of 800,000 BTUH with a flow rate of 50 GPM.  The first air-cooled chiller proposal for a mechanically refrigerated system was over $100k. However,when the same process was looked at with a fluid to fluid heat exchanger the job was able to be accomplished for less than $10k.  That is a huge savings to anyone’s capital expenditures budget.


Do not think though that fluid to fluid heat exchangers, our HRE series, are only for large heat loads. Our smallest off the shelf system is designed to handle from a few hundred Watts to 20 Kilowatts. We can advise you at the time of your request the amount of facility cooling water you will need for a certain heat load. Important to this figure is the temperature of your facilities cooling water, be sure to find that out as it is key to sizing process for fluid to fluid heat exchangers.


So let’s take a quick review of what information you will need for a chiller company to size a fluid to fluid heat exchanger for your cooling application.  One, is heat load. What is the maximum heat load you will need to cool.  Two, flow rate for the process side or your equipment to be cooled. Lastly your facility water amount and temperature. With these three pieces of information your chiller manufacturer should be able to size a fluid to fluid heat exchanger for your process heat load if the set-point temperature for your process is above your facilities cooling water supply temperature.


One final note on these heat exchangers is with regard to reliability. Having only a plate heat exchanger with a flow control means like a solenoid valve means other than the fluid pump there is only one moving part. This is far less than the average electro-mechanical refrigeration system thereby decreasing the odds for malfunction. Fluid to fluid heat exchangers play a key role in fluid temperature control the world over in numerous applications from laser cooling to semiconductor manufacture and plant wide cooling applications.