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“It’s about hitting higher levels of efficiency”

Climate Control Middle East speaks to Johnson Controls Ashraf Abdalla, Vice President of Small Tonnage Chillers about the recently introduced variable-speed driven, air-cooled screw chillers

| | Oct 28, 2010 | 2:26 pm
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Johnson Controls (JCI), in September, introduced the next generation of a variable-speed driven, air-cooled screw chillers, which the company said, would be a boost for energy efficiency, thanks to new compressor technologies and patented heat-transfer technologies. According to JCI, the new chiller is designed to meet the specific requirements of the Middle East market and will cover the capacity range of between 150 TR and 500 TR. Ashraf Abdalla, JCI’s Vice President of Small Tonnage Chillers, was in Dubai, last month. Climate Control Middle East caught up with him for a chat…

How seriously are you eyeing the rental market with this product?

Ashraf Abdalla

Ashraf Abdalla

The rental market was well-founded around reciprocating compressors, not only in the Middle East but also globally. The recip copes with conditions much easier than the screw does. The rest of the market has moved to screw, but the rental has stayed with recip compressors. You have VSDs for running the system, as opposed to direct-driven for screw. If a rental company has to deal with a variety of voltages, it can adapt its capital in a much more effective manner and not duplicate its inventory, in terms of 60hz and 50hz.

There is higher interest in rental than in purchasing, especially in situations where projects are stopped, which forces you to provide cooling to those parts of the projects that have been completed. We are certainly ready for that trend. Dubai has slowed down owing to the crisis, but Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are still continuing a certain growth path.

What kind of efficiency can you promise the market with this system?

In a comparative basis, water-cooled will always be more efficient; however, there are other environmental effects, so it is difficult to draw a clear line between air-cooled and water-cooled. Here, with new air-cooled products, we expect to be leading the market. We are looking at 11.5 EER. We are also focused on part-load efficiencies.

In a sustainable world, having a sustainable product and looking after the environment is important. While we concentrate on efficiency, we also look at refrigerant charge, which in our case, is one of the lowest in the market. Our micro-channel condenser uses a lesser volume of refrigerant. The LEED concept is growing and is attractive for us, because some of the features of this product will support LEED. The user will be able to earn points, in terms of refrigerant volume. If you have more refrigerant in the system, you are likely to impact the environment, in case of a leak during the lifecycle of the product.

Coming back to energy efficiency, you don’t aim to work towards what you have. From a technology point of view, this product is futuristic. What it can offer will be the market requirement in 10-15 years from now. We really take it as a responsibility to have a truly sustainable product. In JCI, we have a measure of how sustainable a product is.

If you look at our water-cooled or air side, the philosophy for sustainable product is the same. The philosophy has to do with hitting higher levels of efficiency. We are peaking at those levels.

Higher efficiency is not only at the design stage but across the years, because you do encounter different conditions throughout the year.

How long did it take to develop this product?

It took us three years to develop the concept and the new technology of the product. The combination of the components took one year.

A unique feature of this product is that it is highly configurable. If a customer asks for 200 TR, we can give exactly that. The advantage of this is that you maximise your efficiency, because you run what you need. As additional benefits, you can get better part-load efficiency and lower sound. Further, the Middle East relies on importing chillers. So we looked at design (configuration) and maximised shipping, in terms of container space.

Will this product lend itself to retrofitting?

It is built on a global platform. In the US, retrofitting is fairly high. In terms of power consumption, it uses lesser power than its predecessor. Its footprint is low or will fit in the same footprint.

The retrofitting market is relatively young in the Middle East. As these buildings mature, that will certainly be an attraction for retrofitting.

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