BlueStream Hybrid Cooling System Helps Customers Address Water, Energy Challenges

MILWAUKEE, Wis. –Controls has developed a unique, innovative and industry-leading solution – the BlueStream Hybrid Cooling System – to help customers address water and energy challenges in facilities through more efficient cooling tower operations. The solution will be featured at the 2017 AHR Expo (booth C3124).

BlueStream features a groundbreaking technology – thermosyphon hybrid cooling – to reduce water consumption in traditional cooling tower systems by 25-80 percent compared to all-evaporative heat rejection systems. It also maintains peak process output and energy efficiency on the hottest summer days.

Like fanning away sweat on a hot day, open cooling towers reduce the temperature of water heated in chillers, industrial processes, data centers and other high-heat practices. Through a “wet” process, the warm water is sprayed over the fill in a cooling tower to increase the contact area, and the heat is removed through evaporation.

A constant supply of water is needed to replace the water evaporated from the cooling tower, but in many regions, continuing droughts and increasing competition for this essential resource limit water availability. Additionally, some water is continuously bled from the system to reduce the buildup of undissolved solids as water is evaporated. This generates a large wastewater stream, often containing many additional water treatment chemicals.

Used in conjunction with a traditional cooling tower, the BlueStream system offers “dry” cooling through a thermosyphon process in which refrigerant circulates naturally, with no need for a pump or compressor. Intelligent, web-connected controls coordinate the operation of both the wet and dry system components and adjust in all weather and thermal load conditions for optimum efficiency, utilizing wet cooling when it’s hot and dry cooling when it’s not.

To develop BlueStream, Johnson Controls combined the best technologies in the heat rejection industry. The company worked with the Electric Power Research Institute to evaluate BlueStream in a wide range of cooling conditions in thermoelectric power plants. The project demonstrated Blue Stream’s ability to significantly reduce annual water use in plants while still maintaining peak plant output on the hottest summer days.

In addition, Johnson Controls tested two prototypes – the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, and the Water Research Center in Cartersville, Georgia – to validate the dramatic reduction in water consumption provided by BlueStream. Johnson Controls partnered with NREL and Sandia National Laboratories to install BlueStream at NREL’s 1 MW data center, where it is projected to save a million gallons of water each year.

BlueStream is an ideal technology for process cooling, data centers, power generation and year-round, base-loaded HVAC applications with water-cooled chillers. Initial analyses indicate a payback period of as low as 2.5 years, depending on the facility’s geographic location, utility costs and operating conditions.

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