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Sustainability and minimising the environmental impact of chillers

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As the global psyche turns to environmental concerns, the refrigeration industry is not immune to customer demands for sustainable products that minimise their environmental impact. Creating innovative solutions that reduce energy consumption is something that Australian company Summit Matsu Chilling Systems considers key to its company’s success and believes will become a key factor in any company’s competitive advantage in years to come.  

In addition to keeping pace with industry wide developments such as variable speed refrigeration compressors and eco-friendly refrigerants, Australian water chiller manufacturer Matsu Chilling Systems focuses on increased chiller life as an eco-friendly approach.    

“Matsu Chilling Systems uses only the highest quality components to ensure longer chiller life” said General Manager Daniel Rollston. “We see some of our competitors using thinner grades of aluminium for condenser fins, or not epoxy coating the fins, or using thinner grades of steel for cabinets, which just translates to shorter product life. This results in the need to replace equipment sooner and we believe this surely has a greater environmental impact than just buying a product like ours that is built for durability. When you look at the total cost of chiller ownership Matsu Chilling Systems has a very good case.”  

When making the purchasing decision, Summit Matsu recommends looking for the following features to ensure that your chiller is as environmentally sound as possible:    

  1. Use of chlorine free refrigerants. 407C and 134a refrigerants which do not deplete the ozone layer. These refrigerants also have a safety rating and are rated by ASHRAE* Standard 34 as “A1” meaning lower toxicity and no flame propagation.  
  2. Use of “screw” type refrigeration compressors. These are by far the most efficient in terms of power consumption. Less power consumption = less greenhouse gas emissions.  
  3. Use of variable drive refrigeration compressors. Compressors are the heart of all chillers and pump refrigerant around the circuit. By using an automatic capacity control chillers conserve power by reducing capacity when only a small amount of chiller capacity is required.  
  4. Use of high quality steel frames designed for outdoor use. Frames are designed to last for 20+ years. A chiller bought once will have a lower environmental impact than one that needs to be replaced.  
  5. Use of high quality aluminium for finned heat exchangers. 12 fins per inch as standard. Some manufacturers use a thinner grade of aluminium and up to 18 fins per inch to save on space but these have a limited life.  
  6. Use of epoxy coating on condenser fins – leads to less fin corrosion and longer condenser fin life.  
  7. Customised options for chiller durability in harsh environments. Additions could include marine grade aluminium or stainless steel casings, aluminium sound attenuators, or copper / copper finned coils for marine environments.   
*ASRAE – The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers

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