A modular chiller is a small version of a regular chiller that can be connected in series to additional modular chillers to create a full-size chiller. According to Howard Kelly, communications and marketing director for Multistack, “This type of system provides energy savings and redundancy, which is important when you have any type of critical cooling need.” What is meant by redundancy is simple: If you have a big 300-, 400-, or 500-ton chiller with a single large compressor on it, if the compressor has a problem, the chiller is out of commission. “With modular chillers, two compressors per unit are part of the design, so should one compressor fail, the other is still working. Now factor in an array of ten 50-ton chillers, you have 20 compressors. It would take an awful lot going wrong to leave you without cooling capabilities.”
The application of a modular chiller fits the profile of energy savings based on how it works. Kelly gave an example. “Let’s use a typical office building with a 500-ton peak demand as the basis for discussion,” he said. “The building is designed with a 500-ton chiller that can meet the demands of the building on the hottest day of the year with no problem. The issue arises when you consider that the hottest day of the year happens about one week a year in the heart of the summer. Every other day of the year the load is less than peak.