CHILLER PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS
In January 2020, Tradewinds carried out a Performance Analysis Survey on the chillers and provisions refrigeration system of a 115m+ Superyacht. Our client had been experiencing ongoing problems with one particular circuit tripping out of high discharge temperature during the summer months and also wanted an overall review of all systems. After connecting our specialist test equipment, we were able to easily monitor the chiller parameters (including kW Cooling, pressures, temperatures, flow rates, COP, Power consumption, voltage, amperage and a host of other information in great detail) and identify what the situation was. All circuits were run up on full load and summer conditions were simulated to ‘stress’ the machine and identify the fault. After watching the trending information, we were able to identify the fault and therefore provide the right solution.
During the survey, we also noticed that the original R404A charge had been replaced with R134A. Whilst this might be a lower GWP refrigerant and therefore a good option as a retrofit refrigerant, we analysed the performance of the chillers and found them to be operating at 77% of the original design. Using the Bitzer software, we also compared the design difference in cooling capacity when using R134A and found it to be 57% less than than R404A. This is a massive drop in cooling capacity and one of the major reasons why they are struggling to maintain the temperature during the summer months. The onboard engineer, then calculated the savings in fuel costs over a year and found that they would burn 146000Kg less fuel and providing a cost saving of USD$100,000
After completing the survey, our report was provided, explaining our findings and offered recommendations to improve the performance of the refrigeration equipment. Most of these recommendations were able to be completed by the onboard Engineers and we continue to support our client with consultancy advice and our marine refrigeration training courses.
We requested Stuart from Tradewinds to attend our vessel after seeing his work on LinkedIn. At the time we had no support company for our refrigeration/AC equipment and it was something I wanted to set up. Stuart attended for a week to carry out an overall efficiency survey of our equipment, studying the original designs, navigating the un-documented modifications, fully familiarizing himself with the systems and carrying out the efficiency survey. Stuart found a number of deficiencies and found the cause of an ongoing issue that had one of our chiller compressors tripping un expectantly. We currently operate in an environment beyond the design limitations of our system (35 degree C seawater) really testing our plant, failures is not an option over the summer so it is vital the system is running well. Stuart looked into improvements on our request finding that modifications in the past re-gassing from R404a to R134a was a mistake, reducing our overall capacity to 67% of the original, changing to R407C can bring this back to 90% of original, the savings in fuel would be significant in only a short space of time. After this survey Stuart and Tradewinds are now in a position to assist us remotely and will be my first point of call for future works and refits. I was surprised at the issues we had been running with unknowingly and after correcting these issues how improved our plant is. I would highly recommend this survey for anyone operating AC and refrigeration plants, Stuart is a natural teacher, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with him on the systems.
We would like to encourage more yacht owners to take advantage of this survey as its a great way to confirm that the chillers are ‘Fit for purpose’ and ready for the summer season ahead. It’s great to have a tick in the box as a ‘Health Check’ to put your mind at ease that the equipment is working correctly. There is no guess work or contractors opinions involved. It’s real live data, that we invite you to view. Faults become easily identified and troubleshooting is much easier when all the information can be seen at the same time.
If you would like to work with us and have the efficiency of your chiller confirmed then please don’t hesitate to contact us at [email protected]