How does an industrial chiller work? That’s one thing you probably don’t know unless you’re an engineer. Don’t worry. This article aims to shed some light on the topic and help you understand its concept better.  

What Is an Industrial Chiller

An industrial chiller is a machine that is used to create climate conditions by supplying cooling fluid at low temperatures to keep different types of machines and industrial equipment cool. It works by circulating a cooling liquid through the system that requires cooling. The liquid then comes back to the machine for further recycling. Industrial companies use chillers that run on hydrocarbon or ammonia.

How It Works

An industrial chiller works based on three principles: 

  1. Phase change: The liquid coolant goes through the phase change into a gas when heated. When it’s supercooled, it condenses back into liquid. 
  2. Heat flow: This is when the heat energy flows from an area of high concentration to an area of lower concentration. 
  3. Boiling point: This reduces the pressure over a liquid, which decreases its boiling point. On the other hand, increasing the pressure will then increase the boiling point. 

Now, let’s move on to the basic components of a chiller: 

  • Evaporator: This is where the process starts which involves a low-pressure refrigerant that enters the evaporator. Here, the refrigerant is heated and it will go through the phase change. 
  • Compressor: After the phase change, the gaseous refrigerant will increase its pressure into the compressor. 

Types of Industrial Chillers

There are three main types of industrial chillers used today. They are as follows: 

  • Air-cooled: This uses ambient air that rejects the heat from the refrigerant in the condenser. 
  • Water-cooled: This uses external cooling water to reject the heat from a gaseous refrigerant in the condenses before it goes through the phase change. 
  • Absorption: This uses a heat source, like solar energy, instead of a compressor to drive the coolant through the system. 

Which Is the Best Type of Industrial Chiller to Use?

Choosing an industrial chiller can be a bit confusing. Let’s look into the key advantages of the two most common types: water-cooled and air-cooled chillers. 

Water-cooled chillers provide a more precise heat transfer. Hence, it’s also more energy-efficient. This type of chiller is also known to have a longer lifespan. 

Take note, however, water-cooler chillers have higher upfront costs and maintenance fees. 

As for air-cooled chillers, the upfront costs are lower and they require less space. You also don’t need to worry about water treatment costs when you use this. However, they have a shorter lifespan and they’re not as energy-efficient. 


An industrial chiller is used in an industrial environment to cool either the air or water, which creates cold air or chilled water. Often, industrial chillers are referred to as cooling towers due to their size and appearance. These units are commonly found in factories where large volumes of heat need to be removed in order to keep processes running smoothly.

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