Variable-Speed Magnetic Bearing Chiller

Magnetic levitation chiller compressors improve the energy efficiency of air conditioning systems while minimizing the negative impacts of excess heat, noise and vibration. A recent GSA evaluation of this technology resulted in an overall energy savings of 42.3% and a simple payback period of less than five years compared to installation of a comparable rotary-screw chiller. View full-size infographic. [PDF - 364 KB]

GPG Findings 009, December 2013, Variable-Speed Magnetic Levitation Chiller Compressor. Opportunity: How much energy is used for space cooling in U.S. office buildings? 10% of energy goes to space cooling. 32% of commercial buildings rely on chillers to provide this cooling. Technology: How do maglev chillers save energy? Eliminate friction with magnetic bearings. Improve efficiency at partial loads with variable speed drive. 35% more efficient than FEMP-designated high-efficiency rotary screw chillers. Measurement and Verification: Where did M and V occur? Pacific Northwest National Laboratory assessed the performance of a variable-speed oil-free centrifugal chiller with magnetic bearings at the George Howard, Jr. Federal Building in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Results: How did maglev chillers perform in M and V? 42% energy savings as cooling loads decrease, efficiency increases. Quite performance allows chillers to be placed closer to occupant spaces. Less than 5 years payback after normalizing for payment structure and utility costs. Deployment: Where does M and V recommend deploying maglev chillers? End-of-life replacement of rotary screw chillers with maglev chillers. [PDF - 364 KB]

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Last Reviewed: 2021-05-21