Natural Gas Cooling
Most people associate natural gas with heating, but natural gas cooling technology is becoming increasingly popular with businesses in the Atlanta Gas Light service area. Cooling with natural gas can help your business move more money to the bottom line by cutting your electric bills – and it can shrink your business’ carbon footprint.
Natural gas cooling is ideal for commercial facilities like supermarkets, hotels, warehouses, office buildings and institutions like hospitals, nursing homes, churches and schools. High efficiency, gas-fired cooling equipment is also an excellent choice for factories and other industrial facilities.
There are three basic types of gas cooling systems available today: absorption, engine-driven and desiccant. There is more information about each of these technologies below. If you’re interested in talking to Atlanta Gas Light about distributed generation options, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just call us at
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Absorption cooling systems rely on a cycle of condensation and evaporation to produce cooling. The absorption process is driven by a heat source rather than a mechanical compressor, like those used in electric chillers.
Absorption systems are available as chillers or chiller/heaters, and may be direct-fired by a gas burner or indirectly powered by another heat source (like waste heat from a cogeneration system or industrial process). These systems greatly reduce electric consumption and peak demand. In addition, absorption systems have few moving parts and need very little maintenance.
Gas absorption systems have a number of advantages over conventional electric cooler systems:
- Lower operating and maintenance costs
- Lower carbon footprint
- Safer, quieter operation
- Smaller total space requirements
- High reliability
Gas engine-driven cooling systems use a mechanical process much like electric cooling systems. However, a high-efficiency gas engine instead of an electric motor drives their compressors. Also, the engine and exhaust heat from a gas cooling system can be recovered to efficiently produce hot water or process steam.
These systems are available in the 250- to 2,100-ton range, and are popular with universities, hospitals and office complexes, businesses where natural gas engines can power centrifugal or screw chillers in central plants. Customers with smaller cooling needs can install neatly packaged compact units in sizes ranging from 15 to 800 tons.
Desiccant systems help control humidity levels by taking moisture out of the air. These systems are well suited for supermarkets, health spas, hotels, restaurants and other facilities that require low humidity levels.
It takes more energy to cool humid air than drier air. By removing some of that moisture, the desiccant system works in tandem with the cooling system and reduces the customer's overall cooling costs (or allows the customer to reduce the size of the chiller needed to cool the air). This process also allows for the separate control of temperature and humidity.