Economic evaluation of a district cooling system incorporating thermal storage.
The following report investigates district cooling systems. This form of technology provides an alternative means of providing cooling. In a traditional cooling system each building would include cooling equipment to serve only that building. District cooling differs in that water is chilled at one location and pumped to two or more buildings. District cooling has many benefits over traditional cooling systems. This report, however, aims to determine the economic benefits (if any) of district cooling systems. The location chosen as a model for this study was the University of Natal (Durban) campus. This campus currently operates a district cooling system serving six buildings. This study is hypothetical in nature, as the cooling system is already finalized and operational. The aim of this dissertation is to answer the question of which would be the more attractive alternative if the University were in a position of having to install a completely cooling system. One of the most important steps in this process is the calculation of cooling loads. The cooling load was estimated for each of the buildings associated with the district cooling system. The LOADEST software package was used to derive these cooling loads. The accuracy of LOADEST software was also validated in this study. The bulk of this report is composed of the preliminary work required to obtain capital and operating costs for cooling systems, including validation of cooling load calculation software. It was felt that this prelimiinary work justified inclusion in the final report to provide accurate representation of the steps taken before any economic evaluation could be reached. The capital and operating costs of the district cooling system and a more traditional system were compared. It was found that the district cooling system reduces operating costs significantly, although it's capital cost is higher than the traditional system against which it was compared.