Chiller Systems COP Process Chillers

What Does COP Stand For?

The COP aka coefficient of performance is an important chiller performance metric

If you’ve stumbled over references to the acronym COP in your industrial cooling research – or its technical definition leaves you scratching your head – then this article is for you. In it, we’ll decode the meaning of COP as it relates to chiller performance, explain why it’s important, and suggest features to optimize COP in your next industrial process chiller.

COP = coefficient of performance

At its core, COP measures a chiller’s efficiency in kilowatts (kW). It’s an abbreviation for the coefficient of performancedefined as the ratio of refrigeration required for heat removal (kWR) to the chiller’s electrical energy demand (kWE). In simpler terms, it weighs the input power against the output power to provide insight into a system’s efficiency level.

This COP ratio looks like this:

kWR (kilowatts of refrigeration) / kWE (kilowatts of electricity) = COP (coefficient of performance)

For example, let’s say a chiller provides 2,500 kW of refrigeration, and the chiller’s electrical energy demand to produce that refrigeration level is 540 kW. In this case, you would calculate the coefficient of performance, or COP, as follows: 

2,500 kW / 540 kW = 4.6 coefficient of performance (COP)

With a COP of 4.6, it means that your chiller produces 4.6 kW of cooling for every 1 kW of electricity the system consumes.

Why the coefficient of performance is important

The coefficient of performance helps you assess whether a chiller system uses energy efficiently, which can help preserve resources and reduce your energy costs. As you’re comparing industrial process chillers, bear in mind that those with a higher COP will:

  1. Operate more efficiently
  2. Consume fewer resources
  3. Reduce your operating costs

In the next section of this article on the coefficient of performance, we’ll explore buying tips to help you select the most efficient chiller for your budget and application.

Features that optimize your chiller’s coefficient of performance

Whether you’re looking to replace an old, outdated chiller or you’re starting from scratch, evaluating the coefficient of performance can help ensure your new system is as efficient as possible. 

The following are a few features to look for in an industrial process chiller to maximize COP:

  • Variable speed drive (VSD) compressors – As opposed to fixed speed compressors, those with variable speed drive can enhance a chiller’s efficiency and increase the coefficient of performance.
  • Electronically commutated (EC) condenser fans – Opting for EC fans instead of AC fans can help stabilize refrigerant temperatures and reduce energy consumption by 6% or more, elevating its efficiency and COP.
  • Evaporator electronic expansion valves (EEV) – With better superheat control, EEVs are an energy-efficient feature that can increase evaporator efficiency and promote a higher COP.
  • Variable frequency drive (VFD) pump – VFD pumps can match loads more accurately by varying the speed, often reducing energy consumption by up to 30% for higher coefficient of performance.
  • Heat reclaim capabilities – A heat reclaim option for the hot water loop is another energy-conserving feature to consider for improving a chiller’s efficiency and raise its coefficient of performance.
  • Floating head pressure control – Rather than using a valve system, floating head pressure control allows pressure to ‘float’ using ambient air in certain conditions, lowering the energy consumption, and increasing the coefficient of performance.
  • Digital controls – Digital controls and sensors perform faster and more precisely than their manual counterparts, lending tighter process control and a higher COP.

Beyond these COP-enhancing features, following a routine chiller maintenance schedule can keep your system’s components running clean and efficiently. With every scheduled cleaning, you can save up to 10% of energy, depending on the chiller fouling level.

The coefficient of performance (COP) is a useful measure of an industrial process chiller’s efficiency that can help preserve resources, improve operation, and save operating costs. Contact our team online or call (888) 289-7299 to learn how we can help you select a chiller with the highest COP for your budget and application. Our robust selection of high-uptime engineered solutions includes many quick ship options to get your industrial processes up and running faster.