YORK Navy Systems by Johnson Controls announces the successful operation of a prototype compressor for a new generation of shipboard chillers for the U.S. Navy fleet. Under an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded contract awarded by the U.S. Navy in 2009, YORK Navy Systems began developing the next generation of high-efficiency chillers to improve shipboard heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.  Currently more than 90% of the vessels in the U.S. Navy fleet use YORK air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.
Chillers provide vital cooling for ship weapons, command and control systems and crew comfort.  Navy chillers must be designed for 35 to 50 years of service during which they will be exposed to extreme environments such as weapons-effect shock, heavy-weather ship vibration, and temperatures ranging from the Arctic to tropical locations.
The Navy’s aggressive goals for the next generation of chillers are to:

  • Reduce fuel consumption by 25% and maintenance by at least 50%
  • Increase cooling density by 50% and reliability by at least 200%
  • Meet environmental objectives by cutting refrigerant leakage by 90%.

YORK reports these goals have been addressed with the new units, which are based on variable speed, economized two-stage compressors with oil-free magnetic bearings and high-speed permanent magnet motors. For many years, YORK Navy Systems has partnered with American industries, and did so on this project with Fairmont Automation, Calnetix, and Mezzo Technologies for the automation, power electronics-magnetic bearings and micro-tube heat exchangers.
“By replacing a number of mechanical parts in current chillers with variable speed, magnetic systems and advanced automation, we will have new units capable of meeting the Navy’s challenges well into the 21st century while providing cost, space, weight, power and environmental benefits,” says Steve Remington, general manager, YORK Navy Systems.
Testing of the first of the new high-efficiency compressor has demonstrated that all of the Navy’s aggressive goals will be achieved.  The compressors are slated for new ship design and construction. The compressor has also been designed as a retrofit option to improve the performance and energy usage of more than 200 chillers already in fleet use. YORK is expected to commence construction of production units in 2014 with the first ship installation scheduled for 2016.