An industrial chiller at the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) ESTEC technical center in the Netherlands provides cold water throughout the facility, helping to maintain clean rooms and key test equipment at optimal temperatures.

“Commissioned in 2017, this installation is our most energy efficient chiller, with a cooling capacity of about 1.2 MW, or roughly 800 times the capacity of a standard household fridge,” said mechanical projects engineer Christophe Huysmans of ESTEC’s Estates and Facility Management Department.

The chiller uses refrigerant R1234ze, which is one of the most environmentally sustainable gases available, according to ESA. Covering around one-fifth of ESTEC’s total demand, the machine is equipped with energy optimizing systems, such as variable speed drives, and allows for temperatures ranging from 6°C (43°F) in summertime up to 12°C (53°F) in winter.

ESA is currently planning ESTEC’s first heat pump installation to produce cooling energy while simultaneously recycling waste heat, allowing the facility to significantly reduce its natural gas consumption.