Energy Manager

HVAC & Plumbing Product
Daikin Pathfinder with ‘free cooling’ chiller drives energy and water savings

New chiller with integrated economizer ideal for data centres and other buildings with higher power requirements and indoor temperatures.

April 1, 2020  By Energy Manager Canada


Daikin has introduced an integrated water-side economizer (WSE) for its Pathfinder Air-cooled Screw Chiller. The WSE, providing what is commonly known as “free cooling,” uses outdoor air to naturally cool water and other process fluids, reducing compressor work and increasing chiller efficiency.

The Pathfinder with ‘free cooling’ also operates without needing water from a cooling tower, drastically cutting water use as well as costs for water, sewer and chemical treatment.

“For many organizations, water conservation is part of their sustainability efforts. And some facilities are in areas with water restrictions. By omitting a cooling tower or evaporative cooling system, free-cooling chillers put less stress on municipal infrastructure and the environment,” said Hugh Hudson, data centre market manager, Daikin Applied, in a company release.

Adding an on-board economizer to the Pathfinder decreases installation and commissioning times and related expenses. The integrated layout is also compact, reducing air-flow clearances and interconnecting pipes. Plus, the chiller’s pipe headers are made of multi-layer polypropylene to eliminate corrosion and contaminants while trimming weight and the load on a building’s roof.


The Pathfinder functions in three different modes — free cooling, mechanical and hybrid — to optimize energy performance and, for a data centre, improve power usage effectiveness (PUE). And at low ambient temperatures, the WSE coils reject the heat, allowing the chiller compressors to shut down, eliminating power draw entirely.

Daikin’s proprietary microchannel fluid coil design also allows the unit to operate at a lower air pressure drop, which decreases the energy required to run the fans, furthering efficiency.

When the unit operates in high ambient temperature conditions, the Pathfinder uses Daikin’s Variable Volume Ratio (VVR) technology and a variable frequency drive to maximize efficiency. This is the first factory-packaged air-cooled chiller that provides both an integrated WSE and VVR compressor technology.

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