Centrifugal compressors are used in many applications including pipeline transport of natural gas along with many other related applications including vapor compression refrigeration. Centrifugal compressors have different operating limitations than reciprocating compressors, scroll compressors, and rotary compressors. The centrifugal compressor has an operating range where it operates efficiently however outside of this range, either the over or under that operating, the centrifugal compressor is basically useless. Other issues with centrifugal compressors make them not ideal for use in certain compressor applications because of the operating range issues.
Centrifugal compressors, like rotary screw compressors, are used in chillers for chilled water applications. Many of the chillers with centrifugal compressors are large tonnage applications where the centrifugal compressor can meet the operating range necessary to remain efficient and operate in a safe operating range. The centrifugal compressor in a chiller uses centrifugal force to sling the vapor refrigerant outward to increase the refrigerant pressure and the temperature and then sends it to either condenser coils or a condenser barrel where the heat is removed from the refrigerant.