We can compare hybrid cooling to something everyone is familiar with – hybrid cars.
Standard cars have oversized engines for when there is a larger load or a burst of speed is needed for merging and passing on highways. Hybrid cars have smaller engines, which provide greater efficiency and an adequate amount of power. When more power is needed, the stored energy is used to provide the necessary burst of power or the stored energy can be used when traffic is creeping along or at idle for even better efficiency.
Commercial cooling with hybrid cooling is similar. Engineers design cooling systems for peak design days and unanticipated cooling loads. This results in large cooling systems with large supporting infrastructure. Adding storage into these designs allows smaller “cooling system engines” to be used that are more efficient over a wider operating range. When prices are high, or the load is great and a boost is needed, the storage provides capacity. Similarly, when loads are small (at idle or creeping along) the entire cooling load can be supported with low cost stored energy. The connected load is smaller, which is good for everyone, while the safety capacity is provided by storage. The capital for storage comes from installing a smaller electric chiller and support equipment.
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