For one of our established manufacturing clients, Free Cooling has enabled them to dramatically reduce their operating costs whilst working towards their corporate goal of reducing their environmental footprint.
The client, a leading commercial flooring manufacturer, have invested heavily in both product development and production facilities and they supply their commercial floor coverings to a variety of customers, including hospitals and educational facilities.
Some years ago, Aqua installed a 660kW glycol Free Cooling system to look after the cooling on a second production line which had been installed at their factory. Because their existing production had historically had some issues with contaminated process water, our design team included stainless steel gasketed plate heat exchangers on the second line to overcome this problem. The heat exchangers meant the process and chilled water sources could be kept separate, plus the exchangers were fully cleanable. This had the added advantage of also protecting the integrity of the cooling equipment and reduces maintenance costs longer term.
In 2017 when the original system began to fail, our client was keen to replace their legacy equipment with a second Free Cooling set up.
Aqua supplied an additional 660kW chiller and a 300kW Free Cooler. With both production lines having the same cooling equipment, both new and existing benefited from increased efficiency straight away as power utilisation was less. Their manufacturing now also benefited from built in redundancy – if one circuit should ever fail production would be unaffected. Also, because of the Free Cooler, in low ambient conditions an entire chiller could be stood down with no adverse effect – apart from 75% reduced energy consumption and associated cost savings! Spares were now also common to both lines.
Free Cooling is a relatively simple, but extremely effective concept. Basically, power usage is reduced because lower ambient temperatures are used to cool the return water – rather than the chiller unit. As well as reducing running costs, free cooling helps lengthen the lifetime of equipment as it’s not being utilised as much.
The solution included:
- Energy efficient chiller & free cooler
- Bespoke design service
- EC fans
- Plate exchanger
- Full mechanical & electrical installation
Once the system was installed, the energy savings were quickly evident. The addition of the second chiller to the refrigeration system, gave gains on condenser and evaporator efficiency – on both the new and existing production lines. Aqua Director, Simon Davis, commented: “This is a great example of the benefits of Free Cooling. Our client will save over £12,000 each and every year, meaning the total system will pay for itself in a little over 6 years. Although this is based on the current throughput of the new line, with increased capacity this will drop to under 3 years.”