Cooling Technology Brings Benefits To Plastics Recycling In The North East

Aqua’s cooling engineers went above and beyond their brief to help a new corporate client save thousands of pounds a year at its recycling plant in the north east of England.

Aqua supplied and installed one of its hi-tech chiller systems for a prestigious new client at its Redcar waste management facility near Middlesbrough.

The system, which incorporates reserve free cooling capacity, not only features this capability as a failsafe but also has the potential to save the group, one of the UK’s leading integrated waste management companies, up to £40,000 a year in running and maintenance costs at its mixed plastics recycling plant in Wilton, Teesside.

The company turned to Aqua after a series of chiller breakdowns caused by plastic debris in the cooling system condenser disrupted operations once too often. Aqua’s original brief was to supply a new system with similar specifications as a replacement but, when Aqua engineers arrived on site to assess the project, they realised their client could save thousands of pounds a year if they substituted a free cooling chiller system.

Joe Konarski, Aqua sales and project manager, takes up the story. “It was incredibly interesting to go behind the scenes at a waste management recycling plant,” he said.

“The original chiller had broken down and would have cost a lot of money to repair — initially, we were asked simply to relocate and replace the old system like-for-like but, when we looked more closely at the existing set-up, we thought: actually, we can go further here and not only make the operation run more smoothly and efficiently but also significantly reduce running costs for this client.”

“Our new system has now been working well for a year, and the client has just placed an order for a second free cooling chiller, so we hope to continue to work closely with this company in the future,” said Joe.

The recycling facility, which offers an integrated washing and sorting service for recycled mixed plastics, relies on Aqua’s chiller to cool plastic waste, enabling it to be compacted as part of the recycling process.

In normal operation, the system passes heated water through a radiator that is cooled by ambient air — on hotter days when the ambient temperature is too warm to be an effective cooling agent, the free cooling chiller kicks into action to boost the system.

Aqua’s free cooling chiller system is highly efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly; it is expected to save the waste management group up to £40,000 a year. By incorporating free cooling technology into the system, Aqua offers a failsafe capability to ensure its system can remain in operation even if the chiller develops a fault, allowing isolated maintenance to be carried out without requiring a complete system shut-down.