Energy and cost-efficient solution for world-class energy research centre

Future Proof Pump Set

Leading innovator of ambient cooling technology, Transtherm Cooling Industries, has recently helped to specify and supply a cooling system for a world-class energy research centre. With the new development, set to host state-of-the-art research into sustainable technologies, Transtherm needed to work closely with contractors Geoffrey Robinson and MEP Studio to deliver a solution that met exacting energy efficiency specifications.

Sustainability credentials

Based at a Yorkshire University, the research centre is poised to work with industrial and academic partners to carry out R&D of low-carbon solutions to solve the biggest energy challenges, including creating sustainable fuels and further research into carbon capture, usage and storage. The 20,000 ft² building has set the bar for environmental and sustainability credentials, having achieved a BREEAM rating of excellent. By specifying a bespoke packaged pump set and adiabatic water cooling solution, the specifying team has delivered considerable savings in electricity and water consumption, in keeping with the sustainability ethos of the overall project.

System specifications and futureproofing

The system itself comprises a variable speed-controlled pump set which is configured to interface with the site’s building management systems (BMS), allowing users to control the pumps and monitor the flow rate without the need for an additional control panel. The pump set is connected to bypasses which allow the system to dissipate 800kW of heat from the current plant installation. This also provides connections that enable easy upgrades to the system in the future to recover waste heat where possible.

“Adiabatic cooling is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to cooling towers – making it ideal for this particular project. The units use fans to reject heat for a high percentage of the year, backed up by an adiabatic spray system that uses humidity to aid cooling during periods of high ambient temperatures. On this particular installation we were able to take this one step further, futureproofing the system by adding in a bypass pipe which will allow them to incorporate a heat recovery system in due course.”

Justin Stinson, Applications Engineer at Transtherm

The added functionality and potential development of additional plant rooms in the future meant that the system also needed to be able to handle large variations in temperature, flow rate and pressure. To address this, the system design incorporated two large expansion vessels, allowing for safe fluctuations in fluid expansion depending on which parts of the system are actively rejecting or recovering heat.

“In the initial phase of design we planned to use two pump sets and a plate heat exchanger to cool temperatures from 70°C to 30°C with a heat load of 800kW. This involved a change in flow rate from around 5 l/s to 19 l/s which made maintaining turbulent flow for efficient heat exchange untenable.”

“Working with Transtherm and the team of engineers from Geoffrey Robinson, we were able to clarify a number of sensible operating conditions in accordance to ARUP’s requirements.”

“In a project like this one, the keys to success are undoubtedly collaboration and communication up and down the supply chain, ensuring that any changes to the specification are quickly and efficiently implemented.”

Jon Ross, Senior Mechanical Engineer for MEP Studio

Health, safety and sustainability

To overcome concerns over Legionella, the system conforms to HSE and ASHRAE guidelines relating to the control of Legionella Bacteria in water systems, with UV sterilisation included as standard. The design means that the system does not recirculate water, negating the need for costly ongoing chemical treatment or registration with local authorities – further adding to its environmental credentials.

“By working with Transtherm, we have been able to dramatically reduce both the initial capital expenditure and future operating expenditure. The solution is also far more energy-efficient than alternative systems too, delivering considerable savings in electricity and huge reductions in water consumption over comparable adiabatic air-cooling systems. With sustainability key to the successful delivery of the project, the Transtherm system ticks all of the boxes.”

Stephen Paylor, Senior Project Engineer at Geoffrey Robinson