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132 Güntner dry coolers for Red Sea project

SAUDI ARABIA: German manufacturer Güntner has supplied 132 dry coolers, each with 18 fans, to a 32,500TR district cooling project in Saudi Arabia.

The Red Sea Development is a luxury tourism project underway on a group of islands along Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. When completed it will comprise approximately 50 hotels with 8,000 rooms and over 1,000 residential properties. A new airport is also being built, together with a marina and recreational facilities.

Key measures include sourcing all electricity from renewable sources, such as solar and wind, and minimising water usage. District cooling was considered the most sustainable technology for cooling energy production.

Araner Group, which has its headquarters in Dubai and an engineering centre in Madrid, was the technology provider tasked with solving the water-free cooling challenge in an area where temperatures exceed 45ºC during the summer.

Offering design, manufacturing, engineering, procurement and construction services, the Araner Group’s capabilities cover several disciplines, mostly linked to energy systems of cooling and heating plants.

The Red Sea Development district cooling system uses magnetic bearing compressors, manufactured and tested in Korea, with direct condensation technology contributing to a 12% energy saving compared to traditional systems with an intermediate water cycle.

The solution includes a massive thermal energy storage system designed to maximise the use of solar energy. During the day, chillers run on solar power, producing more refrigeration energy than required. Excess energy is stored in a thermal energy storage tank and utilised during the night, reducing energy consumption by 15%. 

Araner collaborated with international consultants, including ILF and Afry Energy, to optimise the district cooling system. Detailed 3D modelling using BIM technology and CFD analysis ensured the correct performance of Güntner’s V-shape Vario dry coolers. 

The Red Sea Global district cooling plant stands out as the most efficient in the GCC area with zero water consumption. Notable achievements include a total chiller capacity of 32,500TR, 30% electrical savings compared to other dry-cooled plants, and water savings of 1.4 million litres annually. The plant operates with a noise level of 50dB.

“This is the biggest district cooling project that we have done using dry cooling,” said Araner MD Carlos de Ceballos. “And we have achieved the best efficiency in a plant of this kind up to this point.”

Güntner’s ability to supply such a large number of units over a short time scale with rigid deadlines was said to be key to the project’s success. “Obviously the most important reason for using Güntner units was their quality and reliability,” de Ceballos added. “But we also needed a supplier with the large-scale capacity to deliver for such a huge project.”

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