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Free-coolers provide major hospital savings

UK: The addition of remote free coolers to an existing chiller installation at one of eastern England’s major hospitals is said to have reduced emissions by over 95 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The installation of the six new free coolers to cool the MRI scanners was the first part of a complex heating and cooling system supplied by ICS Cool Energy for the hospital. Further work will include the installation of an industrial free heating system and multipipe chillers to replace the boiler-based heating system and further reduce the hospital’s carbon emissions. 

Adding remote free coolers is said to have shown better results when compared to installing new chillers with a built-in free cooling coil. ICS Cool Energy remote free coolers are designed to cool process water using the ambient air while working in series with the existing chillers. Their large surface area is said to provide a reliable way to offload chillers for up to 70-90% of the year.

“In the UK, the relatively cool climate and ambient temperatures allow for partial or full free cooling for much of the year, depending on the set point. This means that with the installation of the free coolers within the existing cooling system, the hospital can achieve substantial energy savings on their electricity, particularly between the months of October and April,” said ICS Cool Energy’s senior sales engineer Philip Ayres.

“We have estimated that thanks to the installation of the free coolers alone, the hospital will reduce their carbon emissions by over 95 tonnes of CO2 per year,” he added.

For the hospital, maintaining the right temperature, humidity, and air quality is essential to ensure comfortable and healthy conditions for patient’s care and staff’s comfort all day and night. 

Delivery of the multipipe units

Sanitary hot water is just as vital for cleaning and hygiene in a hospital environment. As the heating system at the hospital was based on ageing gas boilers, the management decided to look at options to make them redundant and replace them with a more environmentally friendly and energy efficient solution.

“Over the last few years, innovations in cooling and heating systems have led to innovative designs that can offer significant environmental and energy benefits, compared to the systems that they are designed to replace,” said Philip Ayres. 

“There is energy that is lost in most buildings because of heat produced by chillers used for cooling. Our i-FH industrial free heating systems can recover, harness, and use this heat elsewhere. As low carbon emissions, energy efficiency and reliability of the system were the parameters that mattered most for the hospital, this was the solution that fit their needs perfectly.”

As a result, the hospital decided to replace their existing gas boiler plant and electrify their heating system by adding a cascade system featuring i-FH free heating and a multipipe unit from ICS Cool Energy to their existing installation.

The multipipe units will recover energy by shifting use from a separate boiler and chiller to one single, simplified multipipe unit that simultaneously delivers hot and chilled water. This system uses renewable and recovered energy for the production of hot water and can replace the existing fossil-fuel boiler and chiller system to deliver both cooling and heating for the building with no direct greenhouse gas emissions.

In case additional cooling or heating capacity would be needed, or to maintain the process in case of any failure with the other part of the system, the hospital decided to modify the existing chiller set up keep and boilers as backup.

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