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PAL Technology… on the final stretch at Reem

key perspectives on the region’s hvacr industry

Eagle wins F&S accolade

January 2010

Plus Marketplace, comings and goings

A fillip for Empower? What does the opening of Elips mean to the utility provider? Spotlight on Jean François Chartrain, Marafeq Qatar Face 2 face with Erick Melquiond, Eurovent Feature How is the AHU market faring in the GCC? Country in focus: Saudi Arabia PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ


stainless steel unit? Energy recovery systems? Faster delivery? Cost effective? Space constraint? TB2 certified casing? Clean room application? Low noise unit? After sales service? Trouble shooting?Certified performance? Marine specification? Energy efficient? Maintenance contract? Colours of choice? Longer warranty? Low carbon foot print units? Odour removal? FAHU height an issue? Local manufacturer? 100% compliant? Hygiene application? Certified components? Anticorrosive coating? Complete

ONE ANSWER ! Fresh Air Handling Units

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this month

Vol. 5 No. 01 | january 2010

06 editorial

A consortium of sorts

happenings 08 The region 12 Comings and goings 14 At large 20 MARKETPLACE 22 product feature

Blowing hot, blowing cold

How is the AHU market faring in the GCC?

perspectives 24 ‘No one wants to be E’

What is Eurovent doing to address energy efficiency and the vexing issue of counterfeiting?

44 Plug that leak!

The indiscriminate venting of refrigerants is as serious an issue as any.

52 DC versus DS

The Digital Scroll-based VRF system demonstrates significantly superior performance during high ambient operations, compared to the DC inverter system.

58 Grooved for sustainability

Mechanical grooved piping systems provide an economical, safe and energy-efficient alternative.

26 country report Heating up


Saudi Arabia in 2010 has allocated more than $146 billion for education and human development. This should bode well for the HVACR industry in the region.

A fillip for Empower? What does the opening of Elips mean to the utility provider?

50 case-in point

Looking to the sun

When a new cold-storage facility opened in San Diego County, California, the team behind it made sure it wasn’t going to be just another energydraining industrial building.

62 end point

French Connection

Jean François Chartrain, the COO of Marafeq Qatar, brings to the region a wealth of experience in district cooling, having worked on the challenging assignment of laying an extensive chilled water network in the heart of Paris.



wINTER 2010

IntervIews wIth… Ahmad Al Shafar, Empower Rob Thornton, IDEA

CHILL SUPPLEMENT interviews 36 Ahmad Al Shafar, Empower

MeasurIng and bIllIng Is outsourcing a worthy option?

37 Rob Thornton, IDEA





40 Perspective Measuring and billing

Is outsourcing a worthy option?


January 2010



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Publisher Dominic De Sousa Managing Director & Associate Publisher Frédéric Paillé |

A consortium of sorts


n November 2007, we carried an article that espoused the merits of a consortium of utilities, contractors and suppliers of pipes. The consortium, the article said, would benefit all the parties. The utility provider, for instance, will know what he needs and, accordingly, will be in a position to place orders within the consortium. The recent soft opening of ELIPS, the Empower-Logstor joint initiative (see story inside), reminded us of the idea of a consortium. Speaking on the occasion of the opening, Al Shafar, the CEO of Empower and also the Chairman of ELIPS, touched upon precisely the same reasons while talking of the partnership between the Dubai-based utility and the Scandinavian pipe manufacturer. He spoke of how ELIPS would secure the supply of pre-insulated piping systems for Empower, which he said, would mean a timely delivery and installation of pipe networks, which, in turn, would have a significant impact on the utility provider’s project timelines. Though the district cooling market is depressed, Al Shafar expressed confidence it would bounce back. At that time, he added, the true value of a secure supply chain would become obvious. In addition to ensuring an uninterrupted work schedule, the partnership with Logstor, Al Shafar said, would mean a reduction in costs of piping for Empower. The utility company, he added, would save between 15 and 20% on the cost of the pipes. The soft opening was an opportunity to touch base with the top management of Empower, which said that the mood was upbeat at the utility company. Ramesh Ramadurai, its Director of Finance & IT, said the company was stable amidst the downturn, because it had worked hard to establish its asset value and also a diversified customer base, which included JBR, DIFC and Dubai Healthcare City. In addition, the company had chosen to adopt a modular approach to ramping up the capacity of its plants, which had held it in good stead. It is open to discussion, though, how the company will rise to the challenges of 2010. While utility companies, in general, can evolve a successful business model that rests on the pedestals of an established asset base, modularity and a diversified customer profile, in the present scenario, there is no saying how long the client will take to complete a project. And till that happens, the utility company could be confronted with millions of dirhams worth of piping buried in the sand and lying idle. This is an issue that needs urgent attention. The downturn has provided an opportunity to put systems and processes in place, which will come in handy during an upturn. The region clearly needs a better approach to infrastructure planning and execution.

Editorial Director & Associate Publisher B Surendar | Associate Editor Jose Franco | Contributing Editors Anoop K Menon | Pratibha Umashankar Business Development Manager Vedran Dedic Design Rey Delante | Head of Digital Services Nadeem Hood | Webmaster Troy Maagma | Database/ Subscriptions Manager Purwanti Srirejeki ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Frédéric Paillé: +971 50 7147204 Vedran Dedic: +971 50 5574019 USA and Canada Kanika Saxena Director (North America) 25 Kingsbridge Garden Cir Suite 919 Mississauga, ON, Canada L5R 4B1 Tel/fax: +1 905 890 5031 China Sean Xiao Hui China Business Media Group Room 403, Block 17, Wuyimingzhu, No 6 Jinshan Road, Fuzhou, Fujian, 350008, China Tel: +86 591 8386 3000 Published by

Head Office PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 375 68 30 Fax: +971 4 43 419 06 Web: Printed by: Excel Printing Press, Sharjah, UAE © Copyright 2010 CPI. All rights reserved.

B Surendar

While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein. PAL Technology… on

key perspectives

Get the next issue of Climate Control Middle East early!

Did you know that Climate Control Middle East is also available electronically? Get a digitised copy of the magazine every month, before the issue goes for print! As a bonus, the digital version includes such features as a keyword search, annotation, highlight, notemaking and hot links. For more details, please access (Zinio is a digital publishing firm based in the USA.)

the final stretch at Reem

on the region’s

hvacr industry

Eagle wins F&S accolad e

January 2010

plus marke , comings and tplace goings

A fillip for Empower?

What does the opening of elips mea n to the utility provide r? spotlight on Jean françois chart marafeq qatar rain, face 2 face With erick melquiond, eurov ent feature hoW is the ahu market faring in the gcc? country in focus: saudi arabia





January 2010


the region

EECO wins accolades Eagle Electromechanical wins Frost & Sullivan Award for water and wastewater treatment


rost & Sullivan on December 23 presented the ‘Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award for Middle East Water and Wastewater Treatment Market’ to Sharjah-based Eagle Electromechanical Company. The award was in recognition of the growth achieved by the company within a short span of time. EECO, a turnkey solution provider, is an environmental engineering player, specialising in custom design, supply, construction, operation, and maintenance of water and wastewater

utilities and associated ancillaries. The Frost & Sullivan Award for Entrepreneurial Company of the Year is given to an emerging company with a vision that has enabled it to grow despite obstacles facing small companies. The recipient of the award is chosen after assessing the nominees on the basis of predetermined criteria through research. Mohammad Hijaz, General Manager/Partner of EECO, said: “Eagle has grown rapidly over the past few years to reach a business capacity of

Euro100,000 turnover per year to be one of the main players in the Middle East for the wastewater sector. Eagle has been awarded more than 16 plants for the new technology of MBR, and out of them, eight are already under operation by our staff. Eagle has succeeded in this great challenge of building a large capacity plant inside a closed building on such a small footprint. “As a company, we are committed to creating a green environment for present and future generations by designing and operating

wastewater treatment plants aimed at waste reduction and water reuse. Y S Shashidhar, Vice President and Country Director, South Asia-Middle East and North Africa, Frost & Sullivan, while felicitating EECO for its entrepreneurial spirit, said: “Eagle has demonstrated remarkable excellence in devising and implementing aggressive growth strategies. This is reflected in the company’s success in bagging several prestigious projects beating down stiff competition from local and international firms.”

PAL Technology begins final leg of Reem Island project 70% of the piping network for supply of chilled water is already complete


AL Technology, a subsidiary of PAL Group of companies, involved in the construction of district cooling plants, desalination plants, water transmission lines and water storage reservoirs, announced last month the commencement of the final stages of piping network at Sector 2 and 3 for the District Cooling Plant I at Tamouh development Reem Island Project. The master project is a 90,000 TR plant, and the Tamouh Sector 2 and 3 comprise 30% of the total capacity. The remaining 70% of the piping network is for the supply of chilled water to a total cooling demand of 118,000 TR, and is already completed.



 Commenting on the project, Sheraz Siddiqui, Projects Director, PAL Technology, said: “Owing to its size and capacity, the project is a milestone in not just our portfolio, but also the UAE district cooling industry in general. Upon completion, the plant will supply chilled water to cool over three million square metres of covered area. We are proud to have been chosen to deliver this project and pleased to have done so in the record time of 18 months.” Reem Island is a mix-use project on a natural island off the coast of Abu Dhabi, and has been planned to have 22,000 residential units upon completion.

January 2010

Mr. Jea-Byeong.Gu (President of KIMCO) & Mr. Ahmed Henedi (Managing Director of DCC)

District Cooling Company (DCC), one of the leading companies involved in Air Conditioning in the Middle East and distributors of LS Centrifugal & Screw Chillers are proud to announce their association with KIMCO, Korea as their exclusive distributor for sales and after sales service of KIMCO Cooling Towers in the UAE. This partnership with KIMCO adds to the growing strengths of District Cooling Company by increasing the product offerings to include the following.: Centrifugal & Screw Chillers (LS) Cooling Towers (KIMCO) Air Handling Units (SAIVER & HSK) Fan Coil Units (LG) Water Pumps (SPP) for District Cooling application Within a short period of time, DCC has been involved in many prestigious projects which have been delivered to the customer’s satisfaction. DCC has the extensive network of Sales & Service personnel with the required technical experience and expertise to assist in design, installation, commissioning, operations, maintenance and after sales services of the HVAC equipment.

SALES – DUBAI Tel: +971 4 3397801 Fax: +971 4 3397006

SALES - ABU DHABI Tel: +971 2 4483335 Fax: +971 2 4481287

SERVICE Tel:+971 4 3416220 Fax: +971 4 3416223

Headquarters: Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road New Oasis Center 3rd Floor, Office No.7


the region

DSI joins forces with Assyce

Company aligns with Spanish renewable energy company to develop alternative energy products for the MEA telecom sector.


rake & Scull International (DSI), in December, formed a strategic alliance with Assyce Group, the Spain-based company providing specialist solutions in the field of renewable and sustainable energy, to develop alternative energy products for the telecom sector in the Middle East and Africa. The alliance is based on the recent activities of the two companies in the development of a grid-free telecom solution, and will focus on expanding the portfolio of products through custom-made, value-engineered solutions. DSI is focusing on an initial prototype for the telecom sector, slated to be ready in the first quarter of this year. DSI Infrastructure Water & Power Executive Director Tawfiq Abu Soud said that the company’s continued diversification into new areas is an important part of their business, as it aligns with their strategy. “With green energy becoming an important part of the future for our communities, this is an area of focus, as we continue to expand our operations,” he said. “The alliance provides DSI with access to the wide range of products and technical services which

Assyce provide, including industrial and domestic solar applications, water and waste management.” Assyce Group CEO, Cesar Finana, said that as governments, industries and individuals have started to realise the true value of green energy, its speedy development and implementation within markets has taken on a larger role in every-day applications. “Combining our companies’ diversified knowhow, geographical presence, capabilities and vast experience in Green Energy, MEP and Telecom enables us to effectively serve our markets and the ongoing drive to establish sustainable resources and infrastructure,” he noted. Meanwhile, the Board of Directors of DSI, on December 24, approved the acquisition of Drake & Scull International for Electrical Contracting, a player in Mechanical Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) contracting in Kuwait, owned by Drake & Scull Group and Kuwait Holding Company. With this acquisition, DSI will own 75% of Drake & Scull International for Electrical Contracting. The move is in step with DSI’s declaration since its IPO that the

company would actively pursue acquisition negotiations in Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. DSI had earlier acquired 82% of Passavant-Roediger – a global specialist in wastewater and sludge treatment with operations across 13 countries. The second acquisition since listing on the Dubai Financial Market in March this year, follows technical, financial and legal due diligence process that was carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Shuaa Capital and Al Tamimi & Company, said DSI. Saying that the acquisition is seen as a logical and integral step in the company’s development and execution of its long-term strategy to expand geographically into the Middle East and North Africa region, Majid Al Ghurair, Chairman of DSI, added, “We see great potential in the Kuwait market, which hasn’t been critically affected by the global financial crisis.” Khaldoun Tabari, DSI Vice Chairman and CEO, said, “Our interest lies in acquiring companies that already have prominence in their own markets and an in-depth understanding of how their markets operate.”

South Korea and Masdar sign MoU The move aims at collaboration on renewable energy research and development and joint projects


asdar, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Mubadala Development Company, and the Ministry of Knowledge Economy of the Republic of Korea have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to enhance collaboration between Korea and the UAE in the areas of renewable energy and sustainable technologies. The accord was signed on December 28, during an official visit to the UAE by His Excellency Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea that included a briefing about Masdar’s achievements in the field of renewable energy and a tour of the Masdar City construction site. The MoU paves the way for Masdar to work closely with Korean firms and institutions in the development and advancement of renewable energy and sustainable technology solutions. Potential avenues for collaboration include, joint research between the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Korean research and academic institutions, as well as the prospect for establishment of a Korean clean tech cluster within 10


January 2010

Masdar City. In addition, the agreement opens the door for potential joint investments in wind, solar and other renewable energy projects. “Korea has well-established R&D capabilities in renewable energy and leading companies in the field of green IT as well as strong government commitment to further develop these sectors,” said Masdar CEO Dr Sultan Al Jaber. “We look forward to tapping into these strengths and forming strategic partnerships with academic, research, business and investment institutions from South Korea and to seeing Korean entities become an integral part of the research and innovation that takes place in Masdar City. Commenting on the agreement, Choi Kyunghwan, Korea’s Minister of Knowledge Economy, said, “Masdar is a unique initiative that is playing a significant role in the promotion and commercialisation of renewable energy solutions, and I am very pleased that Korean companies will have the opportunity to contribute to Masdar’s innovation base and become active players in Masdar City.”

the region

From left to right: William K Slate II, President and CEO of the American Arbitration Association; HE Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa, Bahrain Minister of Justice; Sheikha Haya bint Rashid Al Khalifa, Chair BCDR-AAA; James McPherson, Chief Executive of the BCDR at the launch of the Bahrain Chamber of Dispute Resolution in Manama, Bahrain on January 11.

Bahrain launches alternative dispute resolution chamber Body is touted to be the world’s first arbitration ‘free zone’


he Kingdom of Bahrain on January 11 launched the Bahrain Chamber of Dispute Resolution and, in the process, became the

first country in the world to establish an arbitration ‘free zone’ and introduce the concept of statutory arbitration.

HE Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa, Bahrain Minister of Justice at the launch of BCDR.

The Chamber, launched in partnership with the American Arbitration Association, the world’s leading provider of conflict management and dispute resolution services, is an initiative of Bahrain’s Ministry of Justice and will be known formally as the BCDR-AAA. Established through a unique ADR legislation, the BCDRAAA is claimed to provide the region with an international ADR centre of excellence with an added advantage of operating arbitrations. As a result, it is slated to be a centre where international disputes are heard at the BCDR and the parties involved agree to be bound by the outcome. The award will be guaranteed and not subject to challenge in Bahrain. This resolves an issue that has been a significant problem in many parts of the world, despite existing international conventions. Bahrain’s arbitration ‘free zone’ will, therefore, offer jurisdictional and legal January 2010

certainty to the recognition of arbitration awards – an essential component of modern-day commercial transactions. In what again is claimed to be another global first, Bahrain has also introduced the concept of statutory arbitration for commercial and financial disputes. Cases that would previously have come before Bahrain’s domestic courts, where the claim is over BHD500,000 ($1.3m) and involves an international party or a party licensed by the Central Bank of Bahrain, will now be directed to the BCDR-AAA for final and binding resolution. The move is aimed at providing additional benefit to Bahrain’s commercial, banking and financial services sectors, which form a long-established hub within the region. Speaking about it, Bahrain Minister of Justice, HE Sheikh Khaled bin Ali Al Khalifa said, “In establishing the BCDRAAA, Bahrain has sought to bring the very latest in global ADR solutions to the region. BCDR has partnered with the world’s leading provider – the AAA – to ensure the highest standards of international best practice are consistently delivered, and have also enacted cutting-edge legislation that guarantees the independence of the Chamber itself and, vitally, the interests of its users.” He added that the Chamber was also a key aspect of Bahrain’s Vision 2030 and National Economic Strategy. AAA President & CEO William K Slate II added commented: “The American Arbitration Association is honoured and pleased to partner with the MoJ to form the BCDR. As alternative dispute resolution grows internationally, public and private sector legal officials are experiencing its efficiencies and fairness.”




the region

DSI bags two contracts worth Dh182 million Establishes water and power subsidiary


rake & Scull International (DSI), through its Abu Dhabi Subsidiary, has been awarded its first contract of 2010, a Dh64 million Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing (MEP) contract for Centro Hotel, Capital Center, a hotel by Rotana – the hotel management company based in the Middle East and North Africa – located in the ADNEC complex in Abu Dhabi. Announcing the news on January 13, it added that being awarded this contract follows two previous projects for which DSI Abu Dhabi LLC provided MEP services for the Rotana Park Complex, that includes Park Rotana and

Park Arjaan by Rotana and Yas Island Rotana Resort and Centro, both of which were completed last year. “2009 was a challenging year economically for most industries, so we are extremely pleased that our hard work and efforts have brought us the good fortune of acquiring the trust of our clients to work with us repeatedly,” said DSI Vice Chairman and CEO Khaldoun Tabari. The construction of the 27-storey hotel and office building – a project developed by Crystal Hospitality Investments – has already started, and is projected to be completed within a 22-month period.

Ramesh Ramachandran

President and CEO for MEGlobal


amesh Ramachandran, president and CEO, Dow Chemical International Private Limited (Dow India), was recently named to assume the simultaneous roles of President and CEO for MEGlobal and Equipolymers, The Dow Chemical Company’s (Dow) joint venture with Petrochemical Industries Company (PIC) of Kuwait. Ramachandran relocated from Mumbai, India, to the MEGlobal headquarters in Dubai and took over his new responsibilities from January 1. He reports to the MEGlobal Board and Equipolymers Boards of Directors. Ramachandran replaced Henry Roth, the current President and CEO of MEGlobal and Equipolymers, who has been named President for Dow Chemical, Middle East. A chemical engineer by training,



January 2010

Also, in line with the company’s vertical and horizontal expansion plans, DSI has established a new subsidiary for fulfilling its commitments of its current and future water and power projects, under the name Drake & Scull Water & Power (DSWP). “Infrastructure is undoubtedly one of the basic key elements needed within any community,” said DSWP Executive Director, Tawfiq Abu Soud. “There is a guaranteed and nondiminishing demand for water and power that has encouraged us to direct our resources into forming a company solely dedicated to

Ramachandran earned his Doctorate in Surface and Colloid Chemistry from Columbia University, New York, and has several publications and patents to his credit. He has spent his entire career in the chemical industry, initially as an analytical chemist, before moving into the commercial side of the business, holding the roles of product and marketing manager for a wide variety of business units. Ramachandran joined Dow in 2001, as Business Director in the Performance Chemicals Division for the acrolein derivatives, divynyl benzene, ENB and speciality ketones businesses. He moved to Houston in 2003 to take over responsibility as business director for Dow’s hydrocarbons division in the United States. Ramachandran relocated to Calgary in Alberta, Canada, in 2004 assuming the role of president of Dow Chemical Canada and continuing his role as business director of Dow Hydrocarbons. As president, he was also a member of the board of directors of Petromont, a joint

meeting these needs.” According to DSI, DSWP’s headquarters will be in the UAE, and its operations – specialising in Design and Build, Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contracts in Water and power, plus telecommunications infrastructure – will extend throughout the MENA region. Simultaneously, with its establishment, DSWP was awarded its first project for 2010 – a contract worth Dh118 million, in the Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi. According DSWP, the contract to develop a 20,000tonne chiller plant and two thermal storage tanks with a capacity of 12,500 TRH each, was awarded to DSWP based on its track record in design, engineering and execution of district cooling plants in Dubai and around the region, including Sudan and Saudi Arabia.

Ramesh Ramachandran venture between Dow Chemical Canada and the Quebec Investment Group. During his tenure in Canada, Ramachandran was presented with the Alberta Centenary Citizen award in 2005 for contributions to the petrochemical industry in Alberta. Ramachandran returned to the US in 2006 to Dow’s headquarters in Midland, Michigan, to take the role of Senior Director of global strategic planning and business analysis. He was appointed to his role in India in October 2007.

Modules make sense The commissioning module concept – developed in London for great buildings like the Stock Exchange and the iconic “Gherkin” – offers a host of advantages:

60% Saving*

save time

47% Saving*

Modules can be used with flexible pipework to create smaller, easier to control, selfcontained sub systems. Flushing forward and back is made easier – no need for looping out. Modules can be fitted with integral DPCV’s to make the best of variable speed pumps with good valve authority. They can be fitted with energy meters to monitor consumption in individual apartments. Modules meet the need for faster, more accurate commissioning.

save money

Modules can be constructed offsite by skilled personnel, well away from the dirt and dust then delivered fully tested and ready to install and commission in the minimum time.

can save 75% of pump energy

save energy * Building Services Research and Information Association (BSRIA)

For further information contact:

SAV Systems, Office Building 3, Green Community Dubai Investment Park, PO Box 212880, Dubai,UAE Tel: 00971 (0) 4 801 9250, Fax: 00971 (0) 4 801 9101, Mob: 00971 (0) 50 85 77232 Email: Web: "A member of the Links Group"


at large

Eurammon extends a helping hand

The initiative supports users and planners in phasing out HCFCs


n view of the pending phase-out of HCFCs, users and planners of refrigeration systems can contact the e-mail address HCFC-phaseout@eurammon. com to seek answers to their questions regarding the planning, approval and operation of systems that operate with natural refrigerants, announced Eurammon, the European initiative for natural refrigerants. “System operators should use the opportunity posed by the 2010 phase-out of


HCFCs to change over to natural refrigerants such as ammonia, carbon dioxide or hydrocarbons,” said Monika Witt, Chairwoman of Eurammon. According to Euammon, even though systems with natural refrigerants may entail higher initial investment, when viewed over the entire lifecycle, the costs are lower than in systems that use synthetic refrigerants. Thanks to their higher energy efficiency – ammonia is deemed to be the most efficient


January 2010

refrigerant of all – these refrigeration solutions need less power and will have paid for themselves within just a few years. This effect is all the more significant, given the increasing service lives of modern systems. Moreover, investment in natural refrigerants is future-proof, as in contrast to HFCs, they are not at risk from future regimentation or even prohibition. And when it comes to climate protection, natural refrigerants are simply incontestable. They make no or only negligible contributions to global warming and help to protect the ozone layer, added Eurammon. It pointed out that alternatives with natural refrigerants are available for a large number of applications. Carbon dioxide is frequently a good choice at very low temperatures, while ammonia is particularly suitable for industrial purposes above -35°C. Propane is the refrigerant of choice in the chemicals industry and increasingly in supermarkets, and is ideal for use upwards of -40°C. Furthermore, various mixtures can also be used, such as the azeotrope R723 which consists of ammonia and dimethyl ether. This permits the use of air-cooled condensers, for example, even at higher ambient temperatures. Highlighting the fact that in the next few years, the refrigeration industry will come under increasing

pressure from the political sector and from the general public to develop refrigerants with the lowest possible global warming potential that can be used safely, Eurammon said that HFCs will then be permitted only in small quantities, and with clearly defined leakage rates. According to Eurammon, though hybrid solutions are being developed by the industry with a combination of HFCs and natural refrigerants that can be used, for example, in the normal temperature range, however, to achieve an effective widespread changeover from synthetic to natural refrigerants, it is important for planners and specialist refrigeration/ air conditioning companies to be informed accordingly, and for the service technicians involved to receive thorough initial and further training. All market participants are expected to take the initiative so that solutions with natural refrigerants are put to greater use in the interest of the environment and the economy. Eurammon believes that this is where it has a role to play, since it is a joint European initiative of companies, institutions and individuals who advocate an increased use of natural refrigerants. As a knowledge pool for the use of natural refrigerants in refrigeration engineering, the initiative sees as its mandate the creation of a platform for information sharing and the promotion of public awareness and acceptance of natural refrigerants. The objective is to promote the use of natural refrigerants in the interest of a healthy environment, thereby encouraging a sustainable approach in refrigeration engineering.


at large

CMX-CIPHEX announces 19th biennial show

Learning Forum to highlight sustainability new technologies and best practices


MX-CIPHEX announced that their 19th biennial show will be held from March 25-27 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Regarded as one of the largest of its kind in North America for the mechanical industry, it will be of interest to contractors, specifiers, architects, building managers and consulting engineers. Visitors will get an opportunity to interact with over 500 exhibiting companies presenting their latest products, services, applications and innovations. The event will also feature a ‘Learning Forum’ with more than 25 seminars on leadingedge technologies in the industry. According to CMXCIPHEX, several presentations have been developed specifically for contractors. The opening day will begin with an address by ASHRAE President, Gordon Holness, titled ‘Sustaining

Our Future by Rebuilding Our Past’. The presentation will take an in-depth look at the importance of addressing existing buildings in order to achieve ASHRAE’s sustainability goals, the role of ASHRAE’s Advanced Energy Design Guides, Standards 90.1 and Standard 189.1 and the potential for Standard 100 to be redeveloped to address current technology for building renovation. Commissioning and retrocommissioning, and operation and maintenance as key tools in keeping green buildings green will also form part of the topics for discussion. Hydronics expert, Robert Bean is slated to speak on two topics: ‘Residential Construction – The Five Key Elements of Air Quality’ and ‘Inspecting Hydronic Heating Systems’. Martin Thomas of Canmet Energy, in his presentation, ‘True or False? Efficiency

Claims for Commercial Equipment’, will highlight the latest technologies behind efficiency and performance of rooftop units, boilers, commercial water heaters, unit heaters and infra-red heaters. Evgueniy Entchev’s presentation, ‘Residential Heating: Designing A System Using Renewable Resources’, which will touch upon systems using solar, alcohol and a range of bio-fuels, would be of special interest to architects interested in emerging trends and technologies. Entchev will also speak on residential greywater reuse. Bob Bach’s talk, ‘The Push Toward Green: Keeping the Customer Happy’, will highlight the latest developments in the industry and will also share tips on trends in client expectations, developments in the marketplace and upcoming targets in energy

efficiency. Industry favourite, Gord Cooke is slated to give two new presentations – ‘High Performance HVAC for High Performance Buildings’ and ‘Indoor Air Quality: Challenges and Opportunities’. At a seminar directed at business owners who are contemplating a change of pace, financial expert, Mark Groulx, will present, Selling Your Contracting Business: From Establishing Value to Negotiating the Sale. Details and online registration forms are available at www.

Chillventa reports good response 70% of space already booked 10 months before the event, says the organiser


early 370 exhibiting companies from all over the world have booked their stands for participating in Chillventa, scheduled to take place at the Exhibition Centre, Nuremberg, from 13-15 October, the organisers announced. According to them, about 70 % of the space occupied at Chillventa 2008 have already being booked for this year’s event. They expect key players from the exhibition’s core segments to participate. “I am delighted with the fantastic response, which confirms Chillventa’s



unique importance for the international industry,” said Gabriele Hannwacker, Exhibition Director of Chillventa at NürnbergMesse. “It has become a permanent feature in the exhibition calendar after only one event, and is established as the world’s leading exhibition for refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation and heat pump technologies and applications.” In addition, the virtual exhibition – ask-Chillventa – features around 2,900 products from the refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation and

January 2010

heat pumps industry, with over 800 exhibitors on the network all year round. The industry platform offers visitors and other interested parties extensive search functions, product comparisons and detailed information about the companies exhibiting at Chillventa. This facilitates contacting exhibitors directly. Visitors to the site can keep up to date by using the personalised information service. All the functions provided by askChillventa are available at the virtual Chillventa:

A sporting gesture AHR Expo Innovation Awards competition provides funding for HVAC system at Jacksonville Police Athletic League


early $11,000 in entry fees from its the 2010 AHR Expo Innovation Awards Competition will be given to the Jacksonville Police Athletic League (JAXPAL) to help install a new HVAC control system valued at $84,000, announced AHR Expo. The commissioning will be in January 2010 at the Jacksonville Monument Road facility. The donation is part of charitable support contributed annually by the Expo to local communities in areas where the HVAC/R trade show is held. Total contributions made during the eight years the programme has been in existence amount to over $60,000, said the organisers. In the past, the Innovation

Awards entry fees were given to technical schools for use in their HVAC/R scholarship funds. “This project was born out of the desire wanting to provide local kids a facility where they could enjoy activities after school in a safe and healthy environment,” said President of Weather Engineers in Jacksonville, Dan Griffin, who spearheaded the JAXPAL project, a non-profit youth serving organisation with the cooperative effort of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s office. Renee Naughton, Deputy Executive Director, Police Athletic League, speaking on the importance this new HVAC system said: “This past year, we served

over 2,800 kids through our sports programmes, summer camp, and nationally accredited afterschool educational programme. The children we serve have been impacted by our HVAC problems, such as the 580 kids playing basketball in a gymnasium without air conditioning. If we are to reduce juvenile crime and instil positive values, character and leadership skills, by providing homework assistance, mentoring by law enforcement officers and recreational activities to our youth participants, it’s critical that the facilities where we provide our programmes are

comfortable and safe for the children we serve. It’s nice to know we have a pal in AHR Expo and FRACCA.” “We are very happy to assist the Jacksonville Police Athletic League with its new HVAC system,” said Clay Stevens, President of International Exposition Company, which produces and manages the AHR Expo. Now in its eighth year, the AHR Expo Innovation Awards Competition represents the best submissions from the thousands of products on display at the 2010 AHR Expo. It is jointly sponsored by ASHRAE, AHRI and International Exposition Company (IEC), producers and organisers of the AHR Expo.

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Victaulic extends line of AGS

Claims direct groove two-piece coupling makes it easier to install, maintain and retrofit large-diameter piping systems


ictaulic, manufacturer of mechanical pipe-joining systems, announced the extension of its line of patented Advanced Groove System (AGS) for faster and easier installation of largediameter piping systems. The line extension means Victaulic now offers rigid and flexible couplings with the AGS technology for pipe sizes up to 60 inches (1,525mm) in diameter for HVAC, mining, water and wastewater and industrial applications. According to Victaulic, a typical large-diameter joint that requires several hours to weld can be installed in less than an hour using the AGS couplings. With a two-piece housing and a wedge-shaped groove that delivers pressure ratings up to 350 psi/2,400 kPa, depending on the pipe size and wall thickness, the couplings offer assembly speed and reliability, say Victaulic, adding that until now, joining methods for larger-size piping systems required multiple housings to achieve the same results. Victaulic is the only manufacturer to offer a two-piece housing for couplings in this size range, they claim. To further simplify installation, the new larger-size AGS coupling housings feature lifting lugs when lifting individual housings. AGS couplings also provide a union at every joint for easy access to the piping system for scheduled and unscheduled maintenance and system retrofits. Another added feature, according to Victaulic, is that the coupling provides visual confirmation of proper assembly – assembly is complete when housings are metal-to-metal and torque requirements have been met. Available in diameters of 14-60

inches/350-1,525 mm, Style W07 and W77 AGS couplings are equipped with plated bolts and nuts and a Victaulic FlushSeal gasket in Grade ‘E’ EPDM, Grade ‘T’ nitrile or Grade ‘L’ silicone gaskets. The couplings can be used in HVAC, mining, industrial water distribution systems, as well as water and wastewater lines. “When we designed AGS, our

customers set the criteria,” said Charles Wilk, Product Manager, Victaulic Couplings and Fittings.” They wanted a stronger, more reliable and easier-toinstall coupling, so we introduced AGS for 14-24-inch piping systems. Now, we have applied the same criteria to our 26-60- inch (650-1,525mm) couplings so that our customers with larger piping needs can experience the AGS advantage.”

Victaulic introduces TA balancing valves


ictaulic announced the availability of 14-inch and 16-inch Tour and Anderson Valves (TA) balancing valves in 14 and 16-inch (350



and 400mm) sizes for use in large-diameter applications with highflow requirements, such as connections to chillers, pumps, distribution and

January 2010

main header piping. The device, say Victaulic, provides precise Cv values and differential pressure measurement to make it easy to set. The valve can

be preset for a specific flow rate, with an estimated pressure drop that will provide a hydraulic system profile prior to actual system balancing.

florida manufacturer offers R-410A course Claim it is useful for service technicians in the wake of R-22 ban and a total phase-out by 2020


ainstream Engineering, the Florida-based, manufacturers of aftermarket service/ maintenance and education/certification products, announced that they now offer the HVAC/R industry’s only free R-410A online training and certification course – R-410A Certification Programme – in the wake of the EPA-mandated R-22 bans and phase-outs that begin this year. The training course is available at as a downloadable 23-page manual or packaged as manual and interactive software with practice tests, study modules, and a certification test – all free of charge. The course has been written by Mainstream Engineering President, Robert P Scaringe, a holder of more than 60 HVAC/ thermal control/energy conversion patents and a former Florida Institute of Technology, (Melbourne, Florida) engineering professor, former R&D engineer at General Electric’s Heat Pump group.

According to Mainstream Engineering, the training is important for service technicians, now that R-22 is banned from newly manufactured HVAC/R equipment this year, and amidst a total phase-out by 2020, which is expected to increase R-410A use. Ross Soyka, Director of Marketing and coordinator of Mainstream Engineering’s 12-year-old contractor training services programme said that the 17-chapter manual covers topics such as Evacuation Requirements, Safe Handling Procedures and Frequently Asked Questions. It also includes EPA-608, EPA-609, Indoor Air Quality, and Preventative Maintenance certifications, he said. Pointing out that the programme was being offered, because there’s a lot of misinformation in the industry, he clarified that EPA-608 certification, which includes an R-410A section, is still required, but a prevalent rumour in the industry that R-410A specific certification is required is

not true. “We offer this programme free, as a goodwill public service measure to help educate the industry on R-410A safety and practices,” he added. According to Mainstream Engineering, the training/certification course’s flexible online orientation and three-to-eighthour completion time can be finished by technicians as per their schedule. Once they complete the course, service technicians can market themselves as certified in R-410A environmentally friendly service practices. The R-410A Certification Programme is accepted by many manufacturers that require their dealers to become R-410A certified. Mainstream Engineering add that their website: also offers products associated with R-410A conversions such as Qwik System Flush, the industry’s only biodegradable, nontoxic flushing agent and Qwik-Shot, an acid and moisture eliminator specially designed for hygroscopic POE oils.

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AerFresco CP7


escribing it as a revolutionary new system in outdoor cooling and heating, SpaceBreeze (EU) Ltd headquartered in the UK, launched The AerFresco CP7 – a heavyweight parasol that can be used in patios, decks or dining area, at the Hotel Show in Dubai. With a height of 2.4 metres, the unit is constructed of powder-coated stainless steel and aluminium. By harnessing the latest AC and heating technology, the parasol, say the manufacturers, has over 7 kW of cooling power – roughly the same as a standard AC wall unit and can be switched on. They also claim that AerFresco CP7 can reduce the ambient air temperature by up to 15°C – the cooling air being distributed by means of eight adjustable ‘jet nozzles’. The unit comes with two fan speed settings – normal and boost. The unit also doubles as an outdoor heater during cold weather. An optional 4.4kW infra red heating system provides consistent warmth, without the fumes and high maintenance associated with traditional gas patio heaters, say SpaceBreeze. Richard Ellicott, Managing Director of SpaceBreeze, said that the CP7 will create a comfortable outdoor

environment, enabling hotels, clubs and restaurants to provide ‘al fresco’ dining and outdoor gatherings through many months of the year. In addition, it creates respite for smokers, who are now frequently prohibited from lighting up indoors, he added. In addition to the peripheral heating, the product comes with the following options: • A clip-on heavy duty sunshade extension, which extends the sun protection area to over four meters • A misting system to enhance the cooling effect with programmable ‘flash evaporation’ fine mist • Two-piece hardwood dining table or hi-bar table, which can seat up to eight people • LED lighting, which provides permanent or phased lighting in single or multi colours • A ‘privacy cloak or breeze cheater’ – a full length, flame-retardant lightweight screen which zips onto the periphery of the sunshade extension and creates a discreet dining and breeze-free environment

According to SpaceBreeze, the AerFresco CP7 is available for both commercial and residential use. Al Emadi Group has been appointed distributors for Qatar.

McDonnell & Miller, ITT

The Series 1575


aying that the Series 1575 provides continuous protection against low-water condition and satisfies pump control needs for commercial steam and hot water boilers, McDonnell & Miller, a brand of ITT, manufacturers of boiler controls, flow switches, liquid level controls, steam traps, regulators and valves, announced the launch of the new Low Water Cut-Off/ Pump Controller. According to McDonnell & Miller, the Series 1575 is used as a low-water cut-off, feed water control and alarm for boilers, vessels and tanks and includes a 1Hp pump relay, as well as adjustable burner and pump settings. Other diagnostic features incorporated in the control include: • High ambient temperature protection • Internal LEDs that indicate water position and condition • External LEDs that indicate control activity • Set points and differentials remain constant throughout pressure range • Probe operation diagnostics • Sensitivity monitor 20


January 2010

• Sequence monitor • Wetted probe monitor • Adjustable 60-second burner-off time delays • Adjustable pump differentials by cutting probe to desired set points • Redundant low-water and pump-off circuitry • 1Hp burner and pump relay • Control unit can be mounted in any convenient location • Test button standard • Probe chamber with three probes and gauge glass tappings • A fourth probe can be added for high water control The manufacturers cite the following benefits of the Combination Low Water Cut-Off/Pump Controllers for Steam Boilers: • Prevents rapid burner and pump cycling • Constant operation throughout pressure range • Electrical starters not required for motors up to 1Hp • Easy monitoring of operation • Easy troubleshooting

Bell & Gossett, ITT Corporation

Low Flow Circuit Sentry and Low Flow Wye-Strainer


he Two new Low Flow Automatic Balance Valves featuring field adjusted cartridge allows the user to select exact flows for specific applications, said Bell & Gossett, a brand of ITT Corporation, as they introduced The Low Flow Circuit Sentry and the Low Flow Wye-Strainer. The products are designed for automatic flow- limiting style balancing of both HVAC cooling and heating circuits. According to Bell & Gossett, the products are suited for small coils that keep constant fluid flow. The Circuit Setter valve automatically compensates for fluctuating pressure conditions and features an integrated P/T port with space-saving ‘T’ handle shut-off, an optional P/T port for flow verification, and a union-ended tailpiece for quick installation and maintenance.

Low Flow Circuit Sentry (ACL) valves have the following standard features: • Pressure independent flow limiter that is not affected by changes in the system pressure • Field adjustable flows between 0.25 GPM – 3.8 GPM – ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ • Flow accuracy of +/- 5% of flow setting • Removable flow cartridge for easy adjustment, commissioning and cleaning Low Flow Wye-Strainer (UBYL) valves feature: • Removable stainless steel mesh strainer for easy cleaning or replacement • Drain valve with hose fitting for blow down and drainage • Bypass option for three-way control valves


Slimline unit coolers GDF/GDM


he new Güntner slimline unit coolers are equipped with EC fans and are suitable for low-temperature applications, said Güntner, introducing their revised version late last year. According to Güntner, the evaporator series GDF has been completely revised and has been divided into the product families: GDF (HFC), GGDF (brine) and CXGDF (CO2, DX). The former series, GDFmini (especially flat construction), is now an independent unit series and is called GDM. The customers’ requirements have been determined through product monitoring and the insights thus gained have been incorporated as new features, added Güntner. The product family comes with the HACCP hygiene certificate from TÜV Süd (Technical Inspection Service). This, according to Güntner, makes all units of the series suitable for use in food processing industry and food storing facilities. Due to the use of EC fans, the product family has an extremely low-noise design, they claimed. A further reduction of the sound pressure level can be achieved by

using the function-speed changeover. Compared to conventional AC fans, the efficiency of EC fans is higher, said Güntner. In addition, the fans can also run at low speed. Consequently, in part-load operation, by changing the fan speed, the capacity can be adapted exactly to the requirements. These product features lead to a considerably lower (up to 50%) current consumption of the fans, they claimed. In addition, the flat construction and the large power spectrum of this unit series allows for optimal utilisation of the cold room in height. Güntner highlight the following features of the new series: • All slimline unit coolers can be installed quickly and easily. • After mounting, the units are fitted precisely to the ceiling without gaps between ceiling and unit casing. The casing construction can be opened easily and the side plate can be demounted with a flick of the wrist for simple tube connection. • All unit series of the GDF family are equipped with a casing construction. The entire drip tray construction with

heating sheet included, can be folded down. The technician can thus save working time during cleaning and no fastening elements will be lost. • The GDF is suited for the use in lowtemperature applications (up to –25 °C) and can be ordered with the fin spacing 7mm. • Special constructions can be manufactured on demand for lower temperature. • The series GDF and GDM are storage types and have been integrated in the Güntner storage programme. The series can thus be delivered within only a few working days. The manufacturer added that for unit design with the Güntner Product Calculator GPC, the units available in stock are marked as such in the GPC software. If the software is updated via the Internet, the current delivery dates are indicated. Further details are available in the Güntner Info Brochure Slimline Unit Coolers which can be downloaded from the website: info-center/guentner-info-brochures/

January 2010



product feature

Blowing hot, blowing cold Jose Franco elaborates on the AHU market in the region.


here is no doubt the Middle East market, particularly the Gulf Arab states, offers tremendous opportunity for businesses engaged in air-handling units (AHUs). Consider, for instance, the mushrooming of green buildings in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and other parts of the Gulf, which are equipped or may require high-end, energy-saving devices for their HVAC systems. Throw in the massive budget for new universities and hospitals in Saudi Arabia, and there’s the overview of how big the AHU requirements of these mega projects are. “The scope of opportunity is very huge, as there’s lots of mega projects where requirement for AHUs is huge for central air-conditioning units,” opines Abu Dhabibased Bassel Anbari, the Managing Director of InterCool. However, he hopes that more AHUs would be manufactured locally, or even regionally, so as to save on shipping costs. He also wants

the performance of an AHU tested and certified, saying this would be good for both customers and sellers. “Followup service should be part of AHU suppliers’ contracts.” Not only is there a growing demand for AHUs in the UAE, but also for FCUs, or fancoil units, says Ravi Sharma, Technical Head of UAEbased Ramesh Hira. There is a demand for the districtcooling application of AHUs/ FCUs in the UAE, although more of FCUs, while other Gulf countries are still onto the chiller application. Abu Dhabi is the most promising emirate in the UAE when it comes to AHUs, owing to its growing number of infrastructure projects, while many construction projects in Dubai are on hold or have been cancelled, notes Sharma. The AHU system is split into two types, namely, the direct expansion (DX) and the chilled water (CW) processes of the central air-conditioning plants, he explains. In the DX system,

Bassel Anbari



Ravi Sharma

January 2010

the air used for cooling the room or space is being passed through directly to the cooling coil of a refrigeration plant while the CW system first chills the water in a refrigeration system, and then uses this to chill the air that will cool the room. There is a need for an information campaign on the AHU, however, as the device is customised according to the requirements of customers, stresses H P Dudani, Deputy General Manager of Blue Star Middle East, which trades in air-conditioning and refrigeration units. This can be achieved through clearly defined policies by independent organisations which must be communicated across the HVAC industry through effective media representation. He says that India and Europe, for instance, have a policy on displaying the “star rating” on products in terms of energy efficiency. In India, the Indian Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ISHRAE) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) play an important role in framing such a policy for the HVAC industry. The same can be said of ASHRAE with regard to the US market. FUTURE of AHUs Dudani is, in a way, echoing what Anbari says – that AHU devices be tested and certified by experts or any

authorised body. Anbari, who is also Regional Vice-Chair for Research Promotion of ASHRAE-RAL (Region-atLarge), says AHUs should have built-in controls to optimise performance, especially fresh air-handling units with heatrecovery system. This opinion on what the future AHU products should be is shared by Dubai-based Gunnar Svensson, Regional Manager of Swegon, the Swedish manufacturer of products and solutions for ventilation and indoor climate systems. The challenge to designers and manufacturers, he says, is to make more complete AHUs that include the control system. He remarks, “This would minimise the sizes and the mechanical requirements and result in compact units.” Swegon, which has been in the UAE market for two years, has struck a deal with InterCool to market its products in the country. Over at Blue Star Middle East, whose parent company, Blue Star Limited, is headquartered in India, research and development (R&D) is a vital aspect of operation. Dudani says around two per cent of the company’s total turnover goes to an R&D programme, which is being looked after by 50 engineers. While the company has a good outlook for the UAE market, it also sets it sights on Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Syria and Iran. It currently exports on average 50 AHUs per month. A study presented before the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA), in Scotland, last year points out the energy-saving potential of HVAC systems with an advanced control and operation mechanism. It illustrates how a building simulation tool – Designer’s Simulation Toolkit (DeST) – is used to detect faults and to optimise set points in a

variable air volume (VAV) AHU system. “Advanced control and operation of HVAC systems in buildings is one of the most promising energy efficient technologies,” says the study, titled ‘Case study of energy diagnosis simulation of VAV AHU system controls’. “However, there is still significant energy-saving potential in these systems. Energy savings can come from correcting deficiencies through building commissioning.” Some problems in the VAV system, an energy-efficient solution to a multizone building with different cooling and heating demands, will cause energy waste. These include improper set points of minimum air-flow rate of VAV boxes, improper AHU supply-air temperature set points and faulty information from air-flow rate sensors and carbon-dioxide sensors, according to the study presented at the Eleventh IBPSA Conference, in Glasgow, on July 27-30, 2009. “After fixing some of these problems, consumption of steam and chilled water can be lowered by 10-30%,” it stresses. “This has been validated by metering of steam and chilled water consumption.” The case study was conducted on several US campus buildings with a total floor area of 30,472 square metres and six AHUs. The study’s statistical analyses of 99 projects say the simple payback time of commissioning is about two years, with one year as the median. “This indicates that commissioning can be more cost-effective than expected,” the study adds. Commissioning works to the advantage of building owners, operators and occupants, as this corrects system performance deviation. ASHRAE itself issued an HVAC commissioning guideline in 1989 and updated it in 1997. There are also a number of case studies being conducted for different types of buildings, and previous studies that collated data from multiple commissioning projects. With the UAE’s estimated AHU market to be worth over $250 million, Anbari says it’s about time manufacturers grew their business in the country and across the Gulf. He states, “I think this is a perfect time for small to medium businesses to grow and expand, as opportunities are there, and overheads can be controlled as business grows. The main markets are Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.” His company, InterCool, he says, has ongoing and future projects in Qatar (at the Doha International Airport), Abu Dhabi (Etihad Towers, Capital Plaza, Abu Dhabi Financial Centre and the Abu

An air-handling unit on a rooftop

Dhabi detainee building), Dubai (Dubai International Airport and the expansion of Al Ghurair Centre) and Kuwait (Kuwait’s central bank). In Dubai, where the construction sector is recovering after a massive fall at the peak of the ongoing global economic downturn, experts expect stiff completion in prices of AHU systems.

“We could see a lot of competition for pricing due to re-tendering of projects,” Sharma says. “As far as policy affecting the sector, the Oman market is somewhat monopolistic, as it is bound by major local contracting houses. It is difficult to get approval from government, as they do not want to try anything new….”

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‘No one wants to be E’ What is Eurovent doing to address energy efficiency and the vexing issue of counterfeiting? Erick Melquiond, the Managing Director of Eurovent, in conversation with Climate Control Middle East. Could you describe the testing process you follow? We use 13 different labs in Europe. We select them based on their capabilities to perform proper tests, to be consistent, to respect testing standards in a consistent manner. For FCUs, I have 65 manufacturers. Those products go through tests each year. We have to make sure that Product A is being tested according to the same protocol to get reliable and consistent data comparably. We go according to different climate conditions. If a standard does not exist for high-ambient conditions, dust or corrosion caused by the salty air near the sea, we will provide inside the certification that allows manufacturers that want to market in Dubai to have that aspect covered, so they can have certification. Do you have a regimen in place to test the ‘greenness’ of a product? As far as green buildings are concerned, you will have to do something similar to what Empower and ASHRAE have embarked on for district cooling. For green buildings, you will have to put twice the number of expertise, and that’s a big challenge. There is another approach, the measurement approach. You have an existing building, and you do a campaign on measurements. Once done, you can understand how your building works and have an idea what areas you need to improve. As a certifying agency, what strategy can you offer to ensure that manufacturers give more emphasis to energy efficiency? At Eurovent, we promote the concept of certification of the performance of products as a built-in savings feature. We endeavour to ensure that the engineer and the consultant will have correct data; else, left to themselves, they would have to do a built-in percentage. With Eurovent, they can rely on what we tell them, because we are the third party. Secondly, we have a rating scale on 24


Erick Melquiond

energy efficiency or energy consumption that allows us to categorise products as A, B, C, D, and this has an effect on manufacturers, because no one wants to be ‘E’. So they will invest and improve their products. Today, Eurovent certification covers components, be it plant heat exchangers or water heat exchangers, and their programs that have chillers (finished products). On top of that, we are certifying software that goes with it. Software can calculate the performance of more than one component. Our aim is to certify products and components. The general idea is to cover as many components, thus improving the performance of the overall product. How can Eurovent help address the vexing issue of counterfeiting? The kind of certification we offer is third-party in nature. So you have manufacturers, and the second party is the customer. Now, the customer can

January 2010

also be an associate or a laboratory. But that is not a third party. What we do is to manage a protocol in which we select products from production lines, and we test some of them in labs, and we analyse the data and generate a certificate. While looking at performance, we will look at the failure rate of a test. We will also audit the plant and the history of the test the manufacturer is taking. If the number of failures is going in the wrong direction, we will look into it. We don’t certify companies but data or products. Coming to the issue of counterfeiting, the way the certification works is that the certification data is available in the Web site, and we encourage consultants to always rely on the updated web site. They don’t have to rely on a catalogue with a green border that says, ‘EV Certified’. We have no control over it, if someone chooses to print a fake catalogue. That is why we have made it virtual. We are trying to webize the logo. You click on the logo and hyperlink. We have more than 50,000 product references representing more than 200 manufacturers. In view of the fact that there seems to be an emphasis on pricing over quality, does it matter if a product is certified or not? As long as you look at upfront costs, there is nothing you can do. When a buyer makes a decision, they should separate offers with third party certification and those without. And then they should try to get the best deal out of certified products. That way, they will have the best value. They will have the best price without compromising on the quality of the product. A second positive aspect is that if you get a certified product, you will properly select the quantity of products, according to data efficiency. Down the road, running costs will be according to plan. But if you get a fantastic price for a questionable product, your running costs will likely go sky-high.

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Holiday Inn Al Qasr, Riyadh, KSA • 14,15,16 March 2010


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country report saudi arabia

A factory in Jeddah: A day and night tariff regimen could bring down electricity prices for industries operating after sundown

Heating up Saudi Arabia in 2010 has allocated more than $146 billion for education and human development. This should bode well for the HVACR industry in the region, writes Jose franco.


T may not surprise many people in the Middle East and elsewhere that Saudi Arabia is the place to be for HVAC operators this year and many years hereafter. To begin with, the kingdom has allocated over a quarter of the 2010 expenditures, totaling more than $146 billion, for education and human development. This includes the construction and development of four new universities in Dammam, Alkharj, Majma and Shaqra; the completion of various infrastructure projects around a number of existing universities and the establishment of new polytechnic colleges and vocational institutes. “Saudi will be the biggest market in the Middle East for the HVAC industry,” says Abdullah Ahmad Zeneeh, Managing Director of Dubai26

based Rio Electro Mechanical, adding that the kingdom plans to build 13 new universities over the next five years. These huge learning institutions would surely require district or central cooling systems. As has been well documented, the system offers tremendous benefits to developers planning also to build office complexes, mixed-use properties and commercial districts. Illustrating the opportunity that the Saudi market offers, Zeneeh says HVAC eats up 10% of expenditure for MEP, which is 25% of the total cost of construction. There is also great opportunity for the refrigeration sector, as shopping malls and retail and food outlets make up two per cent of the Saudi economy. Spending on refrigeration systems


January 2010

Spending on refrigeration systems account for five per cent of the value of construction of industrial facilities like manufacturing centres.

account for five per cent of the value of construction of industrial facilities like manufacturing centres. “Saudi Arabia has the most business potential in the region over the next three to five years across all sectors,” remarks Imad Kaba, Sales Director for the Middle East Distributors at Trane Middle East, Africa and India. “As the government supports large infrastructure and social projects, we will continue to see the demand for HVAC equipment increasing and opportunities for manufacturers and suppliers growing.” There will also be great demand for large and central plant rooms and large tonnage chillers, he says, with the increase in the number of large infrastructure projects and new economic cities over the next 15-20 years.

country report: saudi arabia BIGGER THAN DUBAI There has been, in fact, an increase in the average size of plant room in recent years, with building of bigger hospitals and universities. “The Saudi district cooling market could be growing much bigger than the Dubai market,” Kaba remarks, “and last for a longer period.” Most people do not want to share utility bills – no wonder the region always had smaller plant rooms for aircooled chillers serving each building. But he says the Saudis can learn from Dubai, and will soon switch to district cooling, as they discover the savings that a large water-cooled plant offers. “They have access to the expertise in Dubai, which has already started branching out into Saudi,” he stresses. And there is great hope for the way the Saudi market regards the industry, says Mohamed R Zackariah, noting “a very visible shift towards large-tonnage watercooled chillers” from the traditional mentality to use air-cooled chillers. “There is definitely a robust market for large-tonnage chillers in Saudi in the coming years,” says Zackariah, the Chief Consultant at Protecooling, a division of Suhaimi Design, which offers consultancy services to high-end HVAC projects. He cites the growing number of large industrial projects, educational institutions and healthcare facilities across Saudi Arabia. Large residential projects are likewise mushrooming in areas like Mecca and Medina. The outlook for the HVAC industry in the oilrich Saudi Arabia is made more favourable by the fact that the concept of district cooling is a late-comer to this Gulf Arab country of 28.7 million people as compared to its neighbours. “District cooling for industries, in our opinion, is one of the largest opportunities for this industry [HVAC],” says Zackariah. He cites the district cooling projects for 28

industrial clients in places like Jubail, adding that the Jubail Industrial City is developing infrastructure for the next phase of industries. He also cites the conversion of existing HVAC systems to district cooling systems in large industrial complexes, such as that in Hadeed, and the large cooling requirement of learning institutions like Riyadh-based Prince Noora University, which has a capacity of 66,000 tonnes of refrigeration (TR). He also mentions other projects in the pipeline, such as new universities and residential complexes, as part of the large potential for district cooling business in Saudi Arabia. POLTICAL WILL The market is made even more promising by Riyadh’s strong political will – as clearly indicated by the current fiscal year’s budget – to fuel strong economic growth in the kingdom, whose full potential is not yet fully realised. “When the public and private partnerships will be streamlined further, Saudi


Abdullah Ahmad Zeneeh

January 2010

They have access to the expertise in Dubai, which has already started branching out into Saudi.

can become the largest market [for the HVAC industry] in this part of the world,” says Zackariah. And being the Gulf region’s biggest economy (with a 2009 nominal GDP of $375 billion, according to Saudi’s foreign ministry), he adds, the Saudi market for HVAC and refrigeration (HVACR) equipment is “always high”. Last year’s nominal gross domestic product, Saudi’s foreign ministry said, was down 21% from $475 billion in 2008. The 2009 trade balance had a massive fall of 51% to $104 billion while the balance of payments shrank 84.5% to $20.5 billion, owing to a drop in oil income. But the public debt dropped to $60 billion from $63.2 billion. As a proportion of GDP, however, public debt rose to 16% from 13% as at end-2008. Representing a 14% increase over the 2009 fiscal year (FY) expenditures, this year’s budget was crafted using conservative demand and pricing estimates for oil, according to the Web site of the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council. This means a government revenue projection of $125.3 billion, with a deficit of $18.7 billion. Actual revenues for 2009 topped the projected income of $109 billion, following the increase in oil prices, which recovered to more than $70 a barrel from around $40. Sitting on the world’s largest proven crude reserves, Saudi Arabia is currently pumping more than eight million barrels per day. Besides the establishment of new universities, the $36.5-billion budget for education includes the building of 1,200 new primary schools to add to the 3,112 currently under construction and the more 770 completed last year while 2,000 schools are scheduled for renovation. About 5,000 Saudi students will likewise receive study grants for abroad, Continued on page 42



winter 2010

Interviews with… Ahmad Al Shafar, Empower Rob Thornton, IDEA Measuring and billing Is outsourcing a worthy option?

What does the opening of Elips mean to the utility provider?


A fillip for Empower? Utility company expects ELIPS pre-insulated pipe-manufacturing facility will provide it a secure supply chain and a distinct pricing advantage.


n what is likely to be viewed as a bold move in these most challenging of economic times, UAE-based utility provider, Empower and Denmark-based Logstor on January 20, in a soft opening, unveiled their joint venture facility, which will manufacture and supply 30

CHILL | Winter 2010

Story and photographs: B Surendar pre-insulated pipes to the region, and beyond. Called Empower-Logstor Insulated Pipe Systems (ELIPS), the manufacturing facility, billed as the largest for producing pre-insulated pipes in the UAE, has an ambitious agenda. As articulated by its Chairman, Ahmad

Al Shafar, the facility has the world’s most modern spray technology. It can produce 360 kilometres of piping a year, depending on the size and length. And it can offer pipes as wide as 2.5 metres in diameter. Al Shafar is also the CEO of Empower, which as per the agreement, owns 51% of the stake in ELIPS.

Winter 2010 | CHILL



In the words of Al Shafar, the facility, worth $25 million, will begin manufacturing from March 2010. The timing of the opening and the projected month of manufacturing came up for questioning‌ even during the soft-launch. Following the Lehman Brothers debacle in the last quarter of 2008 and the global financial crisis, district cooling has seen a slump in demand in the UAE, particularly in Dubai. Even in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which were perceived as less affected by the downturn, district cooling did not quite take off in the manner anticipated in 2009. These trends did not cast a shadow during the soft launch, though. It was business as usual; in fact, the mood was quite upbeat when H.R.H. the Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Sheikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum jointly cut the ribbon to inaugurate the facility among a bevy of officials, including Al Shafar and Preben Tolstrup, the CEO of 32

CHILL | Winter 2010

Logstor, which owns 49% of ELIPS. When questioned on the timing, Al Shafar, without batting an eyelid, said he was optimistic about the long-term prospects of district cooling (also see interview with Al Shafar). “Speaking specifically of Empower, we are doing good,” he said. “And if you look at district cooling, it is not going to come overnight. It is going to happen over time.” Added Tolstrup: “Besides, we are not only looking at district cooling but also at the oil and gas industry. So we will serve a diversified market.” Tolstrup, while acknowledging the downturn and its effect on the district cooling industry, said that the most effective way to meet the challenge and also to compete with other pipe manufacturers in the region (in the forms of EPPI, Perma Pipe and SPPI) was to provide top-quality products. “We are offering the world’s most modern spray

Our highest commitment: your lowest energy consumption. Intelligent energy saving solutions – that‘s where we put our energy in. A world without our valuable energy and water resources? Our continuous commitment is to provide intelligent customer solutions – that help to conserve our resources and save energy. This means lowering costs and caring for the environment at the same time. Techem – Your energy saving partner

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feature technology,” he said. “It’s important to offer innovative technologies to be competitive. Also, we have to remember that top-quality matters, because the piping systems will be in the ground for at least 30-40 years.” Akram J Mourad, the Senior Vice President and MD of District Cooling at Logstor, sounded another note of optimism when he said that the facility, by virtue of its location, had a distinct advantage. “Dubai is going to be a good hub to reach out to other GCC entities and a spoke to Asia,” Mourad said. “We are already in the bidding stage for a big district cooling project in China.” Mourad said that Empower and Logstor did not build the facility for Dubai alone but so that they could also serve other places. “We are in the process of getting projects in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar,” Mourad said. “In our view, the other countries in the GCC are not as affected. We have come to be here now to maintain the correct timing for progress of those projects.” Empower and Logstor said that ELIPS had the backing of several years of experience in Europe and a successful track record in the GCC. Tolstrup substantiated the claim when he said that Logstor had over 50 years of experience and 10 factories worldwide, which served customers in over 50 countries. As for the UAE, and the specific high-ambient conditions of the region, Tolstrup said the very fact that Logstor had been providing piping systems in the country since 1992, meant it had the strength to rise to the challenge of serving the region as a partner of ELIPS. “While we have the experience in this region, we have also been supplying pipes to district cooling projects elsewhere, which have conditions similar to the UAE,” Tolstrup said. “We have a very strong knowledge base for this region.” For Empower, the advantages of partnering with Logstor on ELIPS are many, in the words of Al Shafar. Empower, he said, would expect to take at least 20% of the production capacity of the facility. The facility, he added, would secure the supply of pre-insulated pipes to Empower. “The facility will ensure timely delivery and installation of pipe networks, 34

CHILL | Winter 2010

which will have a major impact on Empower’s project timelines,” Al Shafar said. Another advantage was the pricing. Saying that pre-insulated pipes constituted 20-25% of Empower’s total capital investment, Al Shafar added that the utility would be saving between 15 and 20% on the cost of the pipes, thanks to the formation of ELIPS. “This factory represents an opportunity for Empower to achieve backward integration,” Al Shafar said. “It will also consolidate our status as a leading regional player in pipeline systems by meeting the industry’s primary requirement for preinsulated pipes. Empower’s position as the region’s number one company for district cooling is more realised now with the opening of this factory.”

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Winter 2010 | CHILL


interview A chat with Al Shafar Empower CEO, Ahmad Al Shafar elaborates on the utility provider’s business approach for 2010 and the ASHRAE district cooling standard that is likely to be unveiled during the ASHRAE Summer Meeting of 2010.

The year that has just passed has been challenging for the district cooling industry in the region? What has kept you going, and what do you see as the right approach in 2010? We have to remember that district cooling is not about bulk load but about identifying the requirements of the customer and, then, ramping up capacity as we go along. We did use rental solutions, but today, we have no rental equipment; everything is owned by us. We call it temporary solutions, if the equipment is taken on board for zero to six months. It is called semi-permanent if it is beyond 180 days. If the customer needs cooling earlier, we give a semipermanent solution. We can provide either a water-cooled solution or an aircooled solution, based on load. We have been able to achieve our business goals, because we have a diversified customer base, which includes Dubai Healthcare City, DIFC and JBR. And owing to our sub-metering regimen, the risk of collection is less. We were very conservative in our approach. We take stable and controlled steps. We said during the IDEA meeting that we are going to be the largest. The strategy to achieve that is to be conservative and to take calculated risks. But would you call installing a capacity of 60,000 TR at JBR a conservative approach, at a time when the demand was not there? We installed a capacity of 60,000 TR at JBR, because it was a matter of all the 40 buildings coming up together. Naturally, all the plantrooms had to come up together. At Healthcare City, on the other hand, we adopted a modular approach, because we had fewer buildings coming up. What is the load profile of all the plantrooms? 36

CHILL | Winter 2010

At the DIFC plantroom, as of now, we are serving 58,000 TR. We will touch 65K TR. Currently, we are serving 60,000 TR at JBR. We will touch 63,000 TR there. They are neck to neck. What is your market capitalisation? Empower has become 70% owned by DEWA and 30% by TECOM. So we are a subsidiary of the Government of Dubai. We have 110,000 businesses signed up in 2010. If you put 2009 and 2010 together, there are a lot of companies. We have had an operational capacity of 250,000 TR as of December 2009. Are you seriously looking beyond Dubai to grow your business? We are willing to look at other

opportunities besides Dubai. But I have always believed in adopting a feasible and risk-calculated approach. I don’t start on a project till I mitigate risk. ELIPS is a case-in point. It is possible for Empower to do projects outside Dubai, but I would look to select the right partners. I want to understand who I would be dealing with. Am I going to be dealing with private bodies or with the government? How are we going to constitute the relationship? These are important questions for me. In Dubai, we are linked to a utility supplier, which is DEWA. So they are securitising water and electricity, both of which are essential for district cooling. So the risk here is less than

it is likely to be in Qatar. This is what I meant when I earlier spoke about taking a calculated risk. There is a general feeling that district cooling utility companies, owing to a drop in volume of business, will be more of O&M players? Would you suggest otherwise? O&M is an ongoing process. There are district cooling utilities that have reached a limitation of growth. Running a utility is not only about developing new business but also about stability. At Empower, we are securing our growth. District cooling is not just about plantrooms. I would say there is a need to focus on the core business. How is the ASHRAE district cooling standard shaping up? ASHRAE will announce the standard during this year’s Summer Meeting. The Standard came up for review by the committee on January 24. We are part of the ASHRAE committee. It is important to remember that the standard is for heating as well as cooling. As the sponsor, we wanted it to be all inclusive, though we do not need district heating in the GCC. It is an ASHRAE Standard, and it is applicable to all parts of the world. We sponsored the work on the standard, because being a leader in the industry is not something you can achieve through having the largest tonnage. No! Because somebody else tomorrow will have a larger capacity. So it is through such contributions that you establish yourself as a leader. Also, I don’t want consultants to have a chance to come out with any other concepts that will affect efficiency or reliability. So we want to have the pillar, the standard. Through the standard, we will say that the most efficient machine is the one that achieves 0.875kW/ TR-hour. After that, it is up to you to select the chiller, be it Carrier, York or Trane. Tomorrow, anybody can build a plantroom based on the standard. It is important to have a standard. The life of a plantroom is 25-30 years. So if you make any mistake in the design it will be with you for 30 years. Of course, the standard will have more versions. It’s a work in progress. It’s an on-going process. Somebody had to take the first step, and we are doing that.

‘You can get there,

but it takes

patience’ Has district cooling lost its steam in the UAE? No, it’s still a viable and sensible approach, argues IDEA President Rob Thornton, when Climate Control Middle East interviewed him on the sidelines of the Middle East District Cooling Conference & Trade Show in Dubai in October 2009. What kind of future do you envisage for the district cooling sector in Dubai? District cooling is a critical element to the energy mix here. At the moment, we can see a correction occurring, owing to the recession, which naturally, is impacting the district cooling sector, too. District cooling has a very important role in the operations of a lot of properties here, which continue to be built. Looking back on the last five years, one realises that it’s hard to change the tyre on a moving car. The industry had been trying to face the demands of the remarkably paced construction. Now it’s time to evaluate where the market is, and focus on efficiency and reliability. Globally, there is a great deal of interest in district cooling. The scale of district energy creates opportunities for low-carbon solutions. Cooling is not a

luxury, as it is a productivity-component in Europe. Given the financial situation, what according to you are the chances of survival of the district cooling industry? At this point of time, the district cooling sector is experiencing a situation where the real estate industry has to sort out where the projects are. It’s not unreasonable that district cooling providers have to figure out where the moves are on a three-level chess board. We need to find out much more reliable and efficient fundamentals of district cooling, re-evaluate them and find out where the opportunities are. There are locational concerns that need scrutiny. But I believe that we will work through a larger correction. I think district Winter 2010 | CHILL


interview cooling will remain a viable and a sensible approach. But if projects don’t go forward, then there is no point in infrastructure preceding it. Regionally, district cooling has an important role to play. In the US, utilities that have been required to purchase renewable sources of kw/h are looking at district cooling/CHP as a better solution. Across the region, as development goes forward, lifecycle efficiency (capital and operational efficiency) will make sense. Dubai is in a situation where absorption of spaces, and occupancy are the chief concerns. What about industrial district cooling? In the US, the industry has been acting now on public domain. We see a lot of green credentials. The industry is engaged in low-carbon and emission reduction, and district cooling is a building block, be it in mixed-use developments in Dubai or on campuses or in refineries. Large process users are looking for energy-efficient solutions. So I think that it may be a sound strategy in order to have a portfolio where you can respond to more consolidated projects in the near term. But I don’t think you can make a complete shift. So, you think it’s all about striking a balance? I think so. I can’t overlook the fact that in the US, a lot of investments in the district energy sector are highly valuable, and the returns become obvious when capital investments slow down. You can get there, but it takes patience. There are several players in our industry, and their skills are transferable. In Dubai, it is a question of emphasis. In the off-take projects, where the parameters can be better understood, one can see that there is a particular advantage, particularly in a credit-crunch market. In such a situation, investors move towards certainty. Today, finite project parameters and clarity towards revenue stream are attractive options. District cooling is a local business with a global purpose. Local industry needs the district energy. But the pace of adoption varies from city to city. Our experience is that once people are connected to district energy, they wonder why they did not do so earlier. 38

CHILL | Winter 2010

District energy assets will ultimately have significant value. Why build the wires and generation capacity to serve inefficient air conditioning when district cooling is efficient?

Here, you are not dedicating staff to babysitting equipment maintenance. Your operations, therefore, become so much easier. Once that experience becomes common knowledge, the demand for district cooling accelerates, and people want to commit to it. In this context, there are lessons to be learnt from the oil crisis in the 1970s. The first downtown district cooling system was built in the 1960s. And in the 1970s, the first embargo slowed things down, and the second stopped commercial construction. And the pace of district cooling is reliant on construction. When I was in Hartford, we doubled the business in five years. All new buildings were connected to the district cooling system. Some buildings had not yet been built, but we were making plans for district cooling. But we did not invest in capacity. We were not ahead of them; we were coincident. In 1987, we had delta T problems. We had a user group; we were getting back capacity that was not being utilised, and it served new load. Out of 25,000 TR, we reclaimed 2,000 TR (almost 10%). They were impairing efficiency by taking more flow than they should. At the same time, we were doing TES

(thermal energy storage) and creating new capacity. But efficiency was the low hanging fruit. Similarly, IDEA has a collection of people with experience, which can accelerate how people can work more efficiently. District energy is not as much about connecting components as it is about optimising and operating. Some of it is trial and error, and some of it is measurement control. Knowing what to look for is important. In Texas, they are very data-driven. As Juan Ontiveros (of the University of Texas at Austin, and the current chair of IDEA) said, the numbers don’t lie. The reason we have had IDEA for 100 years is that we are passionate about it, and ultimately, it is collegial – we believe in knowledge sharing. We want all of our members to do well and succeed. Has the reputation of district cooling in Dubai taken a beating? And if yes, how is it impacting the district cooling industry itself? I wouldn’t say that Dubai is bad for district cooling. The industry is part of the larger economic challenge the city is facing. I don’t think district cooling should be singled out. I do think that there is a correction occurring, and it is a natural, cyclical event. Also, district energy assets will ultimately have significant value. Why build the wires and generation capacity to serve inefficient air conditioning when district cooling is efficient? The fact is, the pace of development was a tremendous challenge. Today, we have an opportunity to take stock and focus on right-sizing plants and for optimising.

the US, many commercial office spaces have 2,000 TR. But the district cooling provider contracts only 800 TR, because a building on a peak day would need only 800 TR. And that’s thanks to district cooling, you get what you need. We need to uncover what people have and what they really need. Our experience tells us that if you project the revenue on installed capacity, it is incumbent on providers and customers to get the right investment mix. Once

they get connected, they will be saying, “I need only 800 TR, you sold me 2,000 TR. So IDEA needs to reinforce the fundamental economic underpinning. This becomes critical in a mature market. You have a targeted rate on return on installed capacity, and you want to exceed that. You have 3,000 TR, but you need only 1,500 TR. Therefore, you need to get to the reality early in the relationship. That’s the experience we have had in the US.

District Cooling Solutions Project Management Engineering Procurement Construction Automation Commissioning

Could you tell us something about the research initiatives of IDEA? We are interested in transferring experience-based knowledge. It can take several forms. People like Juan, with university operations, have decades of experience. There are consultants and equipment providers who are engaged in finding more efficient solutions. I think IDEA can continue to be constructive and instrumental in this. We are not saying, ‘Step aside, there is a new sheriff in town’, because there are local conditions to consider. We could probably talk about installed capacity versus contract capacity. In Winter 2010 | CHILL



‘Customers deserve better’ To bill on usage or not to bill correctly is no longer the question, argues Tarek El-Far


hilled water and high cooling costs are the talk of the town. Most buildings fed by district cooling plants, where only a bulk meter has been fitted, face high charges, based on their floor area rather than what they use. The charges are usually included in the service fee for common areas, which means a higher service charge. This is not an ideal regimen, because owners and tenants have the right to precisely know their actual energy consumption and, subsequently, pay only for what they consume. In other words, they are entitled to a consumption-based cost allocation (billing). Some district cooling providers cover the whole cycle down to the sub metering and the billing levels, but others don’t. They deliver energy to the building in bulk, and the building owner pays the bill (metering). He, then, collects money from the tenants, based on area and not on consumption. The simple, and in fact, the only way to precisely allocate cost based on consumption is to install meters in every unit and in the common areas, as well. Sub metering not only creates awareness but also gives credit for green building ratings. It’s becoming mandatory, since it has a proven savings of 15-30%. It also ensures that owners and tenants only pay for what they use rather than pay for the whole building’s cost for chilled water. Sub metering is a step in the right direction, but it is good enough only when properly read, maintained and accurately billed, allowing a focal service point for managing disputes involving owners and tenants. As there is no legislation in place yet for chilled water sub metering, very few projects take this into consideration. Most of the buildings 40

CHILL | Winter 2010

The cost of installation is minimal, owing to wireless technology. And the monthly fees are negligible, compared to the service and the convenience provided. are equipped with BMS, which is mainly for monitoring and controlling. However, some of the sophisticated BMS systems can be programmed to add a billing function. It is an expensive and complicated procedure, but at least it partially serves the purpose as an intermediate stage between no billing and using a dedicated billing service. The questions are, why invest in sophisticated billing if you can simply outsource the same and more? Who’s serving facility managers/tenants/ owners associations in case of disputes? Who’s handling tenants traffic? Who’s maintaining the sub metering system after the handing over of the building? Who’s verifying costs? What about retrofitting existing buildings with no sub metering or simple BMS systems? The answer is outsourcing. Third-party, billing-service providers are the only logical choice to manage this, and more. Taking care of the

whole process from designing and supplying the system to billing, using the latest technology is ideal when handled by a third party. This might sound expensive and complicated, but in fact, it was never easier and cheaper, thanks to the technology available. It doesn’t even cost any more than the price of the meter. Even the cost of installation is minimal, owing to wireless technology. And the monthly fees are negligible, compared to the service and the convenience provided. Mick Dalton, the past chairman of the British Institute of Facilities Management and the general manager of Marafeq FM, concurs with this view. “Energy management and complaints about chilled water costs, as well as defect liability snagging issues, are some of the biggest that homeowner associations and owners and tenants have today,” he says. Another expert, Alan Millin, agrees and encourages district cooling providers to solely focus on their core business, which is to produce chilled water. That way, he says, they can protect their revenues while keeping their customers happy. Outsourcing will ensure flexible tailor-made solutions and always the latest technology, utilising the global experience and best practices. From designing the system to mechanical or ultrasonic meters, from owned or leased to wireless or M Bus reading, and from web portals compatible with all major customer management software to customised bills and customer service, outsourcing is a one-stop solution on a convenient long-term contract basis.

The writer is the Managing Director of ista. He can be reached at tarek.

country report: saudi arabia Continued from page 28

under the King Abdullah Scholarship Programme, as Riyadh is implementing its national plan for science and technology development. The health and social affairs in Saudi Arabia is all about modernising and expanding its healthcare system as well as promoting healthy lifestyle. Of the total FY 2010 expenditure, $16.3 billion has been allocated for the kingdom’s healthcare system, including the construction of 92 new hospitals, with a capacity of 17,150 beds, and a number of primary healthcare facilities. A number of sports clubs and sports centres will be set up, as well, along with social centres and labour offices to support Riyadh’s povertyreduction programmes. UTILITIES DEMAND With massive expenditures on various infrastructure projects come the growing demand for water and electricity, whose supplies are a serious concern in many parts of the world, more so in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom’s Jubail, for instance, in spite of being one of the largest industrial cities, has acute shortage of all kinds of water – be it potable, treated sewage effluents (TSE) or sea water, Zackariah says. “Power is also in short supply,” he adds. “Saudi needs to focus really on these areas to sustain the growth as well as to realise its full potential.” This is a good challenge to a number of HVACR equipment designers and manufacturers like Trane Middle East, a business of the $13-billion diversified global industrial company, Ingersoll Rand. “As a supplier, we keep improving the efficiency of our chillers to consume less power,” Kaba says. “We also design these chillers to operate with lower condenser flow.” If installed close to the sea – in the eastern and western provinces of Saudi Arabia, for instance – Trane chillers 42

Imad Kaba

can also be made to operate using sea water. He remarks, “Today there are solutions to make up for water loss using reverse osmosis plants, collecting condensate water, eliminating evaporation or, even better, using TSE.” It is hoped, however, that power shortages in Saudi Arabia would soon become a thing of the past, what with the $10-billion investment being planned by the Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) for the next 10 years. This development follows the awarding of a $288.1-million contract by SEC to the Arabian Bemco Contracting Company, to expand the Qassim Power Plant. Quoting SEC President and CEO, Ali Saleh Al Barrak, Arab News reported this month that the 10-year plan will add 25,000 megawatts (MW) to the kingdom’s powergeneration capacity, which is currently at 40,000 MW. SEC has authorised for this year about $586.81 million worth of projects in the Qassim, a predominantly agricultural region in the central part of the kingdom, about 300 kilometres north of Riyadh, which has experienced disruptions. Al Barrak described the expansion project as “super rush” which will be completed in seven months, instead of two years. He stressed that 75% of the plant’s expansion has been completed. “With the additional production, we hope the demand during the coming summer will be met,” he said. “Tenders for four other plants in various other


January 2010

If the technologies are properly represented and rightly presented to the kingdom’s market, the transfer of technologies is possible.

areas are also under way.” The more serious problem is water, opines Zeneeh, as desalination plants have to be upgraded. “District cooling will also trigger spending on water and power projects,” he says. Something which will not be a problem to a country whose actual spending in 2009 stood at $146.7 billion while actual revenues were at $134.7 billion, or 16% higher than initial projections, owing to higher oil export receipts. Finance Minister, Ibrahim Al Assaf earlier said the projected budget deficit for FY 2010 will shrink if oil prices increase. MORE CHALLENGES Finding the right talent to fill the gap in the HVACR industry has also been a challenge in Saudi Arabia for many reason, Kaba says. “Which is why training and personal development should be part of the strategy of any company doing business in the area,” he adds. For his part, Zeneeh has also noted the difficulty by some companies in obtaining visas for migrant labourers, and the slow pace of customs clearance in the kingdom. “There has been some movement, yes, but very, very slow,” he says. He emphasises that for one huge university project alone, a contractor would need 30,000 labourers and staff members. “And I expect more foreign labour to come in, for Saudi Arabia to cope with progress,” Zeneeh says. “Changes [on visa rules] should be made in a few months, rather than years, if Saudi Arabia wants to keep up with progress. That’s the key element.” Despite the challenges, however, Zeneeh vows to do business in Saudi Arabia, as he expects the kingdom to institute drastic changes over the next five years. “Definitely, we’re going to Saudi,” he says of Rio Electro Mechanical, a specialisedservice provider for the HVAC industry. “We’re on preparation stage, but haven’t

heating up

decided yet if we will get a partner.” He is optimistic that Riyadh would ease its rules governing the industry and other related sectors, to keep up with development like the growing demand for district cooling and utilities. The kingdom, he thinks, may eventually grant industries a day-and-night tariff, the application of which would bring down by 30% the prices of power used in the evening. This would encourage a number of manufacturing facilities to run their machines automatically at night, putting a balance in power consumption. (Most companies run their manufacturing facilities during the day. The residential sector consumes only 22.25% of the power supply as against the industrial sector’s 70%.)

Zackariah is equally optimistic, saying that considering the kingdom’s “huge potential, solid and concerted effort from the HVACR industry can have a positive change in the government’s attitude towards this industry”. He enumerates some of the district cooling projects expected in the kingdom, including that of Saudi Aramco, in Dhahran; two in Royal Commission Jubail; the Jubail export refinery; the Prince Noora University, in Riyadh; other Riyadh-based higher learning institutions and other various industrial initiatives in Jubail and Yanbu. INCREASED OPTIMISM The same rosy outlook must have contributed to increased confidence among the business community in Saudi Arabia. The latest survey released by HSBC says

the kingdom’s index on the level of confidence among businessmen remains at high level, rising marginally to 91.6 in the last quarter from 91.5 during the third quarter of 2009. Kuwait’s index also rose while the UAE, Bahrain and Oman posted decreased indexes. Zeneeh hopes that such a high-level of confidence will be evident in the HVAC industry, and encourage stronger partnerships between the public and the private sectors, in the form of, say, build-operate-transfer (BOT) scheme. He dismisses an idea that Riyadh, given its tremendous assets, would not need any outside help for project investments. “BOT is about commitment, quality of work and good will,” he says, stressing the scheme is also important for technology transfer.

“We believe there are opportunities for new technologies,” Zackariah says. “If the technologies are properly represented and rightly presented to the kingdom’s market, the transfer of technologies is possible.” Saudi Arabia is, indeed, moving in the right direction, with BOT projects and the entry of more private entities in various industries like aviation. Zeneeh cites Emaar, The Economic City and its development, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) as having a BOT project on HVAC, and carriers like Sama and Nasair, private entities that recently launched operations in the kingdom. “We are hoping that the same scheme will be adopted in all other mega projects,” he says. “You have to be very ambitious about the future. Be optimistic.”

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Plug that leak! Dr M Ramaswamy and Dr Khalifa S Al Jabri walk us through the basics of greenhouse and ozone-depleting gases and share tips on refrigerant leakage, good refrigeration practice, recovery and recycling, while stressing the responsibility the HVAC fraternity has towards the planet


ue to environmental concerns, CFCs have already been phased out in developed countries and are in the process of being phased out in developing countries. In this regard, many researchers throughout the world have been working towards finding suitable alternatives to CFCs since the last four decades. Though there are many alternative refrigerants available in the market, in reality, till date, no refrigerant has been able to replace the CFCs which have dominated the refrigeration industry for more than 60 years. This is due to their excellent chemical, thermophysical and thermodynamic properties. However, as a part of the social responsibility towards the community, there is now an urgent need to create awareness about greenhouse and ozonedepleting gases, among the HVAC fraternity, especially among those who are involved in the sector of operation and maintenance of HVAC plants in the Middle East. Greenhouse gases occur both from natural events and from human activities (anthropogenic). It is now widely acknowledged that the increase in the level of these gases has led to an enhanced greenhouse effect, which has been the significant cause of climate change, largely manifested by global warming. Ozone-depleting gases are 44

entirely due to industrial development, and are mainly used in HVAC industries. HFCs were introduced in the market two decades ago to replace these gases. But HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases, whose demand has been increasing exponentially due to increased demand for air conditioning in developing countries. According to the latest predictions by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), coupled by ocean-atmosphere models, show that if emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise as per the current trends, then greenhouse gas concentrations will reach double the pre-industrial levels by 2080. This would produce a global average temperature increase of 2.5ºC, with 3ºC to 4ºC increases over some parts of the Earth, including parts of the Arctic and Antarctic. The evidence that the Earth is warming up comes from Mauna Loa. The table below will help us understand the gravity of the problem. With higher temperature comes more energy driving the Earth’s climatic systems, which in turn causes more violent weather events. Severe storms, floods, droughts, dust storms, sea surges, crumbling coastlines, saltwater intrusion of ground water, failing crops, dying forests, the inundation of low-lying islands and the spread of endemic diseases,


January 2010

The refrigeration and air conditioning industry is one of the major energyconsuming industries, and also responsible for directly emitting ODP and globalwarming gases into the atmosphere.

such as malaria and dengue fever, are all possible effects of global warming. A recent study by a team of researchers from India observed that the Kolahoi glacier – the biggest glacier in Kashmir, India – spread over approximately 11 square kilometres has shrunk to 2.63 kilometres in the past three decades. Recently, a team of researchers from the University of Colorado, USA, have warned that most of the deltas in the world are sinking at rates many times faster than global sea level rise. According to the IPCC, the sea level is expected to rise by another 21 to 71cm by 2070 due to global warming. This will put millions of people living along the deltas at great risk. Though we are not is a position to prevent global warming, we can act to reduce its long-term effects by adopting simple regulations and procedures. The refrigeration and air conditioning industry is one of the major energyconsuming industries, and also responsible for directly emitting ODP and globalwarming gases into the atmosphere.

SYSTEM MAINTENANCE AND MONITORING Regular and meticulous maintenance in the HVAC systems is essential to reduce leakage. Refrigerant leakage

can occur at any time throughout the lifetime of a HVAC plant, and therefore, diligent system maintenance, performance-monitoring and reporting and documentation are the prime responsibilities of the refrigeration and air conditioning service and maintenance engineers. This article briefly reviews refrigerant recovery, reclamation, recycling and safety issues.

CAUSE AND EFFECT OF OZONE DEPLETION AND GLOBAL WARMING Depletion of the ozone layer is caused by chlorine loading of the atmosphere. Ozone is a triatomic form of oxygen (03) and chlorine combines with one of the atoms and strips if off to leave (02), where previously there was ozone 03. CFC refrigerants such as R11, R12 and R502 (which contain CFC115) are released into the atmosphere, and, over time, find their way up into the stratosphere, where the ozone layer is found. CFC refrigerants have a very long lifespan, depleting the ozone layer for up to 150 years. It is estimated that their traces will still be evident 400 years after their release into the atmosphere. The ozone in the stratosphere acts as a filter to ultra-violet B (UVB) radiation. If there is less ozone, more UVB radiation passes through the filter and reaches the Earth. Increased incidence of UVB radiation causes increases in the cases of skin cancer (Melanoma) and glaucoma and may also have other far-reaching consequences on human life because of its detrimental effect on plant and animal life. Global warming is caused due to greenhouse gases. In cold countries, many flowers and vegetables are grown in glass-covered areas called greenhouses. Glass is used to keep the sun’s warmth inside the greenhouse. In the same manner, the atmosphere traps the sun’s heat near the Earth’s surface and keeps the planet warm. This is known as the greenhouse effect because it maintains the temperature and makes the Earth conducive to life. About 75% of the solar energy reaching the Earth is absorbed by the Earth’s surface, which increases its temperature. The rest of the heat radiates back to the atmosphere. Some of the heat is trapped by the gases known as greenhouse gases and add to the heating of the atmosphere. This, in turn, causes global warming. The greenhouse gases are a combination of natural gases and industrial gases. CO2, N2 O and CH4

belong to the first category, while HFCs, PFCs and SF6 belong to the second.

DEFINITIONS OF IMPORTANT TERMS IN REFRIGERANT RECOVERY AND RECYCLING Reclamation: To reprocess refrigerant to at least the purity specified in the ARI Standard 700-1988 – Specifications for Fluorocarbon Refrigerants – and to verify this purity using the analytical test procedures described in the Standard. Recovery: To remove refrigerant in any condition from an appliance and store

it in an external container without necessarily testing or processing it in any way. Recovery efficiency: The percentage of refrigerant in an appliance that is recovered by a piece of recycling or recovery equipment. Recycling: To extract refrigerant from an appliance and clean the refrigerant for reuse without meeting all of the requirements for reclamation. In general, recycled refrigerant is refrigerant that is cleaned using oil separation and single or multiple passes through devices such as replaceable-core filter dryers, which


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perspective is vented by a service engineer to gain access to part of the plant. • Air pure venting: When an automatic air purger discharges an air/refrigerant mixture into the atmosphere. Because of the harmful role played by CFCs and HFCs in ozone depletion and global warming, venting of refrigerants into the atmosphere should not be permitted. This is something HVAC technicians need to be aware of. In order to avoid leakages of refrigerants, technicians need to follow good refrigeration practices.


reduce moisture, acidity and particulate matter.

CAUSES OF LEAKAGE OF REFRIGERANTS Refrigerants can leak from systems at an unacceptably high rate, if left unchecked. In addition, systems with insufficient refrigerant charge use more power than necessary, thus increasing their indirect CO2 emissions. Leaking systems also have a high cost of service and associated downtime. A few of the factors which affect leakage are: • System design and the components used • The type of joint and the quality of brazing • How pipes are routed, supported and clipped • Vibration elimination • The quality of pressure 46

A system that is well specified, designed, installed and maintained should not suffer any significant leakage during its lifetime.


January 2010

and leak testing during commissioning • The age of the equipment and the environment it works in • Standard and suitability of service and maintenance There are four types of refrigerant leakage. These are: • Catastrophic accidental leakage: When a mechanical failure, for example, a ruptured pipe, causes loss of the refrigerant charge. • Gradual accidental leakage: When a slow leak occurs, for example, through a bad seal. Such a leak can go undetected for long periods, as the plant will continue to operate until a significant proportion of the refrigerant has leaked. • Service venting: When a certain amount of refrigerant

Here are a few good refrigeration practices which HVAC technicians can adopt: • Select, check and use appropriate safety and personal protective equipment to protect themselves and the environment. • Identify the type of refrigerant and its state, for example, if it is liquid or vapour. • Identify the condition of the refrigerant, for example, sub-cooled, saturated or superheated. • Connect and remove gauges lines and charging apparatus with minimum contamination and loss to the atmosphere and hazards to health and property. It is very important to leak-test the access points each time gauges are removed from a system. • Where purging of lines is necessary, vapour, and not liquid, should be used and even then, vapour at the lowest practical pressure. • Charge low-pressure side of the system with zeotropic blend in the liquid phase to correct charge level. • Check and test for leaks and take appropriate action if leakages are discovered. • Halide lamps and chlorine electronic detectors should not be used with HFC refrigerants.

plug that leak!

Instead, fluorine detectors must be used for HFCs. • Refrigerant cylinders are under pressure and should always be treated with caution. • Check the physical condition, valves and caps before handling them. • Cylinders should be stored in an upright position (unless designed to lay horizontal), either chained to a fixed upright post or lashed together to prevent falling over. Small cylinders should not be sacked. Cylinders should be clearly labelled with contents and hazards identified, kept out of sunlight and damp and kept away from other heat sources. • Ensure the system by various standard tests for integrity, tightness and cleanliness. • Pressure and leak tests should be carried out with oxygen-free nitrogen at a minimum of 1.1 times the maximum working pressure, often left to stand to check that there is no loss in pressure that would indicate leakage. • Moisture is always a major problem inside refrigeration systems, often entering the system during the installation phase from the atmosphere or with the lubricating oil. Modern synthetic oils are even more hygroscopic than mineral oils. Great care, therefore, must be taken to remove moisture before the refrigerant is added. Triple evacuation is a useful procedure for dehydrating the system.

REFRIGERANT RECOVERY Refrigerant recovery is the term given to the removal of refrigerant from a system for re-use or disposal. Recovery machines come in various shapes and sizes, but the most common types use a small reciprocating compressor as a vapour pump. There are two connections to this vapour pump: i) Inlet or suction connection that connects both sides of the system from which the refrigerant is to be recovered

to the recovery machine via a gauge manifold set ii) Outlet or discharge connection that connects the liquid line of the recovery machine to a recovery cylinder Some machines have cylinders on board for storage of small quantities of refrigerant (up to 1 kilogramme). Since reciprocating vapour compressors are unable to pump liquid, it is necessary for the liquid refrigerant in the system to be vapourised before it can be withdrawn by the recovery machine. Since heat is required to vapourise the liquid refrigerant, it is advisable to provide as much heat to the system as possible by safe practical means. This can be done by keeping evaporator fans running, keeping water flowing in chillers (also prevents freezing), putting warm water in cabinets etc. The recovery machine needs to be protected from taking in liquid by throttling refrigerant flow during the initial stages using the gauge manifold valves, if there is no provision on the recovery machine. Once most of the refrigerant has been recovered from the system to the recovery cylinder, the recovery unit will cycle on its LP control, removing the remainder of the refrigerant vapour. When the recovery unit stops cycling, it implies it has recovered the entire refrigerant it can from the system. It is necessary to clean the recovery machine carefully when switching to another refrigerant. When recovering the refrigerant, it is necessary to remember the following points: • There must be a temperature/pressure difference to cause the refrigerant to flow from the system to a recovery cylinder via the recovery unit. • Keep the system as warm as practically possible; remove low temperature product/ice before recovering. • Keep the recovery cylinder

as cool as possible. This keeps the flow rate of recovered refrigerant up. • For larger systems, use a ‘buffer cylinder’ to extract the liquid first, to speed up the process. • Limit the suction pressure for the recovery unit compressor to maximise its useful life. • When necessary, use external ‘burn out’ driers to maximise the recovery unit compressor life. • The recovery cylinder should be clearly marked and/or labelled regarding its intended contents. Since there will often be oil recovered, with the liquid refrigerants, make sure that the recovery cylinder is not filled to more than 70 to 75% of its maximum capacity. • Disconnect gauges, lines, recovery equipment and cylinder, with minimum loss to atmosphere and hazards to

A majority of the refrigeration technicians who are working in the unorganised sectors are not aware of the damage they cause to the environment due to their ignorance.

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The practice of decanting refrigerant from a large cylinder to smaller service cylinders is a source of hazard and refrigerant release. The following points need to be noted: • Never overfill a cylinder. Always fill by weight and do it with extreme care. In an overfilled cylinder, each degree rise in temperature can result in a pressure rise of 100psi. • A refrigerant will flow from a warmer to a cooler cylinder. Cool service cylinders in a fridge or freezer, never by purging into the atmosphere. • Keep charging lines short and inspect regularly.


mobile no.: date: signature: Due to overwhelming response, only paid subscriptions will guarantee receiving every issue of the magazine.


health and property. • Prepare cylinder for transportation in compliance with regulations. The cylinder must be safe, clearly marked and sealed against loss to atmosphere. Recovery cylinders in use must be clearly labelled as to their contents. The label should identify the grade or type, the weight, the site from which it was recovered and the weight. • Methods of field-testing recovered refrigerant and/or oil for contamination need to be specified in order to decide whether it is fit for re-use in the same equipment or should be sent for re-cycling/reprocessing. • Liquid refrigerant may be recovered by decanting, buffering or by push-pull techniques, all of which may cause oil to leave the system with the refrigerant liquid. • Vapour refrigerant is normally drawn out by the suction of the recovery machine and compressed and condensed into the recovery cylinder.


my purchasing authority is:



January 2010

A system that is well specified, designed, installed and maintained should not suffer any significant leakage during its lifetime. Therefore, as a policy, employing a contractor

who firmly believes in the need to reduce all refrigerant leakage and understands the impact of leakage on system efficiency and energy costs, could go a long way in managing leakages. HVAC engineers need to ensure, through accurate refrigerant reporting, that the contractors and suppliers of refrigeration units identify and repair all leaks and use the knowledge and experience to correct the potential for leakage on other systems. Engineers have certain social responsibilities. HVAC engineers, especially from GCC countries, have a role to play in saving our planet. This role has become more crucial than ever now, as refrigeration and air conditioning are integral parts of modern lifestyle in this part of this world, due to adverse climatic conditions throughout the year. A majority of the refrigeration technicians who are working in the unorganised sectors are not aware of the damage they cause to the environment due to their ignorance. It is, therefore, the prime responsibility of HVAC engineers to educate endusers and train operators to recover, recyle, retrofit and to work actively and positively to reduce refrigerant loss into the atmosphere. If we do not act now, then there will be no time to act in the future. It’s time to work and pool our expertise to train the trainers to spread the refrigerant recovery, reclamation and retrofit techniques among the HVAC fraternity in the GCC countries. Dr M Ramaswamy is Technical Expert, Royal Court Affairs, Sultanate of Oman. He can be contacted at: mrswamy@ Dr Khalifa S Al Jabri is Associate Professor, College of Engineering, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman. He can be contacted at:

case-in point

Looking to the sun When a new cold-storage facility opened in San Diego County, California, about a year ago, the team behind it made sure it wasn’t going to be just another energydraining industrial building.


t was a tall order – a ground-breaking design, solar-powered and expected to cut energy costs by 75%. This achieved, the 134,511-square-foot cold storage building for Innovative Cold Storage Enterprises Inc. (ICE), San Diego, is now on track to attain the gold certification from the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) programme, thanks to teamwork. C&L Refrigeration was a part of the team. The cold storage building was a collaborative effort spearheaded by El Cajon, California-based Hamman 50

Companies, SunPower Corporation of San Jose, ICE, and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). It took a 10-person design team and more than 40 subcontractors to address and resolve the challenges of creating a LEED-compliant, solar-powered, energyefficient cold storage facility. C&L Refrigeration was called in to resolve refrigeration challenges involving the building design, integration of the refrigeration system with the solar panels, and handling wastewater generated from the refrigeration system. C&L stepped up to the plate.


January 2010

CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS Challenge: The solar panels on the roof needed to provide the power for the refrigeration system during the hottest part of the day. Solution: The C&L Refrigeration control system was integrated with the solar panel control system. This ensured that during the hottest part of the day when energy is most expensive, the refrigeration output is lowered to meet the available power from the solar panels. This is accomplished by adjusting the frequency on variable speed drives of each compressor. Challenge: Reducing heat load to attain a 75% more efficient building. Solution: “Going vertical was very important, because there’s the same squarefootage on the roof, but more storage space inside,” said C&L Project Engineer, Tom Dosch. Because the roof is the biggest source of heat and 90% of a cold storage facility’s energy bill comes from refrigeration, having more storage space without increasing the size of the roof reduces the overall power needs. Challenge: Minimising water usage and recycling waste water.

Solution: C&L designed a way to minimise the amount of water used from the cooling tower and devised a plan to store and use wastewater for irrigation, saving about 42,000 gallons of water each month. Then they designed a way to store the defrosted water from the evaporators and use it to operate the building’s lowvolume toilets. “That may have never been done before,” said Ron Cassell, President of C&L. Challenge: A 60-foot ceiling height was 25 feet taller than is typical for cold storage facilities. That meant the evaporators – usually suspended from the ceiling – would have to be moved in order to be more accessible for maintenance. Solution: C&L designed ‘penthouses’ on the roof for the evaporators. Having the evaporators on the roof allowed for easy access for maintenance. It also allowed for having just a few large evaporators rather than many small evaporators. Challenge: Leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Solution: C&L chose highefficiency ammonia screw compressors, instead of the more common halocarbon refrigerants, which is ozonedepleting. Ammonia, a naturally occurring compound,

Because ICE has another, older cold storage building, it will be possible to compare energy usage. The new building is expected to store four times as much product at half the cost of ICE’s first building.

January 2010

has zero-ozone depletion potential, Dosch said.

OBJECTIVE AND RESULT As a result of the efforts of the team, the building will be able to: • Reduce energy costs by about 75% by producing the majority of the energy with solar panels. This also reduces CO2 emissions. • Provide more storage capacity (6.5 million cubic feet) using less power. Since ICE has another, older cold storage building, it will be possible to compare energy usage. The new building is expected to store four times as much product at half the cost of ICE’s first building. The ICEII building received $225,000 of incentive funding from SDG&E for the energyefficient features, through the company’s Sustainable Communities Programme. Now it will be a model for future buildings. C&L plans to leverage its experience with this cold storage facility to other applications for clients. The company will seek ways to apply LEED standards to existing buildings and maintenance efficiencies, as well as to new construction. “There’s a good future in green technology for industrial applications and we’re committed to being a leader in that,” Cassell said. “Customers always have wanted us to innovate and be more efficient.” CLIMATE CONTROL MIDDLE EAST



DC versus DS The Digital Scroll-based VRF system demonstrates significantly superior performance during high ambient operations, compared to the DC inverter system, argues Uday Mahadeokar and arup majumdar THE BACKGROUND In the first part of this series, we had talked about an emerging global trend in the air-conditioning industry – capacity-modulated (Variable Refrigerant Flow) air-conditioning systems as a preferred choice for both residential and commercial applications. There are two technologies that can provide a/c system capacity modulation – inverter and Digital Scroll. In the first article, we had explained how the Copeland Scroll works and the principle behind the operation of the Digital Scroll technology. We concluded the article by explaining some of the key advantages of the Digital Scroll technology. In this article, we are going to provide a more detailed analysis and a comparison between the DC inverter and Digital Scroll. We are also going to discuss the challenge of measuring the energy efficiency of VRF systems and finally talk about the advances that are happening on the Digital Scroll platform – equipping the Digital Scroll compressor with enhanced vapour injection technology.

COMPARISON BETWEEN DIGITAL SCROLL AND DC INVERTER (SCROLL OR ROTARY- BASED) TECHNOLOGY How the inverter compressor works: Before we go into the finer details of the comparison between the two 52

technologies, we shall explain briefly how the inverter technology operates. An inverter uses a permanent magnet DC motor on the compressor and an external inverter drive that provides the variable frequency/voltage to the compressor motor. When the motor gets the variable frequency signal, it rotates at a variable speed. So if a 60Hz signal is given to the compressor motor, the compressor spins at 3,600 rpm. If the frequency goes to 90 Hz, the motor spins at 5,400 Hz. Depending on the manufacturer, the range of frequency delivered by the inverter driver can be from 28 Hz to 110 Hz. Chart 1 explains this conversion process pictorially and the energy losses that occur during the power conversion process. The AC signal goes to a converter that changes the AC power to DC power. The system controller determines the amount of cooling that needs to be delivered by the compressor, and that, in turn, determines the compressor speed. The Intelligent Power Module (IPM) manages this requirement and converts the DC power to the appropriate compressor motor speed. There are, therefore, two conversions that can potentially take place: if the compressor has an AC motor, then the power is converted from AC-DC-AC. But if it is a DC-driven motor, the power gets converted from AC-DC. Most of the inverter systems made today by the


January 2010

modulation with inverter

Chart 1: Modulation mechanism with inverters

The beauty of the Digital Scroll technology is its inherent simplicity.

Japanese manufacturers are DC inverters, and therefore, losses only occur during the AC-DC conversion phase. The conversion loss can be anywhere from seven per cent to 15%, depending on the manufacturer. Very good inverters typically have five per cent conversion losses. If there are two sets of inverters (as the ones sold in India through a leading Japanese OEM), then the losses are multiplied twice.

How the Digital Scroll compressor works: The beauty of the Digital Scroll technology is its inherent simplicity. There are two scroll elements in the Copeland Digital Scroll – fixed scroll and orbiting scroll. During the normal compression process, the two scrolls are always held together with the optimal force in the vertical direction. However, through some mechanism, if the fixed scroll

Scroll movement during operation

Scroll movement by 1.0mm

is ‘unfixed’ and is lifted by only 1mm, there would be no gas compression, even though the motor and the orbiting scrolls are moving. This is the simple mechanism governing the Digital Scroll. The fixed scroll on the top is moved up by 1mm (in order to get no compression) and pushed down and meshed with the orbiting scroll (in order to get compression). The up and down movement of the fixed scroll is achieved through a pressure differential/spring arrangement inside the compressor and is actuated by an external solenoid valve. A 220V to the external solenoid valve makes the fixed scroll go up by 1mm and 0V to the solenoid engages the two scrolls back again. This is shown

conceptually in Chart 2. The Digital Scroll operates in two stages – the ‘loaded state’, when the solenoid valve is normally closed (0V to solenoid coil) and ‘unloaded state’, when the solenoid valve is open (220V to solenoid coil). During the loaded state, the compressor operates like a standard scroll and delivers full capacity and mass flow. However, during the unloaded state, there is no capacity and no mass flow through the compressor and during the unloaded stage the compressor consumes only 10% of the full load power. The two states of the Digital Scroll are shown in Chart 3. At this stage, let us introduce the concept of a cycle time. A cycle time consists of a ‘Loaded State’ time and ‘Unloaded State’

modulation mechanism

Loading and unloading of the Digital Scroll

The consumer has not asked for the additional capacity. But the system has needlessly provided extra capacity and consumed extra power only because it had to ensure that the oil was returned to the compressor for safety reason.

time. The duration of these two-time segments determine the capacity modulation of the compressor. For example, in a 10-second cycle time, if the loaded state time is two seconds and the unloaded state time is eight seconds, the compressor modulation is (2 seconds x 100% + 8 seconds x 0%)/ 10 = 20% (refer to Chart 3). If, for the same cycle time, the loaded state time is 5.0 seconds and the unloaded state time is 5.0 seconds, the compressor modulation is 50%. The capacity is a time averaged summation of the loaded state and unloaded state. By varying the loaded state time and unloaded state time, any capacity (10%-100%) can be delivered.

Operating envelope of the compressor: The operating envelopes of the Copeland Digital Scroll is shown in Chart 4. Any compressor only sees the suction temperature/ pressure and the discharge temperature/pressure. The saturated suction and discharge pressures are plotted as the x-axis and y-axis in Chart 4. The Digital Scroll compressor can operate anywhere within this operating envelope without any bearing on the reliability. The operating envelope of the inverter scroll is much more complicated.

digital scroll operating envelope

Operating envelope of Copeland Scroll January 2010



perspective There are specific areas in the map that the inverter scroll cannot operate due to the constraint on oil return, discharge temperature, etc. That is the main reason why the design of the inverter scroll/rotary is very complicated and needs complicated algorithm to ensure reliable operation.

Simplicity of design: The Digital Scroll needs a 220V signal to modulate and provide variable capacity. The inverter technology, due to the inherent complexity, has a fairly complicated mechanical and electronic architecture. Following pictures will explain this more clearly. Image 5 shows an 8HP DC rotary inverter that is sold in India by a leading Japanese manufacturer. There are 11 solenoid valves in this system, along with several other hardware for handling liquid refrigerant and oil. There are several reasons behind the complex mechanical architecture – in this system, the compressor technology used is rotary, and there are two rotaries, both of which are inverter-driven. Typical rotaries are used in smaller room a/c systems and they are unable to handle large amount of liquid. Since VRF systems have a large amount of liquid, several layers of protection have to be

built in, to protect the system. This is one of the reasons the design engineer has used so many valves/bypasses/oil balance mechanism. This can be compared with a 21Hp Digital Scroll system that has three compressors. Image 6 shows the simplified mechanical architecture of this system (see chart 6). The difference between the two technologies from an electronic architectural point of view is also striking. Image 7 shows the DC inverter electronics on the left for a 10HP system and a similar electronic architecture for a Digital Scroll system on the right (see chart 7). As can be easily seen, the simplification of the digitalbased system is significant.

Chart 6: Mechanical architecture with Digital Scroll simplicity in controls

Oil return mechanisms: Digital Scroll: The oil return mechanism in the Digital Scroll system is very simple. The normal oil circulation rate for a Copeland Scroll is around one per cent. It means that one per cent of oil leaves the compressor during the compression process. Oil circulation is measured as the percentage of oil in the discharge gas that leaves the compressor. In the case of the Digital Scroll, oil only leaves the compressor during the loaded state. No oil leaves the compressor during the unloaded state. So, the average

japanese inverter 8hp

Rotary Inverter system mechanical architecture 54

digital vrf 21hp system tubing layout


January 2010

5x 3x Complex Complex

Electronic Hardware Valves Oil Management Programming

x x Simple Simple

Chart 7: Electronic architecture: comparison between inverter and Digital Scroll

The system cooling capacity drops due to reliability concerns. This is not desirable from an enduser point of view, because when the room demand is high in summer, the cooling capacity from an inverter system is inadequate.

oil circulation rate is always less than one per cent. Apart from that, even when the oil leaves the compressor during the loaded state, the gas velocity is strong enough to push and return the oil back to the compressor. Therefore, for any Digital Scroll system upto 6HP, there is no need to have any special oil recovery mechanism. For larger systems, where the pipe length can be over 150 meters, OEMs normally use an oil separator for added safety. The oil separator is a physical device that is brazed in the discharge line. Inverter systems: All inverter systems need complicated oil return mechanism, the reason being the variable oil circulation rate in the inverter compressor. When the inverter compressor

dc versus ds

operates at 50Hz, it has an oil circulation rate in the range of 1-2%. At 50 Hz, the speed of the motor is approximately 3,000 RPM. At 90 Hz, the speed of the motor is well over 5,500 RPM and a lot of oil leaves the compressor. Similarly, when the speed drops to 30 Hz, the speed of the motor drops to 1,800 Hz and the oil circulation rate can be less than 1%. Higher oil delivery means that more oil is now coating the surface of the heat exchangers, and that reduces the heat transfer co-efficient of the heat exchangers and reduces the EER of the system. At low RPM, there is not enough gas velocity to return the oil back to the compressor. There are two methods that are employed in every inverter system – oil separator and oil return cycle. The oil separator is a physical device that is brazed at the compressor discharge to try to trap the oil and return it to the suction line. But the oil separator has limited efficiency and so an oil return cycle is used. Approximately, every two hours, the inverter compressor increases the speed of the compressor motor for about 10 minutes. During this period, the mass flow and gas velocity of the refrigerant increases and it pushes all the oil that is residing in various parts of the system, including

the long pipe length, to return to the compressor. But this operation is not efficient. When the motor speed goes up, the input power consumption of the motor also goes up. The cooling capacity delivered also goes up. In case the room demand is not high, the bypass solenoid valves open to bypass the additional capacity. This is a complete waste of energy, as also the additional consumption of power to speed up the compressor motor. More important, the consumer has not asked for the additional capacity. But the system has needlessly provided extra capacity and consumed extra power only because it had to ensure that the oil was returned to the compressor for safety reason. If this cumulative power consumption is measured over a one-year period, all these wastages can be accurately calculated.

High ambient operation:

While these numbers look good in a catalogue, they are not a true measure of the real performance of the system. The seasonal performance has to be measured in order to conduct a real comparison.

A 5HP DC inverter system was tested at the Emerson testing facility. The indoor temperature was kept at 27ºC dry bulb and 19ºC wet bulb and the ambient temperature was slowly raised and the cooling capacity was measured. Once the DC inverter was tested, the DC Scroll compressor was taken out and the Digital Scroll was dropped into the chassis. It was, therefore, a back-toback test, done with the same hardware. Chart 8 shows the cooling capacity. As can be seen from Chart 8, at temperatures above 40ºC, the capacity of the DC inverter system starts to drop sharply while the Digital Scroll-based system continues to deliver higher capacity. The reason the inverter capacity drops is because at high ambient conditions, the compressor RPM increases significantly, and as has

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cooling capacity on a hot day id 27/19c


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perspective been explained before, the inverter cannot operate at high speed for extended periods of time. The system cooling capacity, therefore, drops due to reliability concerns. This is not desirable from an end-user point of view, because when the room demand is high in summer, the cooling capacity from an inverter system is inadequate.

Efficiency performance/ life cycle cost comparison: Measuring the energy efficiency of a variable capacity system (VRF system) is complex, the reason being, there are several variables that can be changed while conducting the measurement. For example, the performance of the system will depend on the number of indoor units that are used during the testing of a multi-split VRF system. If many indoor units with higher indoor air-flow are used, the evaporating temperatures will be higher, and the system EER will also be higher. Since the capacity of the system is variable, the system can also be tested at lower capacities. At lower capacities, the condensing temperatures will be lower, and the evaporating temperature will be higher. If the system is tested under such conditions, the system EER will be higher. This, essentially, means that reporting the performance of a VRF system is quite complicated. The other complexity relates to the absence of widely accepted standard for VRF systems. Typically, VRF manufacturers have reported EER or COP numbers that are exceptionally high. These numbers are single-point data and are reported under very benign test conditions (lower capacity, higher air-flows, larger indoor coils, using a test mode that bypasses the inverter circuit, etc). While these numbers look good in a catalogue, they are not a true measure of the real 56

energy efficiency performance

system and the second was the latest rotary DC inverter system. Chart 9 shows the comparative performance of the three systems. The result has an interesting implication – inverters made by different manufacturers are not the same and they all have different efficiencies. (see chart 9).

Life cycle cost: IPLV – Integrated part load value (measure of seasonal efficiency)

Chart 9: Comparison of Digital Scroll system, DC Scroll and DC rotary inverter

performance of the system. The seasonal performance has to be measured in order to conduct a real comparison. ARI 210/240 and ARI 340/360 lays down a method of measuring the true performance of a variable capacity system. It recommends the measurement of Integrated Part Load Value (IPLV). IPLV measures the EER at four operating points – capacity steps of 100%, 75%, 50% and 25%. It then applies weight factors to each of these four points and summarises a single number called IPLV. For example, if the IPLV of a 10HP system were to be measured, four indoor units of 2.5 HP have to be used. EER data has to be measured at 100% capacity, when all the indoor units are on. At the 75% point, one indoor unit is switched off and the EER is measured. At the 50% point, two indoor units are turned off and the EER is measured. For the 25% point, three indoor units are turned off and the EER is measured. Once these four are measured, weight factors are applied and the IPLV is calculated. A 10-HP Digital Scrollbased system was tested in an independent laboratory in China, based on the IPLV standards, and for the purpose of comparison, two other inverter systems were tested. The first was the latest DC Scroll inverter


January 2010

Further advancement and refinement in the field of heat exchange technology are going to be incremental improvements and not quantum performance jumps.

The energy efficiency of a VRF a/c system depends on a number of factors – the compression mechanism, the heat transfer components – coils and fans, and the mechanical and electronic architecture. The heat transfer is a relatively mature area, and most OEMs have optimised their coil and fan technology to a great extent. Further advancement and refinement in the field of heat exchange technology are going to be incremental improvements and not quantum performance jumps. The factor that contributes a great deal to the performance of a system is the mechanical and electronic architecture. The length of piping and the number of solenoid valves in the outdoor unit determines efficiency. Pressure losses are certain to happen whenever long pipe lengths are used. Whenever gas passes through a solenoid valve, pressure losses are bound to happen. And any pressure loss on the low side affects the COP/EER of the system. The DC inverter rotary system has a significant length of copper piping in the outdoor unit. It also has 11 solenoid valves. Laws of Physics tell us that there will be pressure losses that will affect the COP of the system. The electronic architecture is a good indicator of losses too. If large electronic boards and circuits are present in a machine, there are heat sinks that are provided. The heat sinks serve to dissipate

dc versus ds

the heat that is generated by the electronics. This heat is a waste, and affects the COP/ EER of the system. Larger the heat sink, more the waste. The inverter systems have heat sinks and they translate into waste of energy. Oil recovery management in the inverter consumes excess energy. The compressor operates at high speed and the input KW increases. This is not desirable from the viewpoint of the end-user and so, in effect, is a waste of energy. Considering all these factors, it is clear that even IPLV is not a very good indicator of the true life cycle cost of a system. The

The result has an interesting implication –inverters made by different manufacturers are not the same and they all have different efficiencies.

energy losses associated with bypassing and/or oil recovery is never captured in the IPLV testing. But in a real-life operation of a system, these functions happen regularly and contribute to the higher operating KW for the inverter systems.

Summary As can be understood from the evidence provided through the comparative analysis across several parameters, the Digital Scroll technology has distinct advantages over the Japanese inverter technology. Global markets will have to consider many geographical challenges while adopting new

January 2010

technologies – availability of a stable source of electricity, ambient temperatures, atmospheric cleanliness and the quality and availability of skilled technicians in the country. The Digital Scroll platform allows an OEM to build a highly reliable and efficient VRF system. Uday Mahadeokar is Marketing Manager A/C for Emerson Climate Technologies ME & Africa based in Dubai. He can be contacted at Uday. Arup Majumdar is Global Program Director – A/C Modulation, for Emerson Climate Technologies Asia Pacific, based in Hong Kong.




Grooved for sustainability Mechanical grooved piping systems provide an economical, safe and energy-efficient alternative, argues Larry Thau.


ustainable design involves more than just site orientation and energy-saving construction techniques. What goes into a building by way of infrastructure is equally important. Well-planned HVAC, plumbing and other mechanical engineering systems are essential to making a building sustainable throughout its life cycle.

PROVEN TRACK RECORD Mechanical grooved piping was developed by Victaulic during World War I to rapidly deploy essential resources like fuel and water to the allies. It was first made available to the commercial piping industry in 1925. Through the years, mechanical piping systems were increasingly used on HVAC,

The flame-free installation of mechanical pipe joints are inherently safer and easier to work with, leading to safer jobsites for workers and less impact on the environment. 58


January 2010

During installation, mechanical grooved piping systems significantly reduce or eliminate waste, emissions and noise pollution on the jobsite providing a safer and healthier environment.

plumbing and fire protection applications due to the time and labour-savings associated with such installations. Today, grooved piping systems are being used as an alternative to soldering and brazing for potable water distribution, equipment connections on pumps, water softeners and filters, as well as drain, waste and vent piping, and other industrial applications. Grooved systems employ a proven roll grooving process to join pipes, valves and other components. Using a two-bolt coupling design, pipe fitters can make rugged, secure joints quickly and easily using only basic hand tools. And with a union at every joint, contractors have maximum field flexibility for on-site decision making. All couplings are sealed for optimum integrity with a durable elastomeric gasket designed to withstand years of sustained high compressive and cyclical loads. Grooved joining technology is rooted in sustainability; its inherent qualities naturally make it environmentally friendly. Even before the evolution of the green building, the grooved piping system has been providing a more efficient, cleaner and safer system when compared with other pipe joining methods, such as welding, soldering or brazing.

Reducing the need for welding, soldering or brazing means better air quality, less particulate matter released into the atmosphere and decreased fire risk. There is also less material waste, reducing site impact. Indoor and outdoor-air quality is preserved because there are no fumes or particulate matter to endanger workers or the environment. Most critically, Victaulic products are made from a combination of natural and recycled resources using lean, responsible manufacturing processes. In fact 90% of the steel used is recycled, and the products are manufactured using natural elements of fire, sand, water and air. At Victaulic, products are painted using a dip-coating application, which, unlike spray painting, does not atomise so they are not sources of regulated pollutant emissions. In addition, dipcoating eliminates the need for volatile solvents that are used to thin paints in the spray painting process. The manufacture of mechanical systems requires the use of sand moulds. Reusing of sand by Victaulic for the moulding of its products limits the use of additional raw materials, and its sand reclamation programme has reduced the amount of sand sent to landfills by up to 70 tonnes per week from its US operations alone.

SUSTAINABLE JOBSITES During installation, mechanical grooved piping systems significantly reduce or eliminate waste, emissions and noise pollution on the jobsite providing a safer and healthier environment. The reduced need for soldering cuts down emissions on the jobsite. By-products of solder fumes can contain lead oxide, carbon monoxide, VOC (volatile organic compounds)

and hydrochloric acid in addition to many other harmful particles and gases. In 2007 alone, the use of Victaulic grooved mechanical pipe couplings in lieu of welding on HVAC piping systems reduced airborne weld emissions by 145 metric tonnes of particulate matter, which is equivalent to eliminating the airborne pollution of one million cars on the road for a month. The elimination of these harmful pollutants means less air-borne pollution providing for a more sustainable environment, but also a safer jobsite during construction, maintenance or retrofit work. Pipes that are joined by welding or soldering require the use of vast amounts of electricity for prolonged periods of time, consuming up to 4000 watts of energy per hour on a 200mm (DN200) joint. On the other hand, a grooved mechanical pipe joint does not require the use of electricity during installation, reducing the demand on already burdened power resources. The installation of a grooved mechanical joint is cleaner than soldered joints, and so reduces on-site job waste. Unlike soldering and brazing methods, grooved mechanical joints do not require flux to seal the joint, which must be flushed and cleaned from the system prior to operation. Additionally, soldered systems often require as much as 35% re-work for failures discovered when pressurising and testing the completed system, which requires additional resources. Grooved mechanical pipe joints can be visually inspected for proper installation so re-work is minimal, saving energy, resources and time on the job. And grooved systems generally are easier to align and rotate.

Grooved mechanical pipe joints can be visually inspected for proper installation so re-work is minimal, saving energy, resources and time on the job. And grooved systems generally are easier to align and rotate.

single largest operating cost (Energy Star). The Energy Systems Lab at Texas A&M University indicated that energy use in buildings could be reduced from 10 to 40% by improving operational strategies in buildings, including maintenance strategies. In a plumbing system, booster pumps and strainers need routine maintenance to operate efficiently, and less deferred maintenance means a higher level of energy efficiency. With soldered or brazed piping systems, accessing valves, strainers, pumps and water softeners is often a timeconsuming and inconvenient process due to system shutdown and drainage. The more difficult the process, the more likely the maintenance will be deferred. Mechanical pipe joining systems provide an optimal way to effectively

WITH AN EYE ON THE FUTURE Energy costs typically represent 30% of a building’s annual budget and are the January 2010




Grooved piping systems have a union at every joint for easy re-routing during system expansion.

maintain piping systems in structures, thereby reducing the deferral of maintenance and promoting operating efficiency and saving money. Their ease of installation and ability to disassemble and reinstall the same components make them a simple and ideal solution for the frequent performance of both routine and unscheduled maintenance. For access to a grooved piping system, a maintenance person simply loosens the two coupling bolts. Grooved piping systems can also be installed wet or dry to speed the maintenance process. Additionally, mechanical pipe joining systems are a safe alternative for maintaining piping systems in specialty facilities where open flames could potentially create a hazardous environment. Apart from routine maintenance, it is sometimes necessary to join two existing systems within a structure. In space planning and refurbishment projects, the grooved system is easily re-routed due to a union at every joint. There is no time required to drain the piping system, and grooved 60

mechanical pipe joints can be installed on wet lines. Operating efficiency can be maintained during retrofit work, and systems can remain live because properly placed butterfly valves provide ‘deadend’ shutoff service for isolation. Additionally, owners can engage in retrofit projects in occupied buildings without having to vacate the space because mechanical grooved piping re-work does not negatively affect indoor air quality or introduce a fire hazard. Less deferred maintenance means peak energy efficiency and operation of buildings, and reduced overall costs. Organisations that have implemented comprehensive maintenance programmes find that their total costs can be as much as 50% lower than the costs for those organisations that continue to defer routine maintenance. Facilities in which proper HVAC maintenance is completed will use at least 15 to 20% less energy than those where systems are allowed to deteriorate. (Source: Piper, James PE, “HVAC Maintenance and Energy


January 2010

Mechanical pipe joining systems provide an optimal way to effectively maintain piping systems in structures, thereby reducing the deferral of maintenance and promoting operating efficiency and saving money.

Savings”, Building Operating Management, March 2009). Repairs for equipment and buildings that have not been well-maintained are often higher than the estimated maintenance costs. Given the busy agendas and budget constraints in today’s industry, it is easy to see why familiar procedures are replicated. But in reality, tried and tested alternatives to welded pipe joining can have huge impact on both the immediate and future economic and sustainability returns.

The author is Chief Technical Officer at Victaulic. He can be contacted at


French Connection Jean François Chartrain, the COO of Marafeq Qatar, brings to the region a wealth of experience in district cooling, having worked on the challenging assignment of laying an extensive chilled water network in the heart of Paris. Here, he shares his insights on greenfield developments and on project finance. MY BACKGROUND I come from the western part of France. My family is from Jarze, a very small village in the countryside. My father was an engineer in the oil and gas industry. I became an engineer, because I had a special interest in engineering and science and a natural curiosity for techniques. I like to see things moving ahead. And I love to contribute to projects that are beneficial to people, in general. And when you are an engineer, you can contribute.

KEEPING PARIS COOL I have moved 23 times since I was born. I earned my engineering degree in 1997 from the National Superior School of Electrical and Mechanical (ENSEM). I went into the Navy for 18 months and started to work at the end of 1998 as a consultant for Engevalor, in Lyon. The company dealt in district cooling, district heating, waste collection, waste treatment, power generation, energy and environment. I worked on a number of projects. I worked for the construction of big heating plants in Paris. I also worked for the construction of a big incineration plant in the south of France. In 2002, I joined the Suez Group to work for the district cooling and the district heating of Paris. Before I get into a description of this assignment, I must go into a bit of history. It had so happened that in 1991, Jacques Chirac, who was the Mayor of Paris, visited New York City, and got a bird’s eye view of the city. What he saw was a modern urban landscape, with a lot of cooling towers and plumes. He was of the opinion that such a sight would not be suitable for Paris, 62


January 2010

Jean François Chartrain, the COO of Marafeq Qatar

with its low-rise buildings, I mean, you cannot imagine a plume over the Louvre! So he decided to go with district cooling for Paris. And that’s where I came in, as a member of the Suez Group. Working on the project was a very interesting experience, considering that we had to face a number of constraints. Our customers included places like the Louvre, the Ritz Hotel and the Opera de Paris. In other words, we had prestigious customers with high expectations, in terms of the quality of service. The mandate was to provide 100% reliable service for a building. Another challenge was that we couldn’t have district cooling plants above the ground inside old Paris. The plants, and the cooling towers, had to be underground. In Champs-Élysées, we had to lay the piping in the ground. This demanded strong coordination between technical services in the municipality and the district cooling provider. It sometimes took two years to set up and lay 20 metres of piping under the Élysées. When you have such prestigious customers, satisfying their demands becomes top priority. Also, when you have a strong municipality, like the Paris Municipality, you have to convince them that district cooling is essential. You need to take care to minimise the impact on traffic, walkways and shops in the street. Apart from these, there were other problems you needed to negotiate, like neighbours complaining. Sometimes, the challenge could take the form of laying a pipe under the window of a minister. Yes, the project was challenging, but it was worth it. Sometimes, the gratification can come from unexpected quarters. For example, about two months ago, a tenant of a shop sent a letter of satisfaction commending the quality of the job we had done. Looking back, there were many benefits, thanks to the project. It has been now 18 years, and each year, on an average, they build three to four kilometres of network. The development of a district cooling system in Paris, indeed, continues to be a challenge.

number of new cities have been sprouting, and which we had identified. The Suez Group can deal with a lot of utilities and enjoys a good relationship with municipalities. We can help properly design utilities and develop synergy between utilities. So one of the strategic goals was to explore the GCC markets and the Far East. In early 2008, the Qatari Diar Chairman signed an agreement to form Marafeq, to provide utilities to Barwa Real Estate Company and Qatari Diar. (Marafeq, of course, is a common venture involving GDF Suez, Qatari Diar and Barwa.) On a

personal front, I moved to Qatar. I have been living in Qatar for over a year now. Prior to that, for two and a half years, I had been visiting Qatar.

NEGOTIATING ROADBLOCKS The challenge here in Qatar is that the country is new to the concept of introducing private operators to sustain the development of Qatar and to optimise investment and operations, of not only utilities, but also services to the end-user. The concept of private capital is very new. To give an example,

TRANSPLANTING TO THE MIDDLE EAST After an interesting tenure in Paris, I travelled to the Middle East. The move was part of a Suez Group drive to develop specific interests in the region. Generally speaking, the Suez Group decided to focus on new cities of the world, especially in the Middle East and in China, where a January 2010




Because we believe we are a group that can deal with a lot of utilities and have a good relationship with municipalities, we can help properly design utilities and develop

we can see how difficult it is to find a taxi in Qatar. Private companies usually bring with them efficiency and flexibility to find out the best way to satisfy the customers’ needs. Here, in Qatar, it is a new concept to have private companies. People in Qatar have very high expectations on the quality of service. They expect quick delivery, but because of the past, they don’t have a good experience of the value of services as a frame of reference. So it is, in the case of electricity and water. And obviously, if we want to start a utility fully paid by means of an end-user fee, the utility will be apparently very expensive, because it is not subsidised. To overcome this challenge, first of all, we have to prove that we are efficient. Sometimes, it is a political issue. In Europe, it harks back to the old debate: the difference in the price of water when the municipality manages it and when a private company manages it. When it was in private hands, people complained, because they felt the shareholders benefited from it. But they did not complain when the municipality was involved, even if it was not as efficient as it was earlier, when it was run by private companies. So it is a matter of perception. One way of changing the perception is by convincing people here by providing a highly reliable service. At the government level, it is a political decision to install a district cooling system and to enforce buildings to connect to a utility, so that they benefit from the resultant efficiency. The move to go in for district cooling, even if it proves to be more expensive

in the beginning, will be beneficial over the years, because it will lower energy consumption and the architectural environment will be better. When the Mayor of Paris took the decision to go in for district cooling, it was an expensive decision, but today, there is a tangible benefit. We can hear the opera in Paris without any difficulty!

EXPERIENCE COUNTS We have already established about seven to 10 district cooling schemes all over the world, with different municipalities and customers – old cities and greenfield developments. Thanks to 30 years of experience, we have several business models. Since we know the concept and the risks involved, we are able to propose projects from a technical, contractual and financial perspective and also to advise about the most sustainable option. Also, when we look at the district cooling market in the GCC, we can see the mistakes that have been made. And everybody talks about the mistakes; it is part of the process of education through experience. As far as we are concerned, we can set up projects according to the real capacity. Though we are not in a position to forecast the capacity, we can get close to it. Since we are at the very beginning of the value chain and also at the very end, by operating the system – owing to our organisation and our business model – we have a strong incentive to be close to the real demand. And of course, we need to introduce flexibility in the project to take into account the uncertainty of developments and occupancy. The uncertainty is huge. In the UAE, the problem faced by some developer-utility teams was probably owing to a lack of communication. Perhaps the developer was overoptimistic and probably, the utility provider was not experienced enough to give the correct load profile. Sharing of information and coordination is crucial in greenfields. In Qatar, we have a strong relationship with Qatari Diar, and we communicate with each other. Yes, I would say, we have learnt from mistakes that Dubai committed. Dubai has been an eye-opener for us. And by the way, district cooling is a very small world.

MONEY MATTERS When GDF and Suez merged, in 2008, the chairman, Gérard Mestrallet, said, “Thanks to the merger, we 64


January 2010

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endpoint Qatar cannot continue to develop without the support of the banks. So, a collaboration of banks and private players, like us, is essential to support projects.

will be positive in the coming years. The company has 10 billion Euros to invest every year the world over in all activities, from nuclear plants to district cooling and from district heating to LNG. A part of the investment is dedicated to the development of district cooling and district heating in new cities. The money will help raise debt more easily. The coming months will tell us how. Having said that, Qatar cannot continue to develop without the support of the banks. So, a collaboration of banks and private players, like us, is essential to support projects. Even if 10 billion Euros is available to us, corporate governance has very strong views about allocating resources. GDF Suez is a corporate house, and each investment is analysed carefully, in terms of risk and returns. The decision is based on committees in the Suez Group, and it is a part of my job to promote and advertise my project before GDF Suez. Each of my counterparts, in different parts of the world, does the same. There are checks and balances in place. Banks only look at the business model of the project. So, it is relatively easy to get the funds. The Suez Group, unlike a bank, is an industrial group. We don’t look at it as an investment; instead, we look at it from the point of view of the quality of service and the image of the group; other parameters are also taken into consideration.

DISTRICT COOLING OR STANDALONE PROJECTS? When it comes to the question – should one go with district cooling or with standalone systems? – it is about measuring efficiency. The main point is, for the past 10 years, at different levels in Europe, there has been a lot of debate about whether or not it is more efficient to have district cooling or standalone. Well, in the case of district cooling, it has been possible to measure energy efficiency, but in the case of standalone projects, you cannot arrive at an average energy-efficiency value. Nobody has conducted such a measurement exercise, because it is expensive. One of the exercises we undertook was to measure the energy efficiency in different standalone systems. It was, then, possible to compare the energy efficiency of district cooling systems with standalone systems. The conclusion we arrived at was: how 66


January 2010

we operate a standalone system will determine the energy efficiency of the system. Theoretically, while standalone projects have an efficiency of 4kW/ hour, this efficiency is reduced by 2 or 3 kW/hour compared to initial estimates, because, for example, the operator has forgotten to switch off the chiller. Strange things happen in standalone projects, and it, in turn, affects the efficiency. In fact, our exercise in measuring comparative efficiency was a big advertisement for district cooling. We carried this message to journals in Europe. Unfortunately, that was only applicable to Europe, but I would be happy to undertake such a study in GCC. It is a question of resources. You need big funds.

THE ROAD AHEAD FOR DISTRICT COOLING IN QATAR I am very optimistic about district cooling in Qatar, because it is part of the standard of living in the country to have air conditioning. And they would definitely like to use district cooling in densely populated areas. I think Qatar will continue to grow in the next 10, 15 and 20 years. It is a very friendly and welcoming country. So, Qatar will definitely attract people from all over the world. Also, the bid for the 2022 soccer World Cup will boost the demand for district cooling. The event is only the emerging part of the iceberg. When a country hosts such an event, other collateral benefits come into play. We can cool down open areas with the best efficiencies. Such events offer an opportunity to find new solutions.

MY FAMILY I am 35. I have two daughters. They are six and two and a half. They enjoy life in Qatar, despite the fact that I’m not often at home, owing to my work. It has been like this for the last three or four years. I spend a lot of time outside home. But I travel a lot with my family, because I like travelling around the world with my family.

INTERESTS When I have time, I play badminton. I like the opera and the theatre. But I don’t have many opportunities for them here in Qatar, though. Here, I sometimes miss my countryside. But when I go back there, I’ll miss the desert, I guess. I do like the silence of the desert. There is a certain mysticism to it.

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Profile for CPI Industry

CCME - January 2010  

Climate Control Middle East magazine issue of January 2010

CCME - January 2010  

Climate Control Middle East magazine issue of January 2010