Waste heat to power refrigeration

Absorption chillers are thermal machines that allows to obtain cold from heat.
This special kind of chillers are usually machines of a high power capacity, employed in conditioning plants or industrial plants with significant thermal duties, and most of all constantly present. That’s because these machines employ a delicate thermal cycle. The application are mostly in the HVAC sector, both for residential and industrial conditioning.

But there are also machines with lower power capacities on the market, allowing to operate both in conditioning and production processes applications, being able to reach temperatures of -10° C.

Those are machines produced by Robur, and Italian company that acquired many years ago the patent of this technology from an American company. These are in fact small size absorption refrigerators. The standard range of these machines employs a direct fired burner which provides the heat required to trigger the thermal cycle for cold production.

A very interesting and smart idea that fascinated me is to leverage waste heat coming from industrial production to start that same thermal cycle. The company has in fact modified its machines to integrate a sort of heat exchanger, which allows to work using waste heat coming from industrial processes, waste steam or diathermic oil at the end of a process.

The interesting thing is the extension of an energy recovery approach for the production of cold, leveraging energy that otherwise should be lost and dissipated.
The only limit I see here is that this application requires waste heat at very high temperature levels, between 190° C and 220° C. And it’s not easy to find waste heat at this temperature, but in case it is available the solution becomes surely extremely interesting and intriguing.

I’m thinking about applications where there is a continuous generation of waste heat, allowing the continuous production of cold. A kind of solution that could then be very interesting in a wide variety of applications, such as on waste fumes from cogeneration plants, or fumes coming from steel industries of metallurgy plants, where high amounts of high quality energy is available, meaning high temperature waste heat.

Subscribe here to our Tempco Newsletter – Solid Temperature.

Special thermoregulation units in chemical refining

The images in this post are referred to thermoregulating units for the reactors in a new plant for concentration and refining of a customer which works in the chemical industry.

 

These units provide the accurate and fine thermoregulation within the production processes, with the particularity that they work using pressurized water at 150°C. It means that the application involves really demanding and stressing operating conditions, on all the components of the units.
It is made clear by the fact that these thermoregulating units required 6 years of R&D in Tempco, in order to select the right materials and components thanks to a series of tests and trials.

Subscribe here to our Tempco Newsletter – Solid Temperature.

IoT condition monitoring in thermoregulation utilities

Energy management and energy saving within the temperature regulation in industrial processes. Not sure a new argument, but highly relevant in the field where Tempco operates, which I like to call ‘Second level energy’. What I mean is that we are not into primary power generation, but committed in how energy is converted and employed in process industry, and thus how thermal energy is transferred in thermal processes.

In Tempco’s activities, aimed to temperature control in production processes, energy is employed to power pumps’ motors, chiller compressors, fans drives and heating resistances, in case of heating equipments for diathermic oil and pressurized water.

I was thinking for a long time about solutions enabling a fine monitoring of the energy and efficiency of equipments. Then Industry 4.0 and IoT have become very popular ultimately, and in Tempco we are offering since more than a year a solution, called iTempco, that enables the remote real-time monitoring of our thermoregulating units installed at our customer’s facilities.

To be honest, this is not an easy success solution. Or at least, there is many speaking and curiosity about it, but at the end the application is made only by few customers. That’s because our temperature control machinery are utilities, not directly connected to the core production line of a customer. Therefore, customers are more willing to install condition monitoring on core production lines, while utilities remains in the background.

But from our personal point of view, thermoregulating units and temperature control equipments have power consumptions, thus impacting the final cost of the product. It is then useful to control also the functioning and efficiency of these thermal machines.

The monitoring is achieved thanks to interfaces that today are quite common, able to gather and interpret the signals of the units, transferring them online and storing data on cloud.

 

The first goal is to monitor the temperature levels, pressure and flow rates, to ensure the overall efficiency of the equipment. It is then possible to control the employ of the thermoregulating unit and to offer predictive maintenance services, or preventive maintenance as well. Or even more simply, when a customer calls to report a problem, the monitoring solution allows to know immediately where the problem is and suddenly make the right intervention, or also to instruct the customer on what to do in order to get the machine back at work.

Usually we implement the monitoring of electrical energy consumes. It is then possibile to have insights on the effective power consumption levels of a thermoregulating unit, as well as the consumption peaks, all related to the different steps of the production process but also to the seasonal conditions. Many times we’ve talked about how performances of machines, such as Cooling towers and Free coolers, vary depending on the different seasons.

Having a clear insight of the power consumption of a thermoregulating unit is very useful not only to optimize the engineering of the machinery, and properly calculating the power capacity to be installed, saving on initial investment and furthermore during its functioning. But it also allows to evaluate if it’s worth or not to implement inverters, thyristors and power modulating systems.

 

 

Subscribe here to our Tempco Newsletter – Solid Temperature.

Tempco enters the Russian market with EAC Certification

This is our first Tempco TREG HCST thermoregulating unit with EAC Certification (EurAsian Conformity mark) ready to be installed in a pharma plant for a customer in Russia. During the last months we started new investments in order to seize new interesting opportunities that are emerging in the Russian market.

Tempco termoregolazione EAC

 

We’ve launched last March the procedures required to obtain the EAC Certification for our TREG units, and their related accessories, aiming to export and install our thermoregulating solutions in Russia and the EEU Countries (Eurasian Economic Union). The EAC Certification was eventually achieved last May, in full lockdown period…

Tempco centraline TREG EAC

Tempco TREG EAC

 

We’re now further investing in these markets, in order to obtain the EAC Certification also on our heat exchangers and to develop a Russian language version of our Tempco website, which happens to be already on-line since a few days now.

Tempco sito russo

Tempco Certificazione EAC

Anti-legionnaires equipments in evaporative towers

Let’s focus on another green and environmental aspect of evaporative towers, related to the cleaning of the water and issues coming from legionnaires. The Legionella problem has been widely explained, and mostly very clearly, but the theme of pathogen agents we’re exposed to has turned out being very up to date with the coronavirus outspread we’re going through.

All of the cooling towers nowadays on the market are equipped with all the precautions aimed to make them, let’s say, legionella-free. They are in other words equipped with self-draining basins and don’t have any stagnation spots for the water, that otherwise can cause dangerous bacteria to gather. Cooling towers today are also supplied with dosing systems of chemical additives, aimed to eliminate bacteria and algae, but also to maintain calcium carbonates in suspension avoiding scaling and clogging of the tower, and therefore ensuring the water is always clean.

All the evaporative towers on the market, or installed within the last five years, are thus provided with all the equipments that make them compliant to anti-legionnaires regulations. In case a cooling tower older is installed in your plant from more than five years, you can always ask for the intervention of specialized technicians, as our Tempco service assistants can be, but also your responsible for the water chemical treatments is surely aware of everything that must be done to face the legionnaires issue.

Plate heat exchangers revamping for covid-19 treatment API production

These are the images of a second intervention we did on plate heat exchangers of a customer in the pharma industry, that employs them in a production line of API used for the treatment of Covid-19.

The customer called us two days before Easter, and the regenerated exchanger was ready to be delivered the following friday. The exchanger is composed by 85 titanium plates, since the customer works using an anti-freeze solution, an aggressive agent on AISI 316 stainless steel and potentially causing pitting on this material.

scambiatori a piastre API covid-19

scambiatori API covid-19

 

The intervention started with an overall visual check of the exchanger, continuing with complete disassembly and with the regeneration. The revamping operation involved the following steps:

  1. Plates cleaning with high-pressure washer;
  2. Old gasket removal without using metal tools;
  3. Plates cleaning with proper chemical bath, rinsing and drying;
  4. Gasket housings cleaning to remove rubber and/or glue traces;
  5. Visual check of plates and pressing geometry control, with restoring if needed;
  6. Control with penetrating liquids on 100% of plates (CND controls);
  7. Washing to remove any remaining of penetrating liquids on plates and drying;
  8. Supply and application of the new gasket.

Due to the fact that titanium is the plates’ material here, controls with penetrating liquids must be very scrupulous, because titanium is very much resistant against corrosion and chloride assault, but it’s a more fragile material compared to steel.

revamping scambiatori API covid-19

 

scambiatori piastre titanio API covid-19Having it all be done, the exchanger has been closed respecting the tightening standard settings, then proceeding with pressure test of both circuits separately. A data plate has been put on the machinery, updated with the date of the regeneration intervention and a serial number for future traceability of spare parts employed (gaskets, nozzle liners). The revamped exchanger was finally ready to be re-installed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

rigenerazione scambiatori piastre API covid-19

 

Subscribe here to our Tempco Newsletter – Solid Temperature.

The truth about pollution and evaporative towers

Let’s make it clear, there’s a bad rumor about evaporative towers when speaking of environment, carbon footprint and pollution. When news on tv and newspapers talk about environment and pollution, it’s indeed very easy to see images of evaporative towers installed in industrial facilities near residential areas and roads, along with their huge plume, used as a symbol of emissions.

Well, for technicians and operators of the sector, it’s clear that these are not pollutant emissions, but simply water vapor. Cooling towers are indeed very simple machines employed for water cooling in industrial processes, using the evaporation of water to dissipate heat. Evaporative towers have very low levels of power consumption, while on the other side they consume water in direct proportion with the amount of heat to be dissipated.

The huge plume coming out of the top of cooling towers is therefore simply water vapor, droplets of evaporated water that get carried away in the atmosphere. It’s easy to understand how not-skilled people can associate it with pollution and fine dusts, but it has nothing to do with that: the plume is nothing less than water vapor, becoming even more visible during winter season, clearly due to a difference in temperature levels.

The only side effect that evaporative towers can generate is that water vapor gets condensed in the atmosphere during the coldest season, creating ice crystals. When laying on the roads nearby industrial plants, they can become dangerous for the traffic of vehicles. That’s why very often, early morning in the winter season, it’s easy to see workers charged by the industries nearby throwing salt on the streets, in order to avoid freezing and the formation of ice layers.

Evaporative towers are therefore one of the most eco-friendly machines for water cooling, and among the most efficient solutions for water cooling in industrial production processes.

Absorption chillers, free and green refrigeration power from waste heat

We gladly host a contribution from Robur, an Italian company based in the province of Bergamo, specialized in heating and cooling systems with low carbon footprint. In particular, the following article is about absorption chillers with energy recovery from high temperature waste heat in industrial processes.

Thermal energy is a very common presence in industrial production. Heat is indeed required in a number of production processes in industries such as food, industrial, textile, glass and ceramic industry, chemical, oil & gas and metallurgy.

Many among these industrial processes involve waste materials, and thermal energy is one that gets often lost at the end of the process. This is usually referred to as waste heat, and it can be present in several forms: fumes coming from furnaces combustion, or from internal combustion engines, turbine’s or cogenerators exhausts, steam coming from heat treatment plants or from drying tasks, just to name a few.

Within these same production processes, in a different step of the production line, a cooling system is then often required, also employing thermal energy but with a negative value, meaning a need for thermal cooling.

All these cases are suitable for the application of equipments that enable to employ that same waste heat to obtain chilling power, without further expenses in terms of primary energy consumes, by mean of heat recovery of the waste energy.

chiller assorbimento Robur TK

Waste heat can be divided in three classes: high energy, exceeding 650° C, mid temperature, between 225° C and 650° C, and low temperature, up to 225° C.

High and mid temperature waste heat are the most useful and ‘precious’, because they can be employed both directly or to feed further machinery such as cogenerators (combined production of heat and power) and absorbers, aimed to the production of chilling power. Low temperature waste heat can thus be employed in the form of hot air or water for heating purposes or pre-heating of further production processes that require low temperatures.

Cold production from mid-high temperature waste heat
The essential components of a machinery for cold production from waste heat are basically:

– waste heat at temperature higher than 220°C, with a proper flow rate
heat exchangers, to achieve the thermal transfer from waste heat (such as exhaust fumes of a furnace) to a thermal fluid (diathermic oil or pressurized water)
– a circulating circuit for the distribution of the thermal transfer fluid to the absorber
– an indirect fired absorber for cold production

The overall system only require additional power for the operations of accessory equipments, such as circulating pumps and fans.

Power Fluid absorber units by Robur
Robur Power Fluid absorber units are an example of efficient thermal machines that allow to ‘produce cold’ leveraging the thermal heat coming from a technological process. The working cycle of the units is showed in this scheme.

chiller assorbimento Robur

The thermodynamic cycle employs a solution of water and ammonia, in a hermetic closed circuit that avoids refill, substitution and disposal operations. The thermodynamic cycle is triggered by the waste heat flow, heating the generator by mean of a coil, in which diathermic oil or pressurized water are flowing.

Condensation happens in air, without the need of a cooling tower, thus avoiding the related hydraulic circuit and control devices.

refrigerazione recupero di calore

These units enable to produce cold water to be employed for air conditioning, production processes cooling or even for food preservation, being able to supply cold or chilled water down to -10° C.

Advantages of Power Fluid units
Each industrial process involving the presence of waste heat above 200° C and the need of chilling power can benefit from these absorber units, such as metallurgy industry, chemical, glass or cement industry, agrifood and dairy, achieving high energy savings and maximizing the efficiency of the overall production process.

Further advantages offered by Power Fluid units are:

easy engineering and installation of the plant, not requiring cooling towers and suitable for outdoor installment, with small footprint
– high reliability, thanks to an almost static refrigeration cycle (only two moving parts are employed, including fans) ensuring long life span without efficiency decrease
wide operating range, in terms of both external air (condensation) and outlet cold water, which can be supplied even at low temperatures of -10° C
– no particular permissions nor authorizations are required, since refrigerants are not employed, replaced by the use of ammonia, a totally natural and eco-friendly refrigerant (near zero ODP and GWP values)
– economically convenient, especially if the unit can be used for many hours/year, being that the chilling power obtained is actually for free

Preliminary feasibility conditions of the recovery plant
Some conditions must finally be verified for a first evaluation of the solution:

– Availability of waste heat at temperatures higher than 220-240° C. This is a mandatory condition to obtain a sufficient transfer fluid able to feed the absorber and effectively trigger the thermodynamic cycle

– concomitant presence of heat recovery and need of chilling power. The cooling energy supplied by the absorber is always subjected to the presence of waste heat to feed it. When chilling power production exceeds the cooling need it is also possible to store it, but it involves higher investments in the chiller circuit to be carefully evaluated
– Estimation of operating hours/chilling power required in order to calculate the ROI. The overall amount of chilling power produced will cover the costs of the plant, so that the higher the indicator is, the shorter will be the ROI.

Adiabatic dry cooling in steel wire drawing

We’re working on an interesting application for industrial cooling in the wire drawing process in the steel industry. In particular, the process requires cooling with water at a temperature of 25-28° C.

This is a peculiar temperature range, because this is not low enough to justify the implementation of a chiller. The application involves indeed the dissipation of several hundreds of thermal kW, and a chiller should require high costs for the machinery, first of all, and then high amounts of power absorbed, especially during the warmer season. On the other side, the temperature levels involved are too low to be satisfied using a cooling tower, especially during the warm season, even though offering very low energy consumption. In addition, being a cooling process with direct contact with the product, the water of a cooling tower has to be treated with chemicals, anti-algae, anti-bacterials and anti-limescale, thus not compatible with the product itself.

Facing this doubts, an ideal solution would be to employ a thermal machine with water in closed-loop, but we should adopt an evaporative tower combined with a heat exchanger, and furthermore we won’t obtain water at a suitable temperature.

The solution we offered employs closed-circuit adiabatic coolers, or adiabatic dry coolers. These are dry coolers with an adiabatic booster, that during the summer season employs a spray system on the air drawn into the cooler by the fans, creating a sort of ‘evaporative tower’ effect. The reference temperature is thus the wet bulb temperature, involving a low water consumption for evaporation, limited to the warmer hours of the day, in the warm season only. The system ensures to have water at the temperature of 25-28° C during the entire year, also during summer, avoiding direct contact of the water with ambient air.

 

Our system allows in particular very low water consumption, limited to the warmer months, not scaling nor clogging the finned coil of the exchanger. This systems ensure very high levels of efficiency, achieving cooling by using closed-circuit water with temperatures that are halfway those achieved by chiller and cooling towers.

As usual when engineering this kind of plants in Tempco, the system has been obviously equipped with an inverter on the fans. With ambient air at our latitudes, indeed, during winter and the mid-season, spring and autumn, water at the temperature of 25° C is very easy to obtain. Having fans working at their maximum speed is thus useless, and the adoption of an inverter can deliver high energy savings.

An evaluation made with the customer forecasts that the consumption of water will be limited to only two months per year, and probably only during the warmer hours. The facility also works over three shifts, and overnight the consume of water should be near zero, if not even completely avoided, also probably with a reduction of fans’ speed.

Finally, we’ve implemented a remote monitoring solution, in order to control the effective water consumption and the amount of energy absorbed by fans, looking forward to a future optimization of the overall process, in which the company is planning further investments. The gathered data also offer advantages for both of us, improving the engineering and proposal phase in Tempco, and for the customer, that can have full transparency and awareness on its thermal energy and power needs. Being also able to make an energy accounting and to evaluate the savings that can be achieved.

 

Subscribe here to our Tempco Newsletter – Solid Temperature.

Making of an effective IT Disaster recovery plan

We gladly host a contribution of Houston-based TRG Datacenters, a company that offers an innovative and customer-centric approach to datacenter management, here giving some very clear and useful tips on how to make an effective IT disaster recovery plan work.

Data centers are an important application field for Tempco, especially with TCOIL immersion heat exchangers for liquid cooling, also a crucial asset to ensure the business continuity of IT infrastructures.

An effective IT disaster recovery plan is vital for all businesses. When it comes to IT disasters, slow responses and mismanagement can quickly prove catastrophic. Data can be lost, reputations can be damaged and customers can be left very unhappy indeed. But an effective disaster recovery plan can help businesses to limit the impact of all manner of problems, guiding teams through the murky waters and straight out the other side.

Take a look at some of our top tips to ensure that your business’s IT disaster recovery plan is as good as it can be, and make sure your company is fully protected.

IT disaster recovery TRG datacenters

 

Regular testing and clear processes
Too many companies have a clearly defined disaster recovery plan that they hardly ever test. And when you consider some of the costs involved in full testing processes, it’s easy to see why. But testing is vital in ensuring the effectiveness of any disaster recovery plan.

Plans should be tested regularly, and in full. Because let’s face it – it’s quite likely that every single aspect of your recovery plan won’t go exactly as you had imagined. Thorough testing will enable you to iron out any little hiccoughs at your own pace, and double check every detail of your plan. Do this and you’ll avoid potentially stressful, time-critical challenges if you ever do need to employ the plan in a real-life situation.

 

Awareness of the human factor
It’s a slightly awkward fact that a whopping 70% of IT outages aren’t actually caused by problems in infrastructure design. They’re the result of human error.
Errors can be caused by many different factors, ranging from insufficient training to poor management decisions. There’s no failsafe way to protect your systems from human error, but there are ways to minimise the risks.
We always recommend that the vast majority (at least 70%) of your disaster recovery planning efforts focus on the humans that power your business. Invest time and energy in the human aspect of your strategies, and you’ll start to limit the associated risks.

 

A well defined set of objectives
Before you can create the ideal disaster recovery plan, you need to know what constitutes a disaster in the eyes of your business. Decide on what a disaster, and subsequent recovery would really mean, and how you might measure the success of your plan.
As a starting point, consider the amount of uptime your business requires, what you mean when you say that systems are ‘working’, and what your teams would call a success in terms of disaster recovery.

 

A role in day to day management of operating responsibilities
Disaster recovery planning should never be a task that’s done once and quickly forgotten about. For plans to be truly effective, they must be discussed and updated regularly.
It’s a good idea to incorporate disaster recovery into the day to day management of operating responsibilities, and make sure all team members are on board with what the plan entails, and how to use it. Disaster recovery strategies must become part of normal operations for IT teams, if they are ever to fulfil their real potential.

 

Few things are as important as disaster recovery planning, particularly when you consider the impact that inadequate plans and processes can have on a company. Take the time to make sure your systems are protected from the wide range of risks out there. Think carefully about what disaster planning means to your business, and you’ll be able to effectively prevent the hugely damaging impact of insufficient planning.