Modern Building Services

Bristol dock helps deliver energy-efficiency cooling

Published:  07 June, 2010

Turbomiser, air conditioning, Cool-Therm
Water from this dock in Bristol is used for rejecting heat from a Turbomiser chiller — achieving even higher levels of energy efficiency.

The efficiency of Turbomiser chiller plant serving the Blue Reef Aquarium and IMAX 3D Cinema in Bristol is made even higher by rejecting heat to water drawn from Bristol docks. The 500 kW plant uses two Turbocor compressors to produce chilled water for cooling the huge salt-water tanks that house Blue Reef’s collection of fish and marine animals. It also cools the lamps for the high-power IMAX projectors used for spectacular underwater features that take visitors on an immersive 3D journey beneath the waves.

Water from the dock is drawn into the plant room by two large pumps at around 10°C in the Winter and around 20°C in Summer.

The chiller is designed to produce chilled water at a constant 6°C, which is used to cool water from the tanks via a large plate heat exchanger.

Alex Strong of Cool-Therm, who was responsible for recommissioning the chiller after it had been shut down three weeks after start-up four years ago when the company occupying the building closed, explains, ‘The design was ahead of its time in many ways. People are only now really waking up to the possibilities of harnessing natural heat sinks such as ground water, lakes and the like.

‘In the centre of Bristol alone, there are hundreds of major buildings sited within a few metres of the docks and inland tributaries. They could be benefiting from a source of free cooling — literally on their doorstep.’

This was the first Turbomiser installation in the UK and there are now over 60. They use 30 to 50% of the energy required by conventional systems such as screw and reciprocating compressors.

For more information on this story, click here: June 2010, 95

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