UAE’s DC Pro Engineering highlights threat of technology stagnation in district cooling
DC Pro Engineering UAE, a leading authority in the field of District Energy and a renowned sustainability leader in the field of Green Building MEP Designs in the region, has revealed that district cooling faces the danger of stagnation as its technology is advancing at a much slower rate than other heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) applications.
George Berbari, Chief Executive Officer of DC Pro Engineering UAE, made this revelation during his presentation on the subject of ‘The Threat of Technology Stagnation on District Cooling’ at The 3rd Annual DC (District Cooling) Stakeholders Summit taking place from the 17th to 18th March at the Dusit Thani hotel in Dubai, UAE.
“The district cooling industry continues to apply a 10 year old technology with the only advancement coming from chiller manufacturers improving their efficiency,” Berbari said. “Meanwhile, newer HVAC systems pose additional threats to district cooling as air cooled chillers and air cooled ducted split continue to enjoy popularity with a 70% market share.”
Berbari further noted that other HVAC technologies such as small ultra-efficient water cooled chiller plants with magnetic bearing and variable speed drives have less power savings than district cooling plants, and that the lack of field validation data in the UAE for air-cooled VRF systems could lead to disappointment among customers.
He therefore emphasized in his presentation that a synchronization of district cooling tri-generation with renewable energy sources can result in 75% savings in primary energy as compared to electric powered district cooling. Already, district cooling systems offer 40% saving on power consumption compared to air-cooled systems. This has led to over 5 million tons of district cooling systems to be installed over the past 15 years in the GCC region.
“Tri-generation in district cooling synchronized with renewable energy has already captured the attention of intellects and has been honored with awards,” Berbari explained. “Greater electric power savings can be achieved by utilizing renewable energy sources, which will help cover modern cities in the coming years. Therefore, the district cooling industry needs to focus on renewable energy in tri-generation.
“Currently the UAE has committed to have 7% of renewable energy by 2020. This is indeed a step in the right direction for tri-generation systems,” he added.
One example of this model is the district cooling plant that DC Pro Engineering designed for the Research Council Innovation Park in Oman. Such design garnered ‘Honorable Mention’ as the Sustainable Project of the Year and Best District Cooling Consultant of the Year for DC Pro Engineering at the Climate Control Awards ceremony held last year in Dubai.
District cooling is the centralized production and distribution of cooling energy, where chilled water is delivered via pipelines to office, industrial and residential buildings to cool the indoor air of the buildings within a district.