Water as a refrigerant, a sustainable solution

5 min. reading - published on January 18, 2021

"Installers are still somewhat cautious when it comes to adiabatic cooling," says Kor Foekens, commercial director at Oxycom. "Unknown often means unloved. They are often insufficiently familiar with the system and don't really know which applications it is suitable for. There are also various preconceptions about adiabatic cooling. People believe it creates a subtropical indoor climate that is not sustainable and hygienic and can cause Legionella infections. Furthermore, they believe that adiabatic cooling is expensive, complex, and is not effective in a humid climate. We want to explain that all of the above is, in fact, not the case."

Adiabatic cooling is evaporative cooling. "By evaporating water, the air is cooled," Foekens explains. "It is a simple cooling method that has been around for centuries, but many installers are unfamiliar with the new adiabatic cooling techniques. Nowadays, we are looking for innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of conventional cooling techniques. "

Oxycom developed a new adiabatic cooling technique that saves up to 90% in energy consumption and CO2 emissions. One disadvantage of the old adiabatic cooling technology, which did not always have a positive image, was the humidity. Oxycom's new indirect/direct evaporation technology, the IntrCooll, allows for deeper cooling of up to 7°C and reduces humidity by up to 60%. "Evaporating 1 m3 of water produces up to 695 kW of cooling power, making our technology super-efficient. It delivers energy and CO2 savings of around 90% compared to conventional air conditioners", says Foekens.

"Another application in which this enormous cooling capacity of evaporating water comes into its own is the PreCooll. Due to rising temperatures, the cooling capacity of existing cooling systems is suddenly insufficient, leading to malfunctions and loss of valuable foodstuffs, among other things. The PreCooll is placed in front of existing condensers and cools the air up to 16°C in the Netherlands and up to 25°C in warmer regions. Energy consumption is reduced by up to 40%, and cooling capacity can be increased by up to 20%. Together with the installers of supermarket chains, the PreCooll systems are installed for supermarkets' existing cooling systems. Besides, these systems are also installed in data centers that consume a lot of energy to reduce their sky-high energy consumption."

"Evaporating 1 m3 of water produces up to 695 kW of cooling power, making our technology super-efficient. It delivers energy and CO2 savings of around 90% compared to conventional air conditioners."

No droplets

"We are not bothered by legionella," says Foekens. "Legionella occurs in aerosols, but with our systems, no aerosols are released. The water evaporates from the surface of our heat exchanger. There are simply no droplets released, so there are no aerosols that can spread through the air stream."

Hygienic

"Oxycom's globally patented HydroChill fin technology has an aluminum base, which has a water-absorbing coating incorporated with silver ions to prevent any bacterial growth," says Foekens. "The control system ensures that once a day, the evaporating surface dries up. Therefore once again, all possible bacterial growth is stopped. Besides, the HydroChill fin material is VDI 6022 hygienic certified." Also, the IntrCooll G4-, M5- or F7-filters are placed in front of the air intake.

"Legionella occurs in aerosols, but with our systems, no aerosols are released. The water evaporates from the surface of our heat exchanger."

Cooling in two steps

The cooling of buildings and production halls is becoming increasingly important. Summers are getting longer and hotter. "When it gets hot in the working environment, it affects people," says Foekens. "Productivity drops, and employees start making mistakes. If the temperature and humidity are right, it's more pleasant to work. At Jumbo's 5.800 m2 distribution center for online shopping in Raalte, the temperature mustn't exceed 25 °C. Foodstuffs are stored there, including chocolate. That is very sensitive to temperature."

Previously, employees had to move the chocolate to a cooler place when the outside temperature rose. With Oxycom's indirect adiabatic cooling in place, the temperature inside did not exceed 24 °C last summer, while outdoor temperatures rose to 38 °C. Jumbo Raalte is enthusiastic and is going to install four more IntrCooll Plus systems. This summer, the focus was mainly on the foodstuffs. Now, it's time to create a pleasant climate for the people working at the dock shelters. Nine IntrCooll systems will also soon be installed at the distribution center in Den Bosch.

"We often hear that after only half an hour people say: Finally, a normal temperature to work with."

Ventilating in winter

At Canon in Venlo, there are 16 IntrCooll Plus and 16 ventilation modules on the roof. "There is also a Heat Reclaim module," explains Foekens. With this module, you can continue to ventilate during the winter. In Canon's halls, temperatures used to rise above 40 °C inside during summer, and now, on the hottest days of the year, the temperature reached 25 °C with very few exceptions. Employees were very skeptical at first, but now they're delighted with this system. They noticed the difference straight away. It's a much more pleasant working climate. We often hear people say after only half an hour: Finally, a normal temperature to work in. The buildings of Jumbo and Canon are poorly insulated. "If you install an air conditioning system there, you will pay through the nose for electricity costs," says Foekens. "If we now look at these two companies in terms of what they currently consume in energy, they already meet the requirements for cooling of the Paris Climate Agreement 2050."

Payback

German company Sinnack Backspezialitäten is a major customer that uses the IntrCooll for process cooling. "When cooling the bake-off bread, we put a little moisture in the air," says Foekens. "This prevents the crust from becoming too hard because with a hard crust, the foil package tears more easily. That is why Sinnack used to pack the bread with a thicker foil. With our system, the crust remains softer, and it is possible to work with thinner film, which is cheaper. Sinnack was able to recoup the cost of purchasing our systems within a year. Sinnack also saves 90% on energy consumption."

Power of water

The IntrCooll has won the Energy Globe Award 2020. "Our partner, Infranorm Technology in Austria, won the energy award with Oxycom's cooling technology," says Foekens. "Infranorm demonstrated how the IntrCooll cools a 2,100 m2 hall of Kiefel Packaging with 87 percent energy savings and CO2 emissions. And this only with the power of water. Chemical refrigerants aren't needed anymore."

Support and guidance

"We always work together with the (in-house) installer who we support as much as possible," Foekens points out. "Not every installer can make the heat calculations themselves. Oxycom has developed a calculation tool for this. We enter all available values, and we can predict the system's performance based on the temperature data of the past years. The calculation indicates how many systems are needed for an optimal climate. Together with the installer, we inform the customer of the expected result. The installer installs the products, and together we put the system into operation. The installer takes care of the annual maintenance. Oxycom stands for innovation, quality, and sustainability. From our production facility, we deliver directly to the installer."

If you are an installer and would like to know more about the possibilities of cooperation, please contact us here.

Are you an end-user, and would you like to know what adiabatic cooling can do for your factory? Then please contact us here.

Picture of Roos Reinders
published on January 18, 2021

Roos Reinders

"Increasing the visibility of Oxycom online makes me feel good because our products reduce the global ecological footprint."

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