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RAC/Star Refrigeration Roundtable - Heat Recovery - Part 2

Heat recovery represents huge potential for the coolling industry.In Part 2 of the RAC Heat Recovery Roundtable the attendees discuss the future of the technology - simply register to view


Martin Fahey – Mitsubishi Electric, Green Gateway initiative manager

Jodi Willis – MTT/Sustain, director

Dmitriy Zaynulin – Greenfield Energy, Chief technology officer

Stephen Newman – MITIE, technical director

Kenneth Hoffman – Star Refrigeration, sales director

Michael Bornhorst – Emerson

Dave Pearson – Star Refrigeration, innovation director

Andrew Gaved - RAC, editor

Julian Milnes - RAC, editor


What do we need to move forward?

Dave Pearson – From a customer view, the finance director needs to be aware of the potential savings that can be gained. You need to be able to have their ear and say “You will see these reductions in costs.” In its bluntest form it’s about putting the argument forward in terms of bottom line savings.

Stephen Newman – I agree. I was with a supermarket recently, explaining how we can sell the message to the finance officer. If you can state that energy costs will continue to rise along with food costs, there could be a point where it is hard to compete on price with your rivals, so you need to be proactive.

This type of approach, explaining that energy costs won’t stand still, is the future, getting people to understand the bigger picture and how it affects the bottom line

David Pearson – At the moment supermarkets just aren’t linking heating and cooling together, seeing them as separate entities. Until they do its harder to get the heat recovery message across, even though the benefits are there to see.

Stephen Newman – We are looking at a changing world. Middle East unrest is having a direct impact fuel supply. Costs are on the up.

We can’t rest on the idea that we will have energy security anymore, it’s time to be proactive and adapt to a changing landscape. For example, in the future a hospital may suffer due to rising energy costs, and will have no control over this due to lack of energy planning.

If you stand still you are going to be left behind and have to suffer the consequences.

Who is demanding change?

Stephen Newman - The corporate structure still has one department for heating, and one for cooling. You also have three other departments – capital, operations and energy. So the idea of change from this perspective is hard to invoke.

David Pearson - Sometimes there are two people to communicate with in each department within corporate structures, making the whole process that bit harder.

To get through to all these with your message is a difficult mission.

David Pearson – If companies really want to push on to the next level they need to sub-contract the heating/cooling out. Allowing it to be run as efficiently as possible, by people whose sole focus is on energy reduction

Stephen Newman – I agree. If you’ve bought an asset, you have to rip it out at some point once it becomes superseded by newer technology. If you rent it then you can absorb the cost of change.

Is the infrastructure in place?       

David Pearson – There should only be planning permission given if there is consideration given to energy sharing. There needs to be a focus on the broader aspects of planning to utilise the potential of this.

Kenneth Hoffman – In Norway anyone can hook up to the district heating network with little trouble

David Pearson – True, and they are also able to add other sources of heat to this. You can buy and sell on the loop – they are 20 years ahead with what they are able to offer.

Jodi Willis – This sounds like utopia, but is fraught with legal issues in the UK. We can’t even get approval from Westminster Council to get the road dug up to get a heat pipe put across, but I could if I was a utility company.

Stephen Newman – So you have to provide incentives for the developer to join district heating. Include these and you’ll go some way to starting the ball rolling

Martin Fahey – 40 per cent of emissions come from buildings, and a main contributor is heat production. There is a huge opportunity here, but yet here we are, talking about what needs to be done, and not acting on it.

The number of buildings will top 2.7m by 2050 in this country. There are a lot of solutions to energy reduction out there, however how many can provide all benefits in one go?

Dmitriy Zaynulin – Looking at other countries the future is bright. In China there is already 1,000m sq feet of office space being serviced by heat pumps, along with serious applications all over Europe, so things are changing.

Martin Fahey – We’ve had to shift before, from coal power, so we can do it again.

Kenneth Hoffman – People need to see heat pumps as energy convertors, combining and integrating technologies. They can also be combined with other sources such as solar-power, offering flexibility.

Martin Fahey – It’s the only technology that buys into the idea of a cleaner grid

Stephen Newman – Spot on, if we lower the reliance on the grid it will force companies and people to look towards practical alternatives.

David Pearson – Traditionally, ground source heat pumps are seen as an investment, and recent applications have paid back in a year. However the truth remains that the front or initial cost is still the main driver when planning.

Martin Fahey – Saying here’s something that will be beneficial in 15 years time is not going to grab the attention, even though it’s the prudent option.

Stephen Newman – The technology is there. We had a student model produced for heat pumps, and the financial model is doable. What it needs is to tie it to mortgage companies, together with some sort of tax relief.


Summing up

David Pearson – The finance director needs to have a close look at the heating and cooling aspects within their organisations. There should also be a closer study taken of certain European neighbours, who have successfully applied advanced solutions to their specific problems.

Michael Bornhorst – A lot can be gained from looking and learning from different countries and their methods. Look at the Saudis, Germans, Italians.

If there’s a solution out there that’s working and getting results then it’s worth checking out.

Kenneth Hoffman – I hope the RHI will kick start awareness of the benefits of this technology and the efficiency that can be gained from integrating services.

Stephen Newman – There needs to be greater access to a legislation platform, where engineers and planners can voice their ideas and explain the benefits. The lack of vision at governmental level is currently holding back progress.

There is huge potential for outsourcing – hospitals, supermarkets, data centres. Taking this waste and creating energy is the most practical solution to reducing consumption

Dmitriy Zaynulin – Integration is the key thing. There is huge potential to be had, but there needs to be a better understanding by the outside world before this is truly harnessed.

Jodi Willis – In the UK you can’t do anything unless it’s legislated for. This needs to change to make things more accessible. It should make it easy to apply and integrate certain technologies. The capability is there, the tools and technology, but there are several barriers that are stopping progress.

Martin Fahey – We have the solutions available right now, we can prove the benefits. Heat is a valuable commodity, once created we need to use it wisely, harness it and move it somewhere else to maximise efficiency.

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