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Low Temperature Solution for M&E Consultancy

The Client –

UK Based M&E Contractor

The Challenge –

Cooling System Requirement For An Automotive Client

The Solution –

Low Temp Chillers – Supply Only + Technical Overview

A recent project for an automotive industry client highlighted the flexibility and versatility of the service offering Aqua Group can provide, not just to direct end user customers but also to mechanical contractors and consultants.

In this example, the end user appointed a design consultancy and an M&E contractor to deliver a cooling system for their automotive process. Aqua Group were approached by the specified contractor to provide the equipment required on a supply only basis.

The end client’s process was working on temperatures down as low as -25°C so Aqua provided 3 x air cooled chillers specifically designed for low temperature applications. The units, each 152kW, included screw compressor, shell & tube evaporator, cooper tubed condenser, aluminium finned core and axial fans. The chillers were designed with several extras, including low noise option on each compressor.

However, whilst working on a supply only basis, Aqua’s engineering team were still on hand to give technical oversight and advice. Sales Manager, Shaun Lancaster, explained; “Our engineers have the ability to work with clients in many different ways, depending on their individual situations and requirements.”

“One member of the team could be working on a project that involves a full turnkey solution – from site visit and energy analysis through project management to installation and commissioning. Equally, at the same time one of the team could be working on a supply only project. The Aqua difference however is that even in a supply only scenario, our engineers will still be on hand to give technical advice and guidance at the design stage to ensure the final system will do what it needs to do. We work with our clients for the long term, regardless of whether they are OEMs, end users, trade customers or consultants and M&E contractors.”


F-Gas Phase Out – The Next Step

As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, not only will it herald the start of a new decade, but it will also mark a significant step in the legislative phase out of F-Gases. From 1st January 2020, refrigerants with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of over 2,500 will be banned within the commercial refrigeration and air conditioning sectors. This affects not only new equipment but the servicing of existing equipment.

The EU set out updated regulations in 2015, with the aim of reducing the use of Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) by 80% by 2030 through a phase-down process. In the same year Hydrocholoroflorocarbons (HCFCs), such as R22 refrigerant, were banned.

Over the last 5 years we’ve worked closely with clients, helping them understand the new regulations and their impact on both existing and new equipment.

From an equipment supply perspective, we have a range of highly energy efficient chillers available with low GWP refrigerants, for example R1234ze and R513A which have GWP figures of 7 and 631 respectively. We also offer units with R290 propane, a natural rather than man made refrigerant, which has a GWP of just 3 and can be a great alternative to an ammonia-based system.

When looking at alternative refrigerants, system design is key. It’s important to ensure the correct levels of energy efficiency and cooling power are achieved and that this is balanced with budgetary requirements. Our Sales Engineers are on hand to give you technical advice and to help with product selection every step of the way.

In addition, we have a nationwide network of Service Engineers, all F-Gas trained, giving you peace of mind in respect of all the legislative requirements when it comes to handling refrigerants, detecting leaks, recovering refrigerant from legacy equipment and the necessary documentation and labelling that’s needed. The team can also help with converting existing equipment to lower GWP refrigerants as well as carrying out energy audits, ensuring your site is F-Gas compliant and running as efficiently and cost effectively as possible.

gwp testing


Pipework Upgrade With Minimal Downtime, Not Such A Pipe Dream For Plastics Client

The Client –

Midlands Based Plastics Manufacturer

The Challenge –

24/7 Production Facility With Defective Pipework

The Solution –

Pipework Upgrade With Minimal Downtime

Replacing or upgrading outdated or faulty equipment always presents challenges, but for manufacturing sites working to 24/7 production schedules, any interruption or downtime can have a serious financial and operational impact.

Old, leaking pipework was causing a plastics manufacturing client a major issue, which was compounded by their 24/7 operation. The faulty pipework supplied cooling to their hydraulic machinery as well as tool cooling for the factory presses. It was running into a maintenance pit, close to electric cabling, so any leakage presented an immediate H&S risk.

Aqua engineers designed a new pipework layout that could be installed alongside the existing system, allowing the factory to operate as normal throughout the upgrade project.

The replacement pipework was prefabricated off site in stainless-steel. Then, on delivery it could be put together quickly using press fit rather than welded connections. The stainless-steel construction enhances its life span as it’s inert, as well as being lightweight which helps from an installation point of view.

The new design enabled the pipework to be installed higher up, rather than at floor and pit level, making it much more accessible for maintenance and if any leaks should develop at any time in the future they would be easily spotted and at a safe distance from any electrical cabling.

“This project was a great example of how we can help clients get around what often seem like huge obstacles” explains Aqua Sales Engineer Mark Hopper. “Initially our client feared they’d be faced with weeks, possibly months, of interruptions to production, but our solution saw them shut down for just 2 days over a single weekend.”


Low Temp Chillers Are Just The Tonic For Gin Distillery

The Client –

Oxley Gin Distillery, Hampshire

The Challenge –

Upscale In Production

The Solution –

Complete Temperature Control System

Launched in 2009, Bacardi owned Oxley Gin is widely recognised as pioneering the cold vacuum distillation technique.

Historically, production at their distillery in Hampshire, was done by hand, one litre at a time. Due to increased product demand, Bacardi tasked a consultant to oversee the upscaling of their production facility.

Aqua were called in during the initial design phase and took on responsibility for the complete design of the temperature control distillery cooling system required.

The cold vacuum distillation process is also referred to as a sub-zero process. Essentially, botanicals are cooled to -5°C with ethanol. The distillation process pulls a vacuum to distil the gin from an initial tank. Due to it being under vacuum, to condense the gin back to liquid, Aqua supplied a specialist condenser serviced by a-30°C glycol system. It is then re-heated to over 0°C and moved to the next stage in the process which is blending.

The full solution included:

  • -30 low temperature glycol chiller
  • Secondary stage heat exchanger – condenser
  • Temperature control solution to maintain parameters

The distillery now has a fully automated process, uniquely designed and able to process 100 litres of primary source gin (ethanol) at a time.

Aqua Wins Data Centre Accolade

Aqua Group has been recognised at the 2019 Data Centre Solutions Awards for their commitment to energy efficient data centre design.

The DCS Awards, now in their 9th year, recognise providers, product designers, suppliers and manufacturers working within the data centre arena. Entries are validated by a specialist panel and then a short list is put to a vote.

Aqua won the “Data Centre Energy Efficiency Project of the Year” category, for a project undertaken for their client 4D. 4D is a UK based colocation provider, providing ultra-fast connectivity and
business focused cloud services around the world. When 4D took on a legacy data centre facility at Gatwick, Aqua were selected to upgrade the existing chiller-based cooling system.

The project had energy efficiency at its heart, and Aqua improved the energy saving of the cooling system by 90%, deploying a bespoke cooling solution based on a “chiller-less” design. Cooling tower technology was used alongside pumps, heat exchangers, dosing equipment, filtration, inverters and remote monitoring.

“We were absolutely delighted to win a DCS Award”, explains Mike West, Data Centre Projects Manager for Aqua Group. “Being a finalist was an achievement but to win really was the icing on the cake. It’s great recognition for everyone involved in the project and showcases our commitment to improving our environment by reducing energy consumption and substantially reducing CO2 emissions which impact global warming. Not only with large scale projects like this one, but every time we install energy efficient chillers, free coolers, pump inverters, and so on, we’re doing something positive and so important for our future.” 

The ceremony was held at the Leonardo Royal St Paul’s Hotel and featured entertainment from stand-up comedian Zoe Lyons.

dcs awards

dc cooling

Keeping the World’s Data Cool

The Client –

4D Data Centres Ltd – Gatwick Data Centre Facility

The Challenge –

Cooling System Refresh And Capacity Increase

The Solution –

Eco-friendly Cooling Tower Design, Supply And Install

4D Data Centres is a UK-based colocation provider, providing ultra-fast connectivity, business-focussed cloud and cyber solutions to organisations around the world. Data centres are at the heart of nearly all internet-based technologies, including Facebook, Google, WhatsApp and Amazon. Keeping all this technology online takes a lot of power, not only to run the computers themselves but also to keep them cool, otherwise they would quickly overheat.

When 4D took over an existing data centre building at Gatwick, Aqua was selected for its ability to upgrade the existing chiller-based cooling system, with installation and commissioning taking place whilst the facility was live. Working in direct partnership, Aqua designed and built an intelligent, energy efficient data centre cooling solution that significantly reduced the need for mechanical cooling and provided fresh air free cooling.

The project design focussed on a bespoke solution with energy efficiency, system resilience and reliability at its heart. It was critical that it was completely scalable, future proofing the client’s business model, allowing them to scale up to high density capacity at 40kW per rack when market demand required. Aqua’s ‘water tower’ system uses evaporative cooling to lower the temperature of the computers in the data centre.

Evaporative cooling used in this way is very innovative in the UK but at its heart it’s the same process that we as humans use to cool ourselves down. When we get hot, we sweat and it’s this process of water evaporating off the skin which cools us down. Legacy chillers were replaced with a “chiller-less” solution, using a cooling tower alongside a packaged plant room and full water treatment facility. The design included pumps, heat exchangers, dosing equipment, filtration, inverters and remote monitoring.

Specially designed CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioning) units which operate on a 2°C difference between air and water temperatures, enable the system to run at higher temperatures. This eliminates the need for compressors – or mechanical cooling – allowing the chillers to be replaced with natural source cooling (cooling towers). This also reduces the number of moving parts within the design which increases system reliability.

In addition, using Carel’s CPco Platform, the system’s control strategy was engineered to minimise energy usage. The monitoring technology is aware of the minimal energy requirements for each piece of equipment within the system, ensuring it runs at the optimal needs of the data centre, with zero energy wastage. A bespoke square pipework system was designed with dual – or 2N – redundancy, so there is no single point of failure. If an issue should ever arise, it can be resolved without interruption or downtime in the data centre.

The full solution included:

  • Bespoke design service
  • Full installation and commissioning including turnkey pipework
  • Cooling towers
  • Packaged plant room/water treatment facilities
  • Pumps, heat exchangers, filtration, inverters and Carel CPco monitoring and control system
  • CRAC units

Project Engineers restricted the work carried out within the live facility to a minimum. For example, pipework was all pre-manufactured off site and then bought in for final assembly. Final commissioning had to be carefully phased, to avoid any unnecessary swings in supply temperature. The design of the Gatwick facility also caused some challenges. For example, the existing raised floor with cable trays in situ meant pipework had to be carefully routed and specially designed in areas as there were limited places to cross over.

Energy efficiency and subsequent cost savings were immediately evident, in the autumn months consuming significantly less than the previous system. The annual energy saving compared to the old system is forecast at 90%+, with an annualised part load Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.125. For 4D’s business, they have a facility that they can now scale right up to high density capacity of 40kW per rack.

Benefits achieved included:

  • Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) of 1.125 (ratio of total facility power usage divided by
    IT equipment power usage)
  • 90%+ energy saving on legacy cooling system
  • Future-proofed, modular, scalable design – from low density to high density – as
    demand dictates
  • 2N redundancy – zero risk of downtime
  • Constant temperature, humidity and leak detection monitoring
  • Green installation – major statement of intent by 4D to reduce carbon footprint

“The single biggest challenge of the project was installing and commissioning within a live data centre environment. Aqua’s diligent planning ensured zero risk of client downtime and provided us with a fast, reliable, greentech solution with tangible energy savings”Steven Wright, COO, 4D

4d data centres

pvd modular

Aqua Secures Nordic Deal

Aqua Group has been selected as a strategic partner to PVD Modular in a deal which will see at least seven off-the-grid data centres being built across Norway (three) and Finland (four) over the coming years.
Aqua will join the engineering team of teams designing the full heat transfer process of each facility. Each data centre will be minimum 250MW in capacity, will use a combination of alternative energy sources and offer thermal energy to local communities without constricting local grid power resources at industry leading efficiency ratings.

PVD Modular is parcel to two joint ventures appointed by The Silent Partner Group of Companies, a consortium of power and digital infrastructure businesses – Power Systems Group Norway AS (PSGN) and Asgard Development Group Norway AS (ADGN), both based in Fredrikstad, Norway.

“This is an incredible project to be involved with and is really ground breaking. The initial plans involve up to 1.5GW+ of initial power capacity and heat capture and easily has the potential to be one of the largest data centre portfolios in the world” comments Aqua Group’s Mike West.

“For Aqua it’s real recognition of our temperature control expertise and our application knowledge within the data centre arena.”

Each facility will be state-of-the-art, technically advanced and highly-efficient. Features will include the highest levels of emission control, carbon capture, CO2 reduction, and thermal energy reuse by both the data centre facility and the surrounding municipality and/or District heating/cooling systems as needed.

blow moulding

Free Cooling Upgrade Saves £70K Annually

The Client –

Plastics Blow Moulder

The Challenge –

Energy Efficient Upgrade

The Solution –

Complete Cooling System Design

For a client with a legacy cooling system, a full system upgrade gave them the opportunity to benefit from the latest in energy efficient cooling technology.

Our client, an end user, specialises in plastics blow moulding and initially asked Aqua to carry out an energy evaluation on their existing factory set up. Our engineering team then designed an upgraded system with estimated annual costs savings from reducing overall energy consumption. When it comes to energy calculations, we are completely transparent and pride ourselves on living up to our predicted savings.
The suggested upgrade centred around utilising highly efficient free cooling technology, alongside inverter driven pumps. New chiller units were added to two production lines – on the injection moulding side and the blow moulding. Based on our client’s annual production schedule, energy cost savings were forecast at over £70,000. The free cooling also reduces the run hours on the chiller units, increasing their overall life expectancy.

An additional advantage for our client from moving to the new system was the warranty, giving them peace of mind for the years ahead.
The full solution included:

  • Energy efficient design review with energy calculations
  • Free cooling chillers
  • Inverter driven pumps
  • Mechanical installation & final commissioning
  • Warranty
  • Aftersales support

“Our client had become exasperated with their old system, experiencing long lead-times from the manufacturer when they needed to source replacement parts and then discovering some spares had become obsolete. That said, I think the prospect of a full system upgrade initially made them nervous because of the anticipated costs involved. However, our energy review quickly established that upgrading their equipment would bring them so many advantages. As well as a very quick payback – less than 2 years – they will make significant energy and cost savings every year” explains Aqua Sales Manager, Shaun Lancaster.

pia awards

Aqua Shortlisted As Finalist In Plastics Industry Awards

Aqua Group, has reached the shortlist of the Plastics Industry Awards 2019.

Aqua are a finalist for “Best Environmental or Energy Efficiency Initiative of the Year” for a process cooling system they designed and installed for a plastics recycling client.

The client has been recycling plastics for over 50 years and use state of the art machinery to repurpose scrap polythene waste into membrane for the construction industry. This damp proof membrane or damp-proof course is then installed in new buildings, meaning the plastic is “locked in” to the fabric of that building for its lifetime. The plastic is not just recycled, it’s taken out of circulation for the long term, minimising any potential risk to the planet. In addition, customers save money on land fill and skip costs as well as meeting their environmental targets.

Aqua designed an innovative cooling system for the recycling machinery, using adiabatic cooling rather than the more traditional option of mechanical cooling. The adiabatic system dramatically reduces carbon emissions, reducing the client’s dependency on refrigerant by 90+% and minimising their energy consumption.

“We’re delighted to have reached the finals of the Plastics Awards which are regarded highly within our industry” explains Shaun Lancaster, Sales Manager, Aqua Group. “This cooling project reduced our client’s energy consumption by 82%, saving them up around £80,000 every year. They’ve also massively reduced their refrigerant use and their overall carbon footprint. It’s a great feeling knowing that by helping this customer we’re also part of a bigger initiative which directly impacts on the environment in a really positive way.”

Now in its 19th year, the Plastics Industry Awards recognise and reward excellence within the market. The awards comprise of 15 categories and are judged by a panel of industry experts. The lucky winners will be announced at the “Greatest Show” themed awards dinner on 27th September at London Hilton on Park Lane.

wc brewery

Aqua Comes Up Trumps for Wild Card Brewery

The Client –

Wild Card Brewery, London

The Challenge –

Relocation And Production Expansion

The Solution –

Cooling System Design, Supply & Install

For an award-winning London based brewery, a move to new premises gave them the opportunity to install a brand-new process cooling system, complete with built-in heat reclaim.

Wild Card Brewery, based in Walthamstow, East London, was founded in 2012. Within just 5 years Wild Card had 2 award winning beers to their name and currently supply supermarkets, pubs, bars and restaurants throughout the UK. They quickly realised that demand for their products was totally outstripping production and moved to new premises, giving them the potential to double their capacity.

Aqua designed and installed an energy efficient temperature control system for the new facility. The system chills the brewing tanks to sub 10°C once the fermentation stage of the process is complete. The chiller unit was designed with built in waste heat recovery, which is achieved by means of a desuperheater. The waste heat created during fermentation is subsequently reclaimed and used at the earlier “mashing” stage which requires water at 70-75°C. The heat reclaim process can achieve 50-55°C which means only a small amount of energy is then needed to top up the temperature to the required 70-75°C.

The new system’s energy credentials enabled Wild Card to successfully secure a £5,000 capital contribution from the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Fund. In addition to this, Aqua’s system is expected to save the brewery £3,000 each year in energy savings.

The full solution included:

  • Chiller with desuperheater for built in heat recovery
  • Glycol tank
  • Pumps
  • Individual temperature control systems for each tank – 12 in total
  • Bespoke design service
  • Support with a Carbon Trust Green Business Fund capital contribution application
  • Full installation – including electrical and mechanical works

For Wild Card the system has proved a real success. Head Brewer, Jaega Wise, explains “We’re really pleased with the new system at Lockwood Way, and after starting a crowdfunding campaign to facilitate our move, the annual savings are invaluable to us as an SME. The fact that Aqua are an approved supplier to The Carbon Trust and could help us secure an additional £5,000 funding was invaluable. We’re now looking forward to producing lots more Wild Card beer for everyone!”

carbon trust