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Don’t Be Fazed By R22 Phase Out!

August 2014 – The deadline for the phase out of R22 refrigerant is fast approaching. From 1st January 2015 it will be illegal to use R22 to service industrial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, R22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) but was commonly used in equipment until it was categorised as ozone-depleting. The phase out includes all R22, including recycled or reclaimed. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) encourages companies to have a phase-out strategy in place in readiness for the deadline.

If you currently have equipment which uses R22 then you can choose one of three options – replace, convert or leave as-if. To decide the most appropriate option you’ll need to consider a number of factors, including the type of system you operate, its age, condition and efficiency. If you’re contemplating continuing to use your equipment, it’s important that you bear in mind that from next year it won’t be possible to carry out any service or maintenance work which involves breaking into the refrigerant circuit. DEFRA advises that companies cease using strategically important equipment before 2015. The harsh reality is that if the equipment is business critical, and the system leaks for any reason, the implications could be extremely costly.

It is possible to convert equipment using a “drop-in” refrigerant. Any conversions should be carried out by a trained engineer to protect against system leakage. Whilst this can be a cost effective option for well maintained equipment, converting can reduce cooling capacity and efficiency. It’s also not recommended if a system has already been converted in the past. Replacing equipment is likely to be the best solution for older, poor condition systems. A lot of equipment using HCFC will be 10-20 years old. Replacing with equipment that uses a non-ODS refrigerant however may not be as expensive as it first appears. Advances in chiller technology means equipment is now much more energy efficient.

Aqua Group have a comprehensive range of chillers, all using non-ODS refrigerant, which are highly efficient. These include Class A efficient free cooling chillers, SMARDT Turbocor Chillers and inverter driven screw units. For a completely free, no obligation site assessment by one of our specialist Engineers just call today. We can help guide you meet the R22 phase-out requirements and advise & help you decide the best course of action for your existing equipment.

c saints

Aqua On The Ball With Youth Sponsorship!

Aqua is delighted to be sponsoring Crofton Saints youth football team in Stubbington, Fareham for the team’s 2014/2015 season.

It’s the second time Aqua has sponsored the Under 10 Tigers team. The Tigers, whose home ground is Crofton Hammond Infant School, are currently playing in the Mid Solent Youth League. Crofton Saints have three Under 10 teams, Tigers (Legg Division) The Panthers (Coleman Division) and Lions (Cox Division).

Aqua Cooling’s sponsorship goes towards supplying the youngsters with their home kit and training jackets. The teams play fixtures on Saturday mornings and train weekly.

Sales Director, Simon Davis, explains “Crofton Saints FC is a great local organisation and gets so many local children involved at grass roots level, from as young as five years old. As a proud dad on the sidelines most Saturday mornings, it’s great to see all the budding David Beckhams and Steven Gerrards playing, come rain or shine!”

To track the teams’ progress you can follow this link – Crofton Saints

queens award 2015

Innovative Leak Prevention System Gains Royal Accolade!

Aqua Cooling Solutions is celebrating winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success. The award was granted for Innovation in recognition of one of Aqua’s data centre products, the UK-manufactured Leak Prevention System (LPS).

The principal use of the Aqua LPS is to enable computer data centres and server rooms to benefit from water-cooled data cabinets with guaranteed leak-free operation. At its heart is the innovative use of a simple scientific principle – not used before commercially in the computer data room sector.

The ability to utilise water as cooling, with leak-free guarantee, brings so many benefits to the market place. It allows a highly efficient alternative to traditional data centre air cooling methods, giving clients substantially lower energy costs and minimising their environmental footprint, in some cases by as much as 95%. In addition, as servers become increasing sophisticated, traditional air conditioning cooling methods will become ineffective, increasing the need further still for water cooled options.

Sales Director, Simon Davis, who designed the LPS concept for Aqua Cooling explains; “Our LPS system has propelled us into the data centre industry and enabled us to grow and develop our business within this market sector, both at home and overseas. In 2011/12 the data centre industry became 33% of our annual turnover – it was previously 0%. In addition, our LPS has opened up new geographical markets to the business, indeed our entire export market – we now manufacture and export from the UK to the Middle East, Africa and USA, with considerable potential to come.”

“In the last twelve months, employee numbers have risen from 30 to 43 and Aqua’s medium-term order book is healthy — we currently have potential US orders worth more than £20 million in the pipeline, as well as strong interest from one of China’s biggest companies. Receiving a Queen’s Award for Enterprise is such an honour, not just for me personally, but for the company as a whole. The Award recognises the contribution made by all of our employees on a daily basis to put Aqua on the map as a global market leader in the data centre field.”

Established in 2001, Aqua’s main office is in Fareham, with a satellite office in York and a sister company, QCooling, based in Dallas in the USA. Approximately 140 Queen’s Awards have been announced this year for outstanding business achievement in the fields of International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development. The awards are made annually by HM The Queen, and are only given for the highest levels of excellence demonstrated in each category.


CHAS Achievement

Aqua Group is proud to have achieved accreditation from the Contractors’ Health and Safety Scheme (CHAS)

CHAS is recognised as a market leader in the field of health and safety pre-qualification. The team complete health and safety assessments to a nationally-recognised and accepted standard.

To achieve our accreditation, Aqua Group went through a rigorous process of evaluation that involved an Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) representative reviewing the company’s health and safety policy and arrangements. The IOSH also looked at a series of risk assessments & method statements produced for live projects and installations and assessed our key sales and project management employees involved.

As a CHAS compliant supplier, buyers have peace of mind that Aqua demonstrates a level of compliance with health and safety law and is committed to health and safety as part of its business.

“We’re really pleased to have gained our CHAS certification”, commented Aqua’s Quality, Health and Safety Manager Shaun Tribbeck. “Our CHAS status will hopefully illustrate to existing clients and potential customers our on-going commitment to the highest levels of health and safety.”

propane chiller

New Propane Chiller Range

Propane is a 100% natural refrigerant and Aqua’s new range of propane R290 chillers offers cooling capacities from 20kw to 210kW.

In comparison with other commonly-used refrigerants, R290 has a low Global Warming Potential (GWP) of just three whereas R134a and R410A have GWP’s of 1300 and 1980 respectively.

As today’s businesses work within an ever-increasing moral & ethical framework, environmental responsibility is often a prime consideration. Aqua’s propane chiller range offers the advantages of a 100% natural refrigerant at a competitive price.

R290 units are also advantageous for projects working to Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (BREEM) guidelines.

For more information on our propane range view out R290 Hydrocarbon Propane chiller page – call the Sales team today.

iso 9001

ISO Success

Aqua Group is proud to have achieved ISO 9001 accreditation, the internationally recognised standard for quality management. The ISO standard specifies the basic requirements an organisation must fulfil to demonstrate its ability to consistently provide products & services that enhance customer satisfaction and meet applicable statutory, regulatory requirements. The process at Aqua began earlier this year when the first steps were taken towards formalising a quality management system for the business. There are 5 sections in the standard that specify activities that need to be considered and structured when the quality management system is implemented:

Overall requirements of the quality management system and documentation Management responsibility, focus, policy, planning and objectives Resource management and allocation Product realisation and process management Measurement, monitoring, analysis and improvement.

All members of Aqua staff were involved in working towards the accreditation and the management system looked in detailed at the different areas of the business from sales to contracting, installation and aftersales. “At Aqua we’ve always been committed to offering clients the highest levels of customer service and product quality so the ISO accreditation formally recognises that achievement” explains Director Kevin Lancaster. “The process has also enabled us to review our existing processes and to make changes and improvements which will improve our efficiency and have a direct benefit on both personnel and customers.” After an audit by the certification body ISOQAR in June, Aqua Group received their full accreditation on 7 July 2011.

carbon trust

Aqua Backs Eco Friendly Free Cooling Initiative

For companies thinking of replacing or upgrading an existing process chiller system, Aqua have just the answer – a Carbon Trust loan.

Part of a £10 million Government backed scheme, Energy-Efficiency Loans are designed to save companies money when they replace their equipment with a more energy efficient version. Whilst terms and conditions apply, most companies defined as Small or Medium-sized Enterprises (SME’s) can apply for between £5,000 to £100,000, unsecured for up to four years at 0% interest and with no arrangement fees involved.

To qualify the overall project cost must be less than, or equal to, five times the estimated annual energy savings. The term of the loan is determined by the energy payback of the project. For example a £6,000 loan which is anticipated to make an energy cost saving of £2,000 per year would be repaid over 3 years, with the monthly repayments calculated accordingly. Companies that have already taken advantage of the Energy-Efficiency Loans initiative have often found that a modest investment reduces their power bills by 20%.

Aqua Cooling Solutions offer an extensive project range, with all units available with free cooling. The option is factory fitted and all components are integrally mounted within the chillers. In addition, Aqua provide a ‘bolt on’ free cooler option which can be fitted retrospectively to an existing chilled water system to upgrade it to free cooling.

The free cooling circuit comprises of a finned copper tube, aluminium matrix with a 3 way valve fitted to the water circuit. This is controlled by the main electronic controller which also senses the outside ambient temperature. If the ambient temperature falls below the return water temperature, the valve bypasses the fluid through the free cooling coil to give partial or total free cooling.

In addition to conserving energy and reducing running costs, the free cooling reduces compressor-running time, maintenance costs and extends the longevity of the system.

“The Carbon Trust’s initiative is really a win, win situation for everyone involved” explains Aqua’s Director, Simon Davis. “Not only do smaller businesses get the opportunity to carry out projects that previously may not have been economically viable, but they then get to make regular energy savings whilst safeguarding the future of the environment” explains Aqua’s Director Simon Davis. “Several of our clients see payback for a free cooling system in as little as 12 months. Once these savings exceed the capital amount of the loan they go straight back onto the bottom line.”

chiller servicing

In-House Maintenance – The Real Hidden Cost

Whilst the sunny, warm early days of October were a welcome surprise to most of us, there’s no doubt that autumn is on its way as temperatures start to drop and the evenings draw in. But as our focus turns to images of the guy in the red suit, turkey dinners and building snowmen, it’s important to spare a thought for the welfare of your chiller equipment over the coming months.

Last winter, when outside temperatures plummeted to all time lows, our service team took an increasing number of emergency calls from companies whose chilled water systems had frozen, often beyond economical repair. The majority of these clients had been carrying out in house checks on their glycol levels but, in 90% of cases, glycol sampling had been taken incorrectly, by unskilled people, on the wrong part of the system, just disguising the potential problem.

Yet a simple preventive maintenance contract from Aqua Group would have ensured the problems had never occurred in the first place and would have saved each business a small fortune in repair and replacement equipment costs. Our Engineers ensure you have the right amount of the correct type of glycol in your system at all times, eliminating the need for in-house checks, taking away any uncertainty or room for error and giving you complete peace of mind.

Having the correct glycol level is critical and it is particularly important on free coolers and air blast units. It protects your equipment from low ambient and freezing process conditions. If your chilled water supply temperature is below 7°C then it’s likely you’ll need to use antifreeze. At this temperature flash freezing of the plates in the evaporator can rob a system of its efficiency, in some cases causing permanent damage. The right level of glycol will also offer protection from freezing in heat exchangers and free cooling coils. Equally, an excessive concentration of antifreeze will reduce system capacity.

It’s also vital to use the right type of glycol for your system’s requirements. Process chillers more commonly use ethylene or propylene glycol which is available in temperature ranges of -51°C to 177°C.

Pharmaceutical and food applications often require food grade antifreeze.

All our Aqua glycol has multi metal inhibiters as standard.

preventive maintenance plan from Aqua will ensure the longevity, efficiency and cost effectiveness of your system and therefore actually save you money. To arrange a visit, or if you’d simply like some free advice, call our Service team.


FGAS Regulations – Ensure Your Compliance

If you’re operating stationary refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pump equipment then you probably already know you have legal obligations with regard to the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations (FGG) legislation. But, from our experience, whilst companies are aware of FGG there is some confusion as to what’s actually required.

The UK is committed to contain, prevent and reduce emissions of F gases as part of the EU’s obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. The FGG 2009 regulations, when applied to the refrigeration industry, relate to areas such as:

  • Leakage checking
  • Recovery of F Gas from equipment during maintenance, service & end of life
  • Equipment labelling

The legislation is regulated by your local authority, Environment Agency or similar body depending on your location. If the local authority is the regulator in your area a variety of its departments could take action when it comes to F gas regulatory work – for example Trading Standards, Environmental Health, Food Safety etc.

The regulator has a range of options at its disposal to ensure compliance and will use the one it believes best achieves this. If an organisation was not to comply the regulator may do the following:

  • Provide advice and guidance to ensure compliance
  • Serve an “enforcement notice” – if a person has contravened, is contravening or likely to contravene the regulations
  • Serve a “prohibition notice” – if specific requirements are contravened or there’s a risk that they will be contravened and such contravention will involve “an imminent danger of serious pollution of the environment” The regulator using this notice can insist on a piece of equipment being shut down or even full site closure.

Operators are required to keep records for each piece of equipment they have, detailing any work carried out on the equipment, whom it was done by, details of any refrigerant added or removed. Anyone committing an offence under these regulations is liable to criminal prosecution.

At Aqua Group all of our Service Engineers are fully F Gas trained and up to date with the exact requirements of the legislation. When we commission your equipment for you we check it after install to ensure there’s no F gas leakage. We also label new equipment in the correct way and are able to give advice on record keeping to ensure your full compliance with FGG 2009 regulations.

data centre

Innovative Computer Cooling – AQUA VAC

Our innovative cooling system uses the very latest data centre rear door heat exchanger technology to bring unprecedented levels of energy saving, flexibility, safety and reliability to a data centre set-up.

Heat is taken directly at source via a rear door heat exchanger which gives precision cooling to the entire rear face of the server cabinet and ensures there is no recirculation of hot air. The heat exchanger utilises water as it’s cooling medium (which is 3500 times more effective than air by volume) and results in an extremely energy efficient and reliable chilled rack environment. The water is chilled to 14ºC, compared to 6ºC with a standard CRAC unit, giving increased performance on the external chillers of 15%.

The Aqua Vac leak prevention system (patent pending, GB0819910.1) eliminates any danger of water leakage. The pipe work system works completely under negative pressure with air being continually sucked in. In addition, dew point control prevents any condensation forming on the back of the heat exchanger, even in the height of summer.

In summary, advantages include:

  • Considerable power reduction/energy saving – between 68-75% when compared to a typical CRAC unit. A substantial saving on overheads when you consider that a third of data centre running costs are commonly attributed to refrigeration/air conditioning.
  • Direct cooling at heat source.
  • Constant vacuum system – no risk of leakage, plus dew point control.
  • Versatility – easily expandable and workable with an existing system. For example, if you have installed newer, additional, more powerful servers to your data room you can add our rear door heat exchangers to individual cabinets to eliminate the increased heat load.
  • Fully compatible – can be retro fitted to any brand of server, you can change rack supplier but still utilise the same cooling equipment.
  • Requires no specific site plan and no additional floor space.
  • DX version available – works on refrigeration rather than water and uses a condenser rather than chiller system. This is ideal for situations where there is no option to site a chiller externally to a building, for example in central London or if landlord agreements prohibit.