Reliable Heat In The Ice: EJ Bowman to supply heat exchangers for frigid climate
by i an cameron
A U.K.-based heat exchanger manufacturer is supplying critical parts to ensure reliable power for an application to be based in one of the world’s harshest environments.
EJ Bowman is supplying heat exchangers for a combined heat and power (CHP) system for the British Antarctic Survey’s new Halley VI station, which is currently under construction on the Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica, and due to be fully operational at the beginning of 2012. As the U.K.’s most isolated research facility, it houses laboratories and living accommodations for BAS scientists. The CHP system provides the occupants with a constant and reliable energy supply, including heating, lighting, ventilation and power.
It was designed by Westac Power Ltd. of Aldershot, England, and uses waste heat to warm the buildings and melted snow to provide hot water. The EJ Bowman heat exchangers capture the waste heat from the exshipment haust and cooling systems, which would otherwise escape into the atmosphere. This process allows the CHP unit to provide heating and hot water at no additional cost in terms of fuel usage or emissions to the environment, EJ Bowman said.
With the station operating in extreme temperatures in the middle of the Antarctic summer the average temperature is only -5°C, plunging to around -50°C in winter and estimated fuel demand of 240 000 L per year to keep the station operational, reducing energy consumption and emissions was critical in the design of the power system, according to EJ Bowman, headquartered in Birmingham, England. The company said the heat exchangers can reclaim almost all of the lost heat from the engine and achieve total performance efficiencies in excess of 90%. They help lower the cost of operation by reducing energy consumption and saving on fuel and exshipment costs, the company added.
According to Jamie Pratt, EJ Bowman’s sales manager, “If you take a typical 35 kW gen-set, the power generated can be increased substantially by recovering waste heat from the exhaust and cooling systems typically another 60 kW of thermal energy which would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere.” He added that even with the most efficient gen-sets, generating electricity alone is inefficient in terms of fuel input to power output. “For example,” Pratt said, “for a 100 kW (gross power) engine, only around 35% of the fuel energy gets converted to electrical energy. The balance is thermal loss and waste heat, which gets released to atmosphere through the exhaust, cooling and lubricating systems.
“Heat exchangers turn the gen-set into a CHP system, enabling waste heat to be captured. This significantly increases the gen-set’s efficiency while also providing customers with free heat and hot water.” Bowman’s products are used in a range of sustainable heating and power generation applications, including solar collection and biomass fuel boilers.