UAE-based National Central Cooling Company (Tabreed) has announced the launch of four pilot projects, all part of its R&D funding commitment, which reinforces the company’s stewardship towards sustainability beyond just environmental benefits.
This will also contribute to an improvement in Tabreed’s operational efficiency while enhancing district cooling plant life and reliability, with the funding expected to contribute towards increasing plant energy efficiency by 30 per cent against comparable industry performance benchmarks as well as lowering overall plant lifecycle costs.
CEO Bader Saeed Al Lamki said: "Innovation, research and development is a very important pillar in our business strategy. Developing appropriate infrastructure, while preserving the environment is one of the key priorities in UAE Vision 2030 and we are committed to our key role in supporting the country’s sustainable development agenda."
"Energy efficiency is essential more than ever, and I am very proud of the relentless efforts of our innovation-focused teams who continuously work to make sure we adopt the latest technologies and pioneer the district cooling industry with the highest efficiency and less impact on our environment," stated Lamki.
"Future of Cooling" is the name of the first initiative. It aims to introduce a new concept design and control philosophy as well as innovative and disruptive technologies into each district cooling plant, resulting in material improvements in plant performance as well as a prolonged life and lower plant lifecycle costs.
Chief Development Officer François-Xavier Boul pointed out that based on the simulation of this pilot project, Tabreed is expecting a 25 to 30 per cent increase in performance, compared to the industry benchmarks.
"We will be tendering two projects based on this concept to validate how actual results compare to our analysis. This approach will be implemented accordingly in our existing plant operations (through retrofitting) and into future plants," he stated.
Carbon NanoTube is another R&D initiative by Tabreed which aims at drastically enhancing the performance and life span of plant and equipment as well as reducing plant and energy transfer station (ETS) footprints using carbon nanotube (CNT) material which has outstanding properties in terms of heat transfer, he explained.
"We are in discussion with several partners to provide us with the material and support such as ENGIE Lab CRIGEN in France, Sustainable Energy Development Research Group, and another reputed higher education institution in the region," revealed Xavier Boul.
"Through these partnerships, we will run pilot projects to confirm this approach to be adopted in our future plants," he added.
The third initiative is called "Wet Bulb Forecasting". The initiative will forecast customer demand more accurately for the next 24 hours to allow for a more efficient operation by optimising production of cooling, using AI.
The first step is to rely on a stable weather forecasting system based on information updated in real-time. The second step will be to use data science to develop models and correlations and finally, based on demand forecast, drive the plant performance.
The last initiative targets enhancing the district cooling plant’s condenser circuit and its cooling tower.
Tabreed said it is currently redesigning the equipment to enhance its efficiency through improving water and air distribution as well as heat transfer, which will eventually impact the overall performance of the plant.
The R&D and Innovation initiatives launch aligns with the commemoration of the UAE Innovation Week, which is being held under the slogan "UAE Innovates 2021", it added.