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Camfil, Inverter Drive Systems combine to improve AHU efficiency

03 April 2013

Users of air handling units (AHUs) can achieve maximum efficiency from their equipment following an agreement between ABB Drives Alliance member Inverter Drive Systems (IDS) and leading air filtration specialist Camfil

The partnership with IDS means that customers retrofitting Camfil air filters will be able to have an ABB variable-speed drive fitted at the same time.

A filter installed in a HVAC system offers resistance to the air flowing through it, causing the air pressure to drop downstream of the filter. The higher this resistance to the air flow, the higher the pressure drop. This means the fan will need to work harder, using more energy, in order to supply the proper air volume.

The energy consumption is directly proportional to the average pressure drop over the filter.A typical installation running half the time over 1 year, for every additional Pascal in pressure drop over the filter adds £1 in extra energy cost. A single bad filter construction could add 50 Pascals thereby adding £50 in additional energy costs per filter per year.Energy accounts for 70 percent of the total life cycle cost of the filter system.

Camfil’s filters are designed to solve this problem by distributing the incoming air over the entire surface of the filter, giving minimum resistance to the air flow and thus minimising pressure drop.

The high energy efficiency possible with the Camfil filters is increased still further by an ABB variable-speed drive. The greater air flow available can be controlled via a pressure or flow transducer, allowing supply to exactly meet demand, giving further energy savings.

The agreement offers AHU users the filter expertise of Camfil and the variable-speed drive experience of IDS/ABB to achieve the most efficient solution for their air handling application.

Bill Wilkinson of Camfil says: “We have not previously had the opportunity to engage with a national drive specialist with the pedigree of ABB. There are over 11 million motors in the UK driving fixed speed fans in AHUs, by fitting variable-speed drives will createsubstantial energy savings for all.”

The deal will hopefully see hundreds of ABB variable-speed drives installed, ranging in size from 3 kW to 300 kW.

“Using high efficiency filters is a simple way to save energy. A low energy air filter achieves a much lower average pressure drop during its life and therefore puts less load on the fan motor, meaning less energy consumed.

“Combining our filters with ABB variable-speed drives, users of AHUs can achieve payback times of around 12 months and can often finance the project through the revenue budget, avoiding CAPEX investment.

“Our aim is to show users how they can save 20 to 30 percent on their energy bills and our deal with IDS will bring AHU users even greater savings,” adds Wilkinson.

“Camfil will act as the eyes of IDS and ABB,” says Wilkinson.

“We see a lot of opportunities to improve the operation of AHUs with variable-speed drives. IDS and ourselves are complementary and we are both active in the HVAC market. IDS are proactive and easy to work with and we hope that the partnership will lead to us bringing the benefits of high efficiency filters and variable-speed drives to many more customers.

“This is a solution to an old problem of how to improve the efficiency of AHUs that we are all finally waking upto,” adds Wilkinson. “The appetite for projects that will reduce the energy consumption of AHUs is gathering pace and will increase exponentially over the next few years.”

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