To reduce energy consumption and equipment wear and tear, the Intellicon boiler control continuously determines the optimum burner-firing pattern while the unit is in operation. The burner cycle is modified, reportedly resulting in a more efficient use of the heating system.
With the growing concern surrounding energy efficiency, it only makes sense that appliances start to directly communicate savings to the consumer. That was exactly the thought process that Intellidyne LLC used to create its second-generation IntelliCon product, a hydronic boiler control featuring a liquid-crystal display (LCD) that gives end-users an immediate readout on the percentage of fuel the device is saving.
The patented boiler control is available as a stand-alone product, but can also be sold to OEMs who want to add value to their boiler designs. “The Intellidyne controls not only improve the energy consumption profile of the boiler, they also reduce environmental pollution and provide end-users with feedback about their boiler, such as heating water temperature, domestic hot water temperature, and energy savings,” says Michael L. Ruff, chief operating officer of the Glen Cove, New York, U.S.–based company. “It also accumulates and displays the aggregate savings since the control was installed.”
The technology is said to reduce energy consumption by optimizing system performance through real-time “load-demand” analysis and control. “The sensors on the control monitor and track the rate of change of the water in the heating system. Based on how rapidly the water temperature changes, the control changes the minimum water temperature,” Ruff explains. “This allows the boiler output to better match the heating load on the system, which reduces the number of boiler cycles and reduces boiler run time.” The end result is subsequent reductions of energy consumption, wear and tear on the equipment, maintenance requirements, and pollution.
According to Ruff, the challenge in designing the control was finding the right microprocessor. “Intellidyne wanted to ensure that the information being displayed was real,” he says. “To accomplish this, a larger microprocessor was needed to hold the data and perform the calculations.” After working closely with several vendors, the company chose the PIC 18F2520 microcontroller from Microchip Technology Inc. of Chandler, Arizona, U.S.
To prove the boiler control’s capabilities, it has also undergone performance testing at several research facilities. Most recently, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) completed a study of 13 field-test sites that documented energy savings of 13% and pollution reduction of 47% in HVAC equipment using the control.
Although the IntelliCon control has been specifically designed for boilers, the company also offers controls for furnaces, central air-
conditioning systems, and commercial refrigeration systems.