issue: June 2007 APPLIANCE Magazine
On the Forefront of HVACR
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by Steve Wichelecki, Contributing Editor
HVACR professionals from around the world attended Climatización 2007, in search of the latest in refrigeration, air-conditioning, and heating technology.
Organizer IFEMA and promoter AFEC, the Association of Air-Conditioning Equipment Manufacturers, presented the largest Climatización ever, with the participation of 2025 companies, 799 of which were direct exhibitors, with 610 Spanish and 189 foreign.
The last few years have seen a boom in Spain’s air-conditioning industry, with this sector now equaling that of heating. Turnover has increased by no less than 25%. Last year, the industry achieved sales of more than US$2 billion. It is said that the AC boom has been driven by Spain’s climate, coupled with the country’s insufficient installed base of comfort conditioning equipment in homes, as well as increasing cultural acceptance and a rising standard of living.
Another factor impacting the HVAC industry in Spain is the implementation of new standards. Striking examples are the CTE (Spanish Technical Building Code) and the RITE (Regulations on Thermal Installations in Buildings), which, among other things, make solar panels obligatory on new and renovated buildings. As a result of such legislation, the HVACR industry has been increasingly exploring and marketing alternative technologies—such as solar and wind—while maximizing the efficiency of established HVACR technologies.
In fact, it is forecast that Spain’s installers and manufacturers of solar power equipment will have a turnover of nearly $1.3 billion in 2007, according to figures furnished by consulting company DBK. The company predicts a year-on-year increase of 80% within this industry. Spain is also a world leader in the production of wind-generated electricity, ranking second in terms of the number of wind-powered generators, according to a report by the Global Wind Energy Council for 2006. The country produced 11,615 megawatts and was surpassed only by Germany.
Another form of alternative energy gaining momentum in Spain is cogeneration, which, it is estimated, will account for 20% of the country’s electricity production within the next few years. Solar cooling technology, which utilizes the sun’s heat to produce cold and operates at efficiency rates as high as 70%, are also being refined, with the hope of an eventual widespread incorporation into residential applications.
Climatización 2007 offered the third installment of the exposition’s Innovation Gallery, a section that provides insight into the most innovative products presented and marketed by exhibiting companies. The showcased products were chosen by a committee of industry professionals, who sought the most technologically innovative, environmentally friendly products from participating exhibitors.
Sevilla, Spain–based Sanyo Aire Acondicionado de Espana presented its Virus Washer air-purifier system. The electrolyzed-water technology removes more than 99% of airborne viruses, bacteria, and mold, as well as pollen, dust mites, feces, and shells. It also removes odors caused by tobacco and pets. The system electrolyzes tap water containing chloride ions to generate hypochlorous acid and hydroxyl radicals, two types of active oxygen species that suppress viruses and microbes. To clean the air in large spaces (300 m3), the fan speed can be set to 8 m3/min. This is said to make the Virus Washer suitable for use in schools, hospitals, and other large spaces where people gather. The cleaning capacity is said to be capable of circulating the air approximately 2.7 times per hour in an area about the size of a school classroom (approximately 180 m3).
Giacomini, headquartered in San Mauricio d’Opaglio, Italy, displayed its R557R preassembled and prewired mixing and distributing manifold for mixed radiant floor and radiator installations, which is said to provide considerable comfort and high energy-saving benefits. The manifold comes with two or three connections for radiators and up to 12 connections for underfloor heating. The manifold mixes the delivery high temperature with the return water of the floor circuits via a three-way thermostatic valve and a thermostatic head. The preassembled manifold includes circulator, safety thermostat, thermostat head with sensor, and distribution cabinet.
Koolair S.A. of Madrid was selected for its DF-49-TR diffuser, which incorporates a thermal element that, depending on the temperature of the pumped air, varies the angle of inclination of the nozzle without any need for manual or motorized activation. In this manner, it avoids stratification and controls the air velocity in the occupied area. A screw works as the stopper when the nozzle swivels up for cooling, the standard angle being 0°. As the temperature of the air supply increases, a thermo-adjustable element starts to push an operation lever. The nozzle will move downwards in direct proportion to the temperature of the air supply. In the same way, if the air supply’s temperature decreases, the thermo-adjustable element starts to release pressure against the operation lever, allowing the nozzle to swivel upwards.
The Altherma system from Daikin AC Spain (Madrid) was selected for the Innovation Gallery. It offers a single combined system for heating, refrigeration, and hot water. The heat-pump-based system incorporates water-to-air technology, allowing for the accessibility of air as the heat source, low investment cost, emission-free operation, and easy installation and maintenance.
The system is capable of extracting sufficient heat from the outside air to comfortably heat a home, even on the coldest days of winter, resulting in less primary fuel consumption and reduced CO2 emissions. The main components are an outdoor unit and an indoor hydro-box. The heat pump extracts available heat from the air, upgrades it, and sends it to the indoor hydro-box, in which the heat is transferred to warm water that is pumped to radiators and floor heating elements. A sanitary hotwater option is available that takes advantage of the heat pump. This is accomplished via a purposebuilt sanitary tank that is heated by a heat pump exchanger and an electric booster heater. A cooling option of the hydro-box is available. Moderate cooling is achieved by circulating cooled water through radiators and the under-floor heating system. The hydro-box can also be set to provide maximum cooling via fan-coil units.
The outdoor unit extracts low-temperature heat from the surrounding air and increases its temperature. The upgraded heat is then transmitted via the refrigerant circuit to the indoor hydro-box.
The indoor hydro-box transfers the heat in the refrigerant to the water circulated in the central heating radiators, underfloor heating system, and sanitary hot water tank. In the combined heating and cooling version of the indoor hydro-box, cooling is achieved by reducing the water temperature to 4°C and circulating it through fan coil units. The system can also provide moderate cooling via the underfloor heating system or radiators by limiting the lowest water temperature. The preparation of sanitary hot water is performed by switching the system from cooling or heating to sanitary mode.
A purpose-built stainless-steel sanitary hot water tank, constructed to maintain high energy efficiency, is available to meet sanitary hot-water needs. The combination of an electric booster heater in the upper part of the tank and a heat pump exchanger in the lower part ensures the lowest possible energy consumption with rapid water heating. In addition, a built-in function raises the water temperature to 70°C or higher at least once a week to remove any possibility of Legionella bacteria growth.
Optional indoor fan-coil units can be connected to the Altherma system for cooling.
Ciatesa of Montilla, Spain, exhibited its Space PF, an air-to-air heat pump that enables active recovery of extracted air by means of a refrigerated circuit. This considerably increases the equipment’s energy efficiency, given that it does not depend on external weather conditions. The overall efficiency improvement of this equipment comes to more than 40%, achieving a particularly high energy-efficiency rating. Furthermore, this recovery circuit adapts its thermal power to air renewal needs based on the level of occupation at any particular time.
Danfoss SA of San Sebastian de los Reyes, Spain, was selected for its ICF valve station. The device can be used to replace manual valves, solenoid valves, regulation valves, motorized valves, etc., with a compact block, incorporating a number of different functions in the same component. It is compact and said to be easy to assemble, with a reduced number of soldering points between components. Its single one-piece body provides ports for up to six functional device modules that are configured specifically for a customer’s application and shipped as a complete subassembly, ready for installation into the OEM’s products.
The modular function inserts that can be mounted on an ICF body include stop valves, strainers, solenoid valves, check valves, combination stop/check valves, and motorized or hand expansion valves. The ICF body also offers side ports for sight glasses, temperature or pressure sensors, pressure gauges, and a side exit for a drain or bypass. The ICF valve station features a high design working pressure of 754 psi and a low minimum working temperature of –60°C. The ICF valve station is suitable for use with R-717 and all common HFC refrigerants, plus CO2. Standard features include zinc chromate corrosion protection and stainless-steel trim.