Tabreed & Masdar Institute to partner on cooling

R&D project will see pair work on a chiller plant 'smart controller'

The pair are set to work on a new 'smart controller' for district cooling plants.
The pair are set to work on a new 'smart controller' for district cooling plants.

District cooling giant Tabreed has partnered with Masdar Institute to work on a research and development (R&D) project that is seeking to boost operational performance and lower energy consumption in district cooling plants.

The current project seeks to create a ‘smart controller’ for chiller plants that is capable of “intelligently and independently managing district cooling plants”. The two organisations are currently working on a software module that can be integrated into a cooling plant’s control system to monitor variables such as chilled water supply, return flow and humidity levels. The system will then be capable of automatically selecting the operational capacity equipment needs to work at to meet current cooling requirements economically and efficiently.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the Masdar Institute in this important area and hope to utilise this project to gain some critical insights. Although we are in the data gathering stage at this point, this system offers interesting possibilities for the future as it can potentially lead to significant energy reductions,” said Tabreed CEO, Jasim Thabet, on the announcement.

Principal investigators on the project are Masdar Institute’s Dr Peter Armstrong, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr Afshin Afshari, professor of practice, Engineering Systems & Management.

“For the Tabreed project, we will model and monitor a typical chiller plant in order to find cost-effective ways to reduce peak-demand, energy and carbon impacts. Actions may include variable-speed drives and multi-stage compressors as well as optimal control to coordinate operation of compressors, pumps and cooling towers. Phase 2 will consider cool storage and advanced controls to shift chiller load (and thus also electric utility load) to morning hours when cooler temperatures result in more efficient operation,” said Dr Peter Armstrong.

Tabreed’s plant in Mohammed bin Zayed City in Abu Dhabi has been chosen as the site of the pilot project. The firm has said that any successful patents brought as a consequence of the scheme will be registered under both Tabreed and Masdar Institute.



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