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Raising the bar for a greener tomorrow

Rapid industrialization and growing population are increasingly changing the ecology of the planet. With all the increment in population and development, there are growing concerns of greenhouse gas emissions depleting green cover and causing global warming issues on one hand, the demand for energy resources is increasing on the other. The total energy resources are limited though and will be insufficient to fulfil the demand, until new sustainable sources of renewable energy are explored and more importantly, energy efficient systems are utilized to reduce energy wastage and greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: Danfoss

Let's have a look at how various industry applications can utilize some of these energy efficient and pollution-reducing systems.

Use of Natural Refrigerants

One of the biggest concerns with HVAC systems is the use of synthetic refrigerants like CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs. They are the biggest causes of green house gas emissions, with high GWP (Global Warming Potential) and ODP (Ozone Depleting Potential). CO2, as a natural refrigerant, on the other hand, has a negligible GWP as compared to CFCs (almost 1/ 1,400th that of CFCs) and zero ODP. With more research in economical design, new components suitable for natural refrigerants can make HVAC systems more environment-friendly

Use of Heat Pumps

Air conditioning and hot water are some of the prime requirements of hospitality industry. Installation and maintenance of separate heating and air-conditioning infrastructure in hotels can significantly dent the bottom lines, in addition to exhausting substantial fossil-fuel resources. To reduce both operating costs and the carbon footprint of hotels, scroll compressor based heat pumps provide an ideal choice for provision of sanitary hot water supply and air-conditioning simultaneously. They extract heat from ambient air, and add that heat to water to make hot water. So the heat that would be otherwise released into the air, with potential environment damage, is utilized to provide hot water at significantly reduced costs and lower carbon footprint

Use of Turbocor Compressors

HVAC infrastructure occupies a high portion of the energy consumption, often in commercial buildings that require 24X7 cooling systems, like hospitals and datacenters. But the chiller technology used in these cooling systems has problems of high power usage and inefficient operations due to their size and a high energy loss due to friction in chiller bearings. The lightweight and compact-sized Turbocor compressors with the use of a centrifugal compressor and oil-free magnetic bearing design provide substantially improved reliability. The oil-free bearings are extremely efficient as they use 180 watts of energy compared to 10,000 watts that a conventional lubrication system uses, resulting in energy savings of 98.2%

Use of Variable Frequency Drives

Motor-driven equipment accounts for a significant portion of the electricity consumed by various industries. With businesses coming under increasing pressure to reduce energy usage and operating costs, variable frequency drives (VFDs) are emerging as a popular solution.

Most motors do not need to run at 100 % capacity all of the time—the motors in various applications require variable speeds at different times. VFDs take the fixed power supplied to them and convert it into a variable frequency and variable voltage source which then feeds motors. This way, VFDs can help control the equipment's output to match the operation's needs and optimize processes, saving energy when full output is not required.VFDs also reduce operating costs while improving the process, by reducing equipment setup time, enhancing system reliability, saving energy, and lowering wear and tear6. Overall, they help motor-driven equipment and systems consume less power thus reducing the burden on power generation systems.

VFDs provide the most significant benefits for those that require variable speed operation, like centrifugal chillers for HVAC, variable refrigerant flow systems, pressure booster pumps for water distribution in multi-storey buildings, electric motors in pharmaceutical industry, cement kilns, crane and hoist operations in mining industry, and compressors in oil and gas industry

Use of inverter packaged condensing units

These condensing units are the optimized combination of efficiency, reliability, easy installation and sound performance in application such as cold storage, milk cooling tanks, fermentation rooms, canteens, restaurants, hospitals, etc2. With hot gas defrost systems with two-stage solenoid valves, variable frequency drives, valve stations and system controllers, among others—these condensing units reduce downtime, lower maintenance costs and operational expenditure, and save as much as 15–20 percent in energy costs when compared to conventional cold stores

The challenges of energy conservation, exploring new renewable energy sources, and reducing carbon emissions will remain the most significant in the 21st century. It is inevitable that more reliable, less polluting, and energy-efficient systems will need to be devised and employed at every stage of commercial and residential development. A variety of applications today can be made greener with more effective and energy-efficient technologies. It's high time we make the shift to these technologies in order to pave the road for a greener tomorrow.

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