Ambitious EU energy targets go to ground

An example of where these are being achieved can be seen in Poland, where ground source heat pumps are employed highly effectively.

Sieniawka, a village in Western Poland, uses heat pumps connected to a closed ground group.

There are a number of examples of innovative projects that are contributing to the EU’s renewable energy strategy. One of these can be found in Sieniawka, a village in Western Poland that is using heat pumps connected to a closed ground loop.

The village was previously home to a military facility, which later became a factory for war technology. In more recent years the factory building became a National Institute for Neuroscience, meaning Sieniawka now serves as the medical heart of its region. Several different departments are located in multi-storey flats around the village.

A project took place to renovate the village’s infrastructure and as part of this the main hospital building has been modernised in line with renewable energy targets. There was a requirement for a renewable source of energy to heat the buildings. Aspol FV introduced a ground source heat pump incorporating Thermatrans PlusTTP, a mono propylene glycol (MPG)-based concentrate heat transfer fluid.

A modern ground source heat pump installation based on Viessmann heat pumps combined with Aspol’s Energeo ground source collection system is now in operation. The five multi-storey historic buildings are provided with renewable energy by a set of modern heat pump systems (200 - 250kW each) which combine domestic water, heating and cooling by the deployment of closed loop vertical collectors.

The ground source heat pump incorporates Kilfrost’s Thermatrans PlusTTP , which helps to reduce corrosion and avoid downtime, outages and failures.

Environmental requirements

The hospital team had a well-defined energy and money saving strategy in place and it was important the chosen system would support this. The Energeo ground source system for heat pumps is recognised in the Renewable Energy Sources (RES) Directive market and fully complies with environmental requirements and stringent criteria for renewable energy technologies.

The hospital also required a complete solution incorporating glycol as part of the collector system. It was fundamental that the system would be reliable. Downtime, outages and failures relating to heat pump systems can be extremely damaging in most environments. In the case of the hospital, if the heat pump system failed, there would no longer be a safe temperature for the patients and staff within the building. There would also be issues relating to the provision of hot water.

One of the main factors impacting upon the reliability of a system is corrosion. Helping to reduce corrosion within a system should be a focus for installers in order to maintain product quality and brand reputation.

Glycol is typically used as a heat transfer fluid and while it is not particularly corrosive in concentrate form, corrosion can become a problem when it is mixed with water to achieve the necessary frost protection. As a result, it is important to choose a heat transfer fluid that has advanced glycol inhibitors. Inhibited glycol-based heat transfer fluids mixed with water of a sufficient quality can limit corrosion, scaling and other harmful fouling within a system.

The ASTM D 1384-05 corrosion test standard is a useful tool for installers to determine whether a heat transfer fluid offers high levels of protection against corrosion. The test involves analysing metals used in heat transfer systems, such as aluminium, iron, steel, brass, solder and copper after they have been immersed in an inhibited glycol/water mixture.

The historic buildings are provided with renewable energy by a set of modern heat pump systems which uniquely combine domestic water, heating and cooling by the deployment of closed loop vertical collectors.

Safety critical

With the hospital’s requirements in mind, Aspol FV specified Kilfrost’s Thermatrans PlusTTP inhibited glycol-based heat transfer fluid which meets the ASTM corrosion test standard. UK-based Kilfrost has more than 80 years’ experience of inhibiting glycols in safety critical applications and operates globally, with customers in 76 countries.

Since using Kilfrost’s fluids, Aspol FV has been able to reduce corrosion, bacteria and scaling within its systems and the Institute for Neuroscience is benefiting from a reliable heat pump system. By limiting corrosion, this also reduces the need for maintenance, expensive repairs and system downtime, increasing the reliability of the heat pump installation and reducing costs. The overall longevity of the heat pump system is also improved. Having a clean and efficient system also reduces energy waste, contributing to the hospital’s energy strategy.

“A more reliable and robust system results in a happier customer. Kilfrost offers good technical and laboratory support and the inhibited glycol heat transfer package is top quality,” said Marcin Franke, director of trade and development at Aspol.

Renewable technologies are developing quickly in Poland and this is just one example of the wide implementation of heat pumps in the country. As well as considering the environmental performance of the system in place, it is also important to examine the impact that heat transfer fluids can have on its reliability and lifespan.

Adopting renewable technologies can be a significant investment and so ensuring that this investment is maximized is extremely important. As the uptake of heat pumps continues to rise across Europe, customers are looking for systems that are reliable and with the lifespan to offer good value for money.