Earlier this year Dometic announced that it had extended its titanium condensers to its line of Variable Capacity or VARC chillers, combining the use of industrial-grade titanium with variable speed technology. This means that the new titanium VARCX offers all the efficiency benefits associated with the VARC chiller line, plus the condenser coils made of titanium make the units virtually immune to erosion and corrosion, significantly extending the life of cooling systems.
Hickinbotham said, “The use of titanium is a ground-breaking development for chiller longevity in the marine industry, providing boaters, captains and boat builders with a vastly more corrosion-resistant material. Titanium is a very strong material that does not erode easily and therefore makes robust and long-lasting condenser tubes for vessel chillers.”
System efficiency is now very high on every Chief Engineer’s radar as it leads to less load on the engines, more reliability and easier fault diagnosis. The advancements in system performance analysis are showing great rewards. Stuart Ginbey the Managing Director of Tradewinds Engineering Ltd says, “Our computer based monitoring equipment can measure the exact performance of a chiller and verify data such as kW of cooling, COP, SEI, Compressor Isentropic Efficiency, sub cooling, superheat, stabilised control strategies and a whole lot more. And the best part is, the data doesn’t lie! The numbers are witnessed in real time which makes this an ideal verification tool.”
At Synergy Consulting Patrick Voorn is seeing the use of independent HVAC consultants become more common in projects involved during the design up till delivery. He says, “The benefits of using an independent consultant is that they take care of the client’s wishes and that they are not solely looking at the HVAC system but at the total integration. Consultants are also aware of the expectations in way of how clients use their yacht, specific areas on this yacht, what he/she is expecting from a technical point of view like comfort, noise and energy use. He adds, “The products that we see are the monitoring systems, smart controls in the accommodation, air filtration systems, waste heat recovery systems, but also crew training as a product. The proper functioning of a system starts with understanding how it works.”
When it comes down to it there is much more about buying an HVAC system than is at first realised. Voorn suggests, “Most yards rely on the knowledge of their suppliers to get the job done properly. Engineering companies design almost every system there is on board themselves. These include: grey water, black water and propulsion. Yet frequently the HVAC system is a turnkey bought off the shelf system engineered by the supplier. Every yacht owner should instead insist that this system should be customised and tailored to their precise needs, especially given what they are being asked to pay for them. Someone like us needs to ask the right questions for them so that they do not just get given what is available. There are much more adjustments possible than you would imagine.”
Clearly variable speed and titanium condenser coils are among the HVAC products and services that are trending currently. Paul Hickinbotham, at Dometic says, “The majority of 30m-plus boats in EMEA now use VARCs, so these original units will be replaced by the new titanium versions. Our capability to use titanium represents a fundamental shift that will have a huge impact on the way future chillers are designed and manufactured, which is why we are progressing the transfer of all our products to titanium condensers following a period of evaluations and feedback. To ensure our air conditioning systems feature the same longevity to last for the next half century, we have taken the opportunity to completely re-engineer this aspect of our on board systems.”
VARIABLE SPEED AND TITANIUM CONDENSER COILS ARE AMONG THE HVAC PRODUCTS AND SERVICES THAT ARE TRENDING CURRENTLY
Designed to meet the stringent requirements for superyacht vessels, the durable titanium VARCX is much easier to maintain as it can resist marine corrosion and also withstand the cleaning methods which are often used to keep invasive marine life out of the chiller’s plumbing.
Stuart Ginbey at Tradewinds Engineering believes, “Independent surveys are really trending right now as clients want proof that their equipment has been commissioned correctly. Our performance analysis tool does exactly that. Our bespoke Marine Refrigeration training course is also very popular at the moment as students learn how to repair refrigeration systems and also gain the City
& Guilds 2079 qualification in the process. During this course we focus on systems such as the provisions refrigeration plant and running multiple cool-rooms and freezers off a duty/standby condenser set. We also look at the AC Chilled Water plant and other equipment that can be found on superyachts and larger merchant vessels.”
Stuart Ginbey at Tradewinds Engineering says, “What is of concern is that people’s awareness of our impact on global warming has changed significantly over the last 10 years. Most people now realise that refrigerants are bad for the environment and the introduction of stricter regulations has forced technicians to become better trained and educated. Whilst there is a cost element to training, this is far outweighed by the benefits of having a skilled workforce.”
The future of HVAC
At Synergy Consultancy Patrick Voorn believes that in the future there will be a greater use of smarter automation systems than there is now. “The focus,” he says, “will be on energy consumption and air quality. Viruses, bacteria and mould are a major influence when it comes to the health of owners, guests and crew and we have to take care of that as well. In the future we will be able to monitor the air quality from a distance.”
With customers looking for more efficient systems using minimal power consumption the HVAC industry is constantly changing and evolving. What is often seen as a background problem of little importance is in fact hugely important to the wellbeing of a well run superyacht.