Over the last 12 months, Swedish manufacturer Alfa Laval has sold “millions” of its heat exchangers, helping its customers save 100GW of energy, according to Thomas Møller, President of the company’s Energy Division.
Møller delivered these remarks during Alfa Laval’s recent Net Zero Launch Event, where the company’s heat exchangers – which are used in ammonia/NH3 (R717) and CO2 (R744) applications – were a significant focus.
The event took place online on September 16 and was a follow-up from its first Net Zero of the year, which took place in February. According to Møller, the company is already planning its next launch event.
During the event, Møller was joined by several colleagues from around the world to look at how Alfa Laval’s new innovations can help “combat some of the biggest climate challenges for our customers today.”
In addition to discussing heat exchangers, Alfa Laval team members shared details on solutions like their company’s thermal image recognition application, which can help quickly identify and fix any operational issues with its heat exchangers and its hybrid air coolers (HYAC).
Energy-efficient data center cooling
According to Fredrik Ekström, President of the Business Unit Brazed and Fusion Bonded Heat Exchangers at Alfa Laval, there is unprecedented demand for data centers, and by 2030, they will consume 20% of all global energy, with 40% of that going to cooling.
As the technology progresses, it will produce even more heat and require smarter innovations to cool them efficiently, he explained.
“We have been leading in heat transfer technologies for more than 80 years,” said Anna Blomborg, Industry Manager of Data Centers at Alfa Laval. “Now we are putting our expertise to help the data center industry overcome their sustainability challenges.”
“We have been leading in heat transfer technologies for more than 80 years. Now we are putting our expertise to help the data center industry overcome their sustainability challenges.”Anna Blomborg, Alfa Laval
Alfa Laval’s heat exchangers can be used for energy-efficient liquid cooling as well as heat reclamation at data centers of all sizes all over the world, Blomborg added.
According to Julien Gennetier, Vice President of Alfa Laval’s Energy Division, the company’s heat transfer technologies can help “maximize the performance of a data center with minimum primary energy use and maximum heat reuse.”
Thermal imaging for peak performance
A key opportunity for reducing global emissions, according to Alfa Laval, is to ensure that heat exchangers are performing at optimal efficiency. In fact, the manufacturer has said that up to 2.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions can be prevented by making sure that heat exchangers are maintained and optimized.
“Fouling, clogging and maldistribution will impact a gasketed plate heat exchanger’s performance,” said Alfa Laval. “Detecting these problems on time will open up [an] untapped source of savings.”
To solve this issue, the company has partnered with Microsoft AI to develop a thermal image recognition application to help end users quickly identify and fix problems with their equipment.
According to the manufacturer, this app will help reduce GHG emissions, maintain peak performance, control costs and reduce risks. The software is free to use and will be launched soon.
Alfa Laval is also working on a “connectivity solution” for heat exchangers that will allow the company to “take the next step in performance monitoring and optimization.” This will be launched later this fall.
Hybrid air coolers
To enable customers to better deal with fluctuating seasonal temperatures, Alfa Laval has developed its hybrid air coolers (HYAC), which combine both wet and dry cooling to match the ambient temperature of its customers’ plants and mitigate the need for two separate cooling technologies.
According to the manufacturer, this “reduces water and energy usage while maintaining the proper process temperature.”
Alfa Laval offers two HYAC products. The “single-zone” air cooler is a one-zone cooler that can switch between wet and dry cooling. This makes it easier to reach the right outlet temperature where there are high fluctuations in ambient conditions. The “dual-zone” air cooler includes a transitional air-cooled heat exchanger, as well as an evaporative cooler that adds to the overall cooling capacity.
According to Brandy Moore, General Manager of US Welded Heat Exchangers at Alfa Laval, the company’s hybrid system “lasts longer, has a smaller footprint and is less expensive to operate when compared to running multiple pieces of cooling equipment.”
Net zero by 2050
With a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, Alfa Laval is taking multiple steps to reduce the carbon footprint of its customers as well as its own operations.
By next year, the company hopes to have reduced its scope 1 (direct from its operations) and scope 2 (indirect, or use of electricity provided by power plants) emissions by 50%, and according to Møller, it is on track to meet that target.
“Getting to net zero by 2050 is one of the biggest challenges we’ve ever faced,” he added. “We have to rethink how we do things… We have [some] great examples of how we can go into action mode today.”
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