ICS provides heating system21 April 2023

ICS heating system Hull University Teaching

ICS Cool Energy has retrofitted and decarbonised a heating system at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust with heat pump and multi-pipe chiller technologies.

Commissioned in October 2022, the Hull Royal Infirmary’s new heating system is based on an ICS Cool Energy multi-pipe Aptus chiller and an i-FH heat pump set to take over from gas-fired boilers.

The hospitals’ decarbonisation of heating project involving switching from gas fired boilers to renewable sources of heating is part of their ambitious Zero30 commitment to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Alex Best, head of capital at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Our efforts put us among the greenest hospitals in the UK and we are aiming to become one of the first hospital trusts in England to reach zero carbon emissions by 2030, up to 15 years earlier than the targets set by the Department of Health. The Trust has already made some significant progress towards this goal. Our project with ICS Cool Energy and the replacement of gas boilers with heat pumps is an important milestone in our journey. We also created a solar farm of 11,000 panels, which currently generates enough power to meet the daytime needs of the entire hospital site.”

For the hospital, maintaining the right temperature, humidity, and air quality is essential to ensure comfortable and healthy conditions for patients’ care and staff’s comfort all day and night. The existing heating plant serving two wards, office areas and seven operating theatres in the Hull Royal Infirmary, was based on 650kW gas boilers, and designed for a return hot water temperature of 80°C. This temperature range was also one of the main requirements for the new, environmentally friendlier technology.

The installed ICS Cool Energy Aptus multi-pipe unit is said to offer simultaneously up to 574kW of cooling and 695kW of heating, allowing the shift from a separate boiler and chiller to one single unit, reducing both operational costs and saving on energy. Featuring two completely independent water circuits, the units ensure precise temperature control for both chilled and hot water. For the production of hot water, the units use renewable and recovered energy, and can replace the existing fossil-fuel boiler and chiller system to deliver both cooling and heating for the building with no direct greenhouse gas emissions.

To boost the hot water temperature to the 80°C levels desired by the hospital, the multi-pipe chiller was paired with the 429kW i-FH water-to-water heat pump. The i-FH can deliver hot water between 50°C and 80°C, with source temperatures from +5°C to +30°C, offering a unique opportunity to move to renewable energy heating.

The installation and leading pipework for this project proved to be a complex task, requiring changes to the infrastructure and integration of the hospital’s chilled water and heat systems. Two of the old chillers were removed and the gas-boilers were temporarily kept for emergency. The hospitals’ Building Management System (BMS) was programmed to efficiently manage the old and new elements of the cooling and heating systems.

Best added: “This project and the significant progress in our decarbonisation efforts have been made possible thanks to the government grants received by the Trust. This also requires us to calculate and demonstrate the resulting savings. During the first five months of operations, since commissioning in October 2022, the average gas consumption for heating dropped by almost 69%. The new system has practically taken over the full heating load with the boilers kicking in just sporadically. In February 2023, gas consumption dropped to 40,748 kWh compared to 255,814 kWh the year before, and we expect it to keep dropping. The decarbonisation aspect of the project is further reinforced, as we use the electric power coming from our solar plant to power for the cooling and heating units.”

Operations Engineer

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