The Intelligent Efficiency Research Group (IERG) devised an automated fault detection and diagnostic tool for HVAC systems.

Results

  • 2.7m

    kWh of annual energy savings
  • €189,800

    Annual cost savings

Key achievements

New energy saving identification tool

By devising an automated, cross platform system of Automated Fault Detection and Diagnosis (AFDD), a beta stage tool has been developed by IERG researchers to automatically identify energy savings.

Development into other areas

Based on the success of the HVAC AFDD tool, the IERG group has commenced research to expand their fault detection software to other areas including air compressors and boilers.

Minimising errors

The new tool continuously monitors the operation of Air Handling Units (AHUs) to ensure that system faults no longer go unnoticed.

Savings achieved

The projects described here yielded total energy savings of €189,000 across 26 pilot air handling units for 6 industrial and commercial sites.

The project

IERG bring engineers and software experts together to develop analytical tools which support companies in their sustainability goals. Often, efficiency support tools are designed by software engineers without engineering and manufacturing domain expertise guiding the decision making. IERG bring these disciplines together, delivering dashboard based analysis to complex engineering systems.

IERG researchers are working with industrial partners across a number of projects to deliver their vision of the factory of the future. This near zero carbon facility will operate in tandem with client needs. It will allow delivery of the most carbon-efficient product to the customer in their desired timeframe. This will be achieved by ensuring that energy is consumed in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible. Using information and rich decision support systems aids key decision-making on critical items such as production planning and maintenance regimes.

The IERG’s flagship project was an automated fault detection and diagnostic tool for heating ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC AFDD). It was carried out in partnership with the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and the Innovation for Ireland’s Energy Efficiency (i2e2) technology centre, with support from Enterprise Ireland. Using the FDD tool could significantly reduce HVAC system energy consumption across sectors globally.

HVAC system energy consumption accounts for around 40% of an industrial site’s total energy consumption. This amounts to approximately €200,000 – €500,000 per annum in HVAC operating costs for an average sized industrial or large scale commercial site. From experience and case studies, 20 – 30% of energy savings are achievable by re-commissioning Air Handling Units (AHU) in HVAC systems to rectify faulty operation.

Typically, industrial HVAC engineers do not have the knowledge required, or time available to identify underlying faults in HVAC systems. This means costly external consultants often have to be procured to find fault. Even with external consultant support, the fault finding process is manual, time consuming, and on a one off basis.

Finance and funding

Total project cost: €200,000
Finance sources: Enterprise Ireland/i2e2
Additional funding: None
Simple payback time: 6 months
Savings verification: IPMVP based approach

Client

Ken Bruton
Senior Researcher
IERG

www.ucc.ie/ierg