Four extreme conditions we face in HVAC and how to deal with them
– by Paul Spoorenberg, 31/07/19
The extreme heat wave that just rolled over large parts of Europe has broken many records. HVAC and climate control is all about maintaining a comfortable inside climate despite harsh outside conditions. When engineering our systems, we face all kinds of extremes, not only heat. Let us take a look at four types of severe conditions and how to deal with them.
The unforgiving icy waters of the North Pole represent a series of significant and unique challenges. First there is the extreme cold. In winter periods the temperature can drop to ‑40°C. Icebreaking vessels ply this hazardous environment to clear a path and provide safe passage for other ships and boats.
In these extreme sub-zero temperatures, icy stalactites are formed on air intake grills, and must be removed with wooden hammers. The air intakes therefore need to be made of a special metal resistant to rough treatment under very low temperatures.
Another risk in the Arctic is structural icing or arctic fog. A vessel can suddenly find itself sailing through an area where the water particles in mist are so cold that they instantly crystallise on contact, gradually forming massive chunks of ice on grills and mist eliminators.
In this case, the ice cannot be knocked off with a hammer. The air intakes need to be protected in some other way – by heating, for example. This can be done in many different ways, such as electric heating coils or by running thermal oil or steam through pipes surrounding the intake.
Other parts of the globe are affected by so-called sandstorms or dust storms – basically a massive wall of dust and sand that washes over anything in its path. This occurs in places like the Suez Canal or the Strait of Hormuz. The sand gets in every nook and cranny, and can disable mechanical parts by corroding, eroding and fouling internal components.
To prevent sand and dust from entering a vessel, we install special spin filters. While a normal filter would get blocked by an extreme amount of dust, a spin filter actively picks out the sand. It looks like a large wall with round holes in it in which cylinders are spinning around. The centrifugal forces direct the sand to the sides of the cylinder, where it can be filtered from the air.
Dredging is carried out in many different locations and for many different purposes. The process can release toxic chemicals from bottom sediments and any hazardous gases released in the air around a vessel can cause a serious problem for the health of the crew.
We equip special-purpose dredging vessels with a sensor array that constantly keeps track of the air quality. In case of a toxic outbreak, activated carbon filters are initialised, trapping toxic molecules in activated carbon.
The extreme outside
These are just a few examples of the extremes some of us face in our everyday work. Ranging from extreme cold (and all the problems that brings) to polluted air, they’re all linked to outdoor conditions and the intake of fresh air.
Of course, these are not the only extremes we face. Sometimes the problem comes from inside the vessel – the interior, the design or the purpose of the boat itself. But that’s a topic for a future blog. Be sure to check out our site regularly and stay updated!
Paul Spoorenberg | Sales Manager
Paul Spoorenberg has been working at H&H since 1994. During his career he gained valuable expertise in HVAC solutions for all kind of vessels in the Commercial, Offshore, Naval & Yacht segments.