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Optimum chillers set to save Telstra millions

Optimum Group Services and chiller designer and manufacturer Aermec have successfully completed the installation of a bespoke chiller system that will halve technology business Telstra's existing energy spend, saving the company up to £200,000 each year.

The Docklands-based  company had used its existing chiller system since moving to its site in 1999. The system was due for a five-year refurbishment, so Telstra approached m&e provider Optimum to review its current chillers.

After carrying out a detailed energy analysis it became clear that there were substantial energy savings and a very favourable return on investment to be made by installing new chillers.

The project to replace the four chillers, which were unequal in size, required the development of a new engineering solution. Aermec designed four equally sized 1.1MW chillers using multi Turbocor oil-free compressor technology, allowing off load and duty assist configuration to ensure the best possible energy saving was achieved.

The chillers were performance tested at Aermec’s manufacturing facilities in Italy, before being shipped to site and tested when installed.

The project took 10 months from start to finish, with one chiller installed at a time. Installation was challenging due to the chillers being located in a basement plant room in the vaults. The site had limited access with no potential for improvement, preventing standard chillers from being selected.

As a result, the engineers at Aermec designed a bespoke chiller frame assembly, arranging the evaporator and condenser shells as a single component and to a dimension that could transfer through the plant room doors and below the installation pipework, leaving just a 5mm tolerance. The new sections and frame were passed through a space limited to a headroom of only 1435mm. The new chillers were then positioned and assembled when in place.

Andrew Orme, operations director at Optimum Group Services, said: “Working as a vendor partner to Telstra for over eight years, we have built a fantastic working relationship as a result. Having serviced their chiller plant during this time it became clear that with the modern technologies in the market we could calculate and design both a short term ROI and a significant environmental benefit. The years of consultation, planning and a real team work approach in delivery have given us a result that we are all rightly proud of.”

Paul Lawrence, managing director at Aermec, added: “This was a very challenging project and one where our engineers custom-designed a solution to meet exacting requirements that delivered measurable energy savings and a good ROI. Working with Optimum, an established facilities management company, also helped ensure that all parties collaborated and were aware of the site restrictions, limitations and enabled a complete engineering solution to be developed.”

UK data centre manager at Telstra, Robert Crooks, concluded: “This project has been extremely well managed by Optimum. The energy savings achieved are amazing and the new chillers run extremely quietly. By installing this energy efficient, resilient technology we can ensure a cool data centre for our customers.”

Optimum has completed similar projects for other data centre customers, including water-cooled and air-cooled free cooling chiller applications.

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