@AuManufacturing’s Saving through smarter energy use series turns to a revolution in air conditioning costs now penetrating commercial and industrial markets. Peter Roberts profiles evaporative air cooling manufacturer, Seeley International.
Many of us see refrigerated air conditioning systems as the gold standard for hot climates, with our only experience of evaporative systems those portable air coolers that gained popularity in the 1960s or simple rooftop units where air is blown over wet pads, evaporating the water and cooling the air in the process.
But one Adelaide and Albury manufacturer, Seeley International, is fast changing perceptions in commercial and industrial markets where traditional air conditioning systems can be responsible for anything between 25 and 50 per cent of energy costs.
Seeley is pioneering a unique, indirect evaporative cooling technology that not only saves energy costs, but delivers 100 per cent cooled outside air, improving indoor air quality and providing peace of mind in communities affected by the indoor transmission of the Covid-19 virus.
Commercial sales general manager Michael Hamilton told @AuManufacturing: “It is a very niche, disruptive technology.
“It is now moving into the mainstream, but we still have a way to go.”
Seeley made its name making plastic portable coolers under its Convair and Breezair brands, but its Climate Wizard harnesses heat exchanger technology that saves up to 70 per cent of energy costs and adds no humidity to the air, according to the University of California, Davis’s Energy & Efficiency Institute.
Hamilton said: “Traditional evaporative cooling works well in hot, dry climates, it has a purpose in life.
“But Climate Wizard uses a totally different technology from what people are familiar with.”
The heart of the Climate Wizard is a PVC pad made up of a series of alternating wet channels and dry channels.
Hot air from the outside is blown in through the dry channels, a portion of the air is supplied to the building, and the rest is returned to the air through the wet channels, where the evaporative cooling process takes place.
Heat is exchanged between the cool, wet channels and the incoming air, so no moisture is added to the air in the process.
Yesterday Seeley was awarded $1 million from the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre’s Commercialisation Fund for a $2.64 million project to develop a manufacturing line for an ultra-high efficiency roof top Heating Ventilation and Cooling Unit (HVAC).
Seeley manufactures its evaporative air cooling products at Lonsdale in Adelaide which specialises in plastics, while its metal Braemar heating systems and the Climate Wizard are manufactured in Albury, NSW. Seeley also manufactures in the United States.
Hamilton said using indirect evaporative cooling only, the Climate Wizard can achieve supplied air below the wet bulb temperature of the day – more than 20 degrees of cooling and the only system available internationally to do so.
Installations such as a 30,000 square metre wine barrel hall opened two years ago at Treasury Wine Estates’ Bilyara winery in the Barossa Valley (pictured below) add a further evaporative process, delivering air at a constant 12.5 degrees Celsius and 75 per cent humidity.
TWE has saved 225Kw in peak energy usage, and two million kilowatt hours of electricity with the Climate Wizard, while also reducing ‘angel’s share’ losses by evaporation from stored wine casks, and cutting the labour needed to keep them topped up.
While traditional evaporative systems were best in hot, dry climates, the Climate Wizard can operate even in humid areas such as the Golden Circle pineapple cannery in Brisbane.
One of the biggest users is the fast food industry with KFC, McDonald’s and Hungry Jacks using the system to pre-cool air before it enters the building and provide spot cooling over hot areas such as oil fryers.
Hamilton said: These franchises in the fast food industry are saving up to $1,200 a month in energy costs.
“Here we are part of the total HVAC story, and we are starting to own that space in the market.”
Pictures: Seeley International
Subscribe to our free @AuManufacturing newsletter here.
@AuManufacturing’s editorial series – Saving through smarter energy use – is brought to you with the support of SMC Corporation.