Big data, new partnerships and new technology are shaping the latest HVAC developments among the cruise ship sector
Turning big data into smart data is the interesting and innovative focus currently being explored by Callenberg Technology Group.
This approach involves connecting all systems within HVAC (chillers, pumping systems, fan coils, ducts, air handlers and other critical components and sub-systems serving the machinery and accommodation systems) to ensure all are closely integrated and work in harmony.
Callenberg’s energy management and HVAC marine conversion director Magnus Hansson explained: “We have worked with our own network, smart components and wireless technology to link the different areas and sub-sectors of HVAC, taking full control of, for instance, the cabin climate.”
He said the next challenge involved digitalisation and Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology.
“A challenge is how we handle all this information? How to efficiently turn big data into smart data, as big data just takes up space if not used correctly. A major challenge has been to sort out invalid or corrupt data by qualifying it at the point of collection."
Mr Hansson went on to explain that this required advanced software, otherwise one risks “taking decisions that are not correct and that could result in [a] poor climate control and waste of energy.”
Hence, Callenberg’s recent focus has been all about ensuring the data it uses is ‘smart’. To this end, it uses an advanced process involving several algorithms to qualify the data and ensures all parts of HVAC work as one seamless system. “It is very easy for sub-systems to counteract each other, as very often different parts are provided by different suppliers. Therefore, smooth co-operation between the different systems is of great importance,” Mr Hansson said.
“A challenge is how we handle all this information? How to efficiently turn big data into smart data, as big data just takes up space if not used correctly"
Enter chilled beams
Elsewhere, Halton Marine has been developing a new HVAC technology that promises to provide substantial savings in ventilation lifecycle costs.
The cabin HVAC solution called CaBeam uses chilled beam technology, as opposed to the fan coil solution usually deployed. While it has been used on land in hospitals and hotels, this is the first time it has been applied in the marine sector.
Halton Marine director Sami Piirainen explained key benefits of the solution involved there being fewer components compared to fan coils and that sound levels are much lower compared to other more traditional products.
The efficient mixing of the chilled beam ventilation system results in uniform air quality inside the cabin. Supply air is diffused from linear slots on the product. Chilled beams use the primary air to induce and recirculate the room air through the heat exchanger of the unit, resulting in high cooling capacities and excellent thermal conditions in the space, with no need for a fan.
Furthermore, using CaBeam, passengers can control the temperature via a tablet-type touch panel in the cabin. This can also be extended to control lights and automatically open and close curtains. “This makes it simpler for the passengers and for the shipyard, as the HVAC and electrical cabin operations are combined,” Mr Piirainen said.
The CaBeam concept has been undergoing cabin integration testing and Halton is planning to trial the product on cruise ships before launching it.
Another new cabin-based HVAC development comes from AirD, this time focused on matching ventilation with real-time needs. Launched in 2015, the system’s air vents use smart technology and sensors to detect different air-related factors, such as CO2, temperature and humidity. These sensors detect the real-time needs of the air conditioning, working when needed and closing the valves when not. AirD chief executive Artur Glad explained that – based on an independent study and on AirD’s own simulations – the system can achieve up to 52% in HVAC energy savings on a cruise ship.
The AirD control and monitoring system contains both real-time and historic data on the HVAC needs of a cruise ship. It allows the operator to see energy savings achieved and customer satisfaction rates on temperature and air changes in cabins. Mr Glad said: “It is very easy to use – diagrams of the cruise ship outline in red where air conditioning needs to be adapted to the needs of the area. This is done automatically and the blue areas mean that they have the correct amount of air. This means that an operator can see at a glance the HVAC situation.”
Quick and easy installation is an important feature of the solution. Several weeks can be saved when calibrating the ventilation with AirD’s software, with around 50 units calibrated in ten minutes according to the company.
AirD sales and marketing director Leena Salmi said: “When the units are assembled in the duct they appear on a list in our software and then they are dragged and dropped to the right cabin/room.” She added the cabins have pre-set limits for correct air flow, with the unit automatically calibrated according to these limits.
Consortium scoops HVAC contract
In other news, Koja Marine has formed a consortium which has scooped the HVAC turnkey contract for Star Cruises’ Global-class cruise ships.
AXIKO – formed by Koja and power and energy services business ENGIE/Axima – was contracted by German shipyard MV Werften, which is building the four ships (including two options) intended for the Chinese market.
The HVAC turnkey contract will employ more than 300 people in France, Germany and Finland between the start of the design phase in 2017 and the delivery of the second cruise ship in 2021. Each cruise ship will have approximately 2,500 cabins. The first cruise ship will be delivered in 2020 and the second in 2021.
The two partners have already collaborated successfully on similarly sized cruise ships, combing ENGIE/Axima’s experience on large turnkey projects with Koja Marine’s HVAC systems.
Koja Marine managing director Matti Sippola said on announcing the partnership “…we have created an unbeatable consortium which can offer the best energy efficiency, the lowest lifecycle costs, and superior passenger comfort.”
Koja Marine’s contribution includes the HVAC system, equipment and design, with ENGIE/Axima responsible for the HVAC installations, accommodation, machinery room, chillers, and chilled and heated water production.
AXIKO will be responsible for the assembly and pre-commissioning of the equipment, and overall project management.
The project design and engineering phase started in 2016 and the installation work began this year.
Koja Marine director Esko Nousiainen said: “This is a big impact [for us] as these are huge vessels, the biggest to be made in Germany. It is a big task.”
He added that while HVAC energy efficiency was always important, special attention was being paid in this project to selecting highly energy-efficient equipment. He was not able to elaborate on the products to be used but commented: “They will be state-of-the-art; we will be producing new fan coils and using many in public areas. This new type of fan coil will [use] less energy and control the air flow better than previous solutions. Our tests of this new fan coil have been successful.”
Mr Nousiainen also noted that Koja had been investing heavily of late, having built a new process fan factory and R&D laboratory. In the fan factory the company has installed welding robots that were fully operational from Q4 last year, allowing the production of more sophisticated fans.
Koja is also developing a new cabin HVAC monitoring system that can be controlled through the internet. It will help save costs by allowing operators to see exactly how much energy is being used.