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The UK’s largest indoor water park is saving 40 per cent on the running costs of its water circulation pumps following the installation of four ABB variable speed drives.

Four 15kW pumps are used by the Sandcastle Water Park in Blackpool to pump 418m3 of water an hour to circulate water through the pool.

‘The pool is a deck level pool in which water runs over the edge into a balance tank to make up water lost from the system; from the balance tank it is heated and treated in a sanitiser and then pumped back to the pool,’ said maintenance engineer, Tony McNichol.

Sandcastle Water Park is the biggest utility user among the council-owned facilities, and with a target to save eight per cent of overall energy use the management of the park was keen to improve the energy efficiency of the pool installations.

The circulation pumps were running constantly with no form of speed control.

ABB, in association with ABB drives distributor Radway Control Systems (RCS), offered to investigate the circulation pump system and determine the prospects for saving energy.

RCS carried out an energy audit, connecting variable speed drives to the pumps and looking at the energy use both before and after they were connected.

The pumps were originally used in a two duty, two standby configuration, with peak periods using a three duty, one standby configuration.

ABB found that running costs were nearly GBP33,000 per annum.

‘The major problem was that they had no control between the level of flow provide by individual pumps; it was an all or nothing system,’ said Phil Tomkinson, sales manager at RCS.

Following connection of four ABB variable speed drives, the circulation system was run in both a three-pump and four-pump configuration.

An original power consumption of 34.8kW fell to 21kW for three pumps and 17kW for four pumps, giving an estimated saving of GBP13,000 and GBP16,000 respectively.

RCS installed four 15kW variable speed drives to run the pumps as a permanent measure.

A simple potentiometer gives complete control over the pumps, allowing any flow rate needed.

‘We don’t run all four at once and have found that running three at a lower speed gives better efficiency than running two at full speed,’ said McNichol.

‘I am happy with the application and there was minimal disruption while it was being installed.

‘The 40 per cent energy saving on pumping costs made by the drives has contributed to a 20 per cent energy saving at the facility overall, compared to our target of eight per cent,’ he added.

With a GBP15,000 investment, the project has a 15-month payback on three-pump operation.

The Water Park intends to link the ABB drives up to its building management system (BMS) to interrogate the drives to gain data about how they are performing.

ABB Automation Tech – Drives and Motors

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