Australia & NZ

Ammonia Heat Pumps Seen as Option for Australian Olympic Pool

An Olympic pool at The Pool complex in North Sydney, Australia, that is undergoing redevelopment is providing an opportunity for ammonia-based water-to-water heat pumps to significantly reduce its energy usage.

This was according to Derek Harbison, a Renewable Energy Consultant at Queensland-based energy consultancy firm SmartConsult, which recently held a seminar in Sydney about integrated energy systems for aquatic centers.

Around 30 people attended the seminar on November 15, including the North Sydney Council and representatives from system suppliers Johnson Controls and Scantec Refrigeration Technologies.

A development application (DA) for the redevelopment of the North Sydney Olympic Pool is currently on exhibition for comment until December 13, according to the North Sydney Council website. “The proposed redevelopment upgrades the 50m [164ft] pool and provides a range of facilities to meet a wide range of community needs,” the website states.

Scantec Managing Director Stefan Jensen spoke about how low-charge ammonia water-to-water heat pumps could work and perform in the Australian climate. “The payback of a low charge ammonia heat pump would be under five years,” Jensen said.

Harbison compared the use of heat pumps to more traditional solutions used today, such as gas boilers and resistance heating. “What is being done in Europe with heat pumps is the future,” he said.

“What is being done in Europe with heat pumps is the future.”

Derek Harbison, SmartConsult

Harbison also spoke at ATMOsphere Australia 2019, which took place on May 8-9 in Melbourne, Australia, about how water-to-water heat pumps can significantly reduce energy use in aquatics centers.

Derek Harbison, SmartConsult speaking during seminar on Integrated Energy Systems for Aquatic Centers.

Alexander Cohr Pachai, Technology Manager at Johnson Controls Denmark, spoke about heat-pump installation case studies in Europe, and emphasized the lack of discussion about storing heat and the high maintenance costs of gas boilers.

Trent Hawkins from Northmore Gordon Energy Consulting, which previously worked on the North Sydney Olympic Pool, talked about the disadvantages of using cogeneration to heat swimming pool water. “Cogeneration is not efficient and has high maintenance costs and cannot be used as the sole source of heat,” he said.  

The seminar was followed by a site visit to the North Sydney Olympic Pool.

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