Due to extreme heat, each building requires to be cooled down in Dubai: no less than 70% of total electricity consumption in a building is dedicated to air conditioning.
District cooling consists of centralized production and distribution of cooling energy. Chilled water is delivered via an underground insulated pipeline to offices, industrial and residential buildings to cool the indoor air of the buildings within a district. Specially designed units in each building then use this water to lower the temperature of air passing through the building’s air conditioning system.
"Online communication with our cooling sites are vital for us. We have chosen eWON for the reliability of their wireless VPN solution. My team has made intensive tests during 6 months: configuration and operation were seamless!"
Mr Sultan Al Holy, Technical Director at Empower.
The output of one cooling plant is enough to meet the cooling-energy demand of dozens of buildings. District cooling can be run on electricity or natural gas, and can use either regular water or seawater. Along with electricity and water, district cooling constitutes a new form of energy service.
District cooling systems can replace any type of air conditioning system, but primarily compete with air-cooled reciprocating chiller systems serving large buildings which consume large amounts of electricity. This air-conditioning system is subject to a difficult operating environment, including extreme heat, saline humidity and windborne sand. Over time, performance, efficiency and reliability suffer, leading to significant maintenance costs and ultimately to equipment replacement.
EMPOWER was established in 2003 with an objective to enable the real estate sector of Dubai to efficiently utilize energy resources through District Cooling Services (DCS). Empower was set up as a joint venture between Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and TECOM Investments; a member of Dubai Holding through a Royal Decree issued by the Ruler of Dubai.
Empower started with a single temporary plant serving the financial district of Dubai), and grown exponentially, serving more than 45,000 customers in 2015: its district cooling capacity today, exceeds 1 million Refrigeration Tons (RT).
Together with continuous construction work and regular road digging, the initial Fiber Optic communication between cooling sites ended by collapsing completely, bringing headaches to control room operators.
The venue of advanced wireless solutions came up to resolve the issues for the Automation team.
Various SCADA control rooms are supervising cooling stations located in Discovery Gardens, Jumeirah Lake Towers and Palm Jumeirah district, totalizing more than 330 remote sites which need to be carefully fine-tuned and optimized for perfect operation.
With the closed help of ANG Automation, a skilled system integrator fromDubai Silicon Oasis, Empower intensively tested the eWON solution during more than 6 months on a dozen sites before standardizing the solution to the entire project.
Each remote location is handling sophisticated automation, involving PLC of different make (Schneider, Mitsubishi and Rockwell), but also BTU meters using M-BUS communication protocol. With the flexibility of eWON in terms of IO-drivers and communication ports, the remote Cooling Plant securely communicates in wireless 3G with its SCADA through encrypted VPN tunnels.