Turning up the heat

23 December 2021

Hydrogen is the front runner to replace gas in laundries as prices continue to rocket and the quest for carbon neutrality continues. At the same time, using waste energy to heat water looks likely to knock a few quid off running costs

At the TSA Autumn Conference held in the West Midlands in September, the Association’s technical expert Shyju Skariah addressed the problems of rocketing gas prices and achieving carbon neutral aims as he spoke of Government plans to introduce a hydrogen solution proposal – a piped hydrogen supply to businesses in a 25 mile radius of a supply hub. There will be several dotted around the UK and laundries in those areas could well be recipients of the new fuel supply. That is in the very near future, he explained.

Will you have to purchase new equipment to deal with this? Unlikely as many manufacturers are already geared up for hydrogen and have been producing gas appliances that can deal with the transition for some while. For example, water heating unit and system manufacturer Rinnai’s Chris Goggin told LCN that after an extensive testing and verification process, its current Sensei N Series range is ‘hydrogen ready’ now for the proposed initial supply of hydrogen blends fed through the existing gas infrastructure.

The Sensei N Series can by powered by a blend of up to 30% hydrogen, Rinnai UK is also in advanced development of units which can handle the complete hydrogen gas supply. The appliance is described as ‘out of the box’ design engineered and approved to be installed for use on natural gas. But the same unit is futureproofed - because following a conversion and re- commissioning process in the field it will then operate safely and efficiently solely using a hydrogen supply.

Goggin has also recently penned an article that looks at the huge sums being invested by the superpowers, sovereign funds and major multinational companies into the production and storage of hydrogen as one of the coming fuels in the road to decarbonisation.

“Hydrogen is attracting huge levels of worldwide investment running into the billions and trillions and UK end users should be aware that this pattern of financing is indicative of global adoption of hydrogen as a major fuel source.

In the UK, JCB, a company with no ties to the energy industry, has announced its decision to invest heavily in hydrogen. The deal means JCB will take 10% of the green hydrogen made by the Australian firm Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

“FFI said the deal was a ‘first of a kind partnership’ that would see it become the UK’s largest supplier of the clean fuel”, quoted a BBC report adding that production, mostly done outside the UK, is expected to begin early next year. JCB and Ryze Hydrogen would then distribute it in the UK.

“Coupled with this is the fact that Boris Johnson was recently quoted as saying he wants to turn the “UK into the Klondike of carbon capture and storage, the Qatar of hydrogen” strongly prompts the idea of hydrogen’s appeal.

“Dominant international economies in the US, China, oil rich Gulf States and Russia have also released hydrogen strategies or equivalent statements. The US Department of Energy has released its own hydrogen strategy stating the multiple capacities hydrogen will be utilized in, such as: chemical feedstock processes, transport, export, domestic and commercial energy provision.,” wrote Goggin. (See the full story at https://www.laundryandcleaningnews.com/ news/newsglobal-investment-is-pilinginto- hydrogen-9255482/)

On the ‘water front’

Check out a significant development by Aquatherm which has been designing and building laundry energy and water systems since 1980, long before the pressures to reduce consumption and costs that we face today. Decades later, and after numerous evolutionary upgrades, Aquatherm Micro is a system which extracts as much as 90% of the energy from dirty laundry wastewater, reusing all of that energy to heat incoming cold freshwater, reducing the demand for ‘new energy’ and cutting consumption significantly.

The Aquatherm Micro system is a new development designed to address the needs of smaller operations, such as On Premise Laundries (OPL) with water consumption rates from 1,000 to 6,000 litres per hour. The compact and efficient design coupled with the use of high quality low cost components sourced through our purchasing office in Shanghai has finally brought lower flow systems into the realm of affordability.

Mike Edwards, managing director of Aquatherm explained: “In order to get the most from conventional heat recovery systems, there is a requirement for separate buffer tanks for hot wastewater, and preheated fresh water, together with interconnecting pipework, valves, flowmeters and so on. Integrating these systems into a working laundry can involve significant planning, installation cost and time. In the Micro, all of these elements are built in to a single package, interconnected and linked to the central control system. All that is needed for installation is a fresh water supply, compressed air and electricity.”

Micro is a purpose designed heat and water supply designed to recover the maximum amount of energy from the hot wastewater, and use it to preheat the fresh water used for the washing process. Instead of hooking up washing plant to mains water, the supply now comes from the Micro, already preheated using otherwise waste energy. If water reuse is required, whether in its own right or together with heat recovery, refer to the AquascreenMicro – see later in this bulletin. Using heated water for the entire washing process is the most effective and efficient way to process.

Meanwhile, Christeyns, the international detergent supplier, and Veride, the internationally active Belgian company which develops systems to purify and reuse water, are about to bring about a ‘revolution’, according to Christeyns.

The two companies are launching technology that promises to reduce fresh water consumption to an absolute minimum and provide process water of the best quality.

This strategic joint venture between the detergent supplier and engineering company for environmental installations will bring innovation and expand their geographic footprint, says Christeyns.

In an era where linen is washed using water volumes ranging anywhere from 4 to 10 litres per kg linen in an industrial laundry setting, Veride and Christeyns have succeeded in reducing fresh water consumption by at least 80%. In combination with effective rainwater collection. The technology enables the reduction of fresh water consumption to just 0.5 litre per kg of linen.

Under the brand of HydRO for laundries, this newly founded JV ‘HydRO Global Solution' will leverage Veride's 20 years of expertise in sustainable water management and engineering with Christeyns’ strong presence and international expertise in the PTC industry. This alliance will drive innovation and expansion into new markets. Veride and Christeyns co-own the brand, with each company having a 50% stake. The HydRO technology has already been implemented in over 10 industrial laundries in the BeNeLux with great success.

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