Renewable Energy System Design & Development
Retrospective reviews and second opinions
We have had a recent influx of requests to review heating installations where either the system is not doing what it said on the tin or where the client is unhappy with the results of a fit-out. The reasons for the underperformance or general client unhappiness could be down to a myriad of reasons. The most recent requests for help were on a small air source that was not getting a listed building up to 21°C as promised by the installer, a second opinion on several gas-fired plant rooms where the operator was not convinced that the M&E fitout was correct (2” pipework where 5” should have been used?) and a 3MW waste wood biomass CHP system that had not run for more than 13 consecutive hours since being installed 18 months ago.
Sometimes, a fresh and independent pair of eyes is all that is needed to spot the obvious mistakes. Other times, the root causes of the problem are a puzzle that needs thorough investigation, going through each point in turn and eliminating one by one. A bit like a whodunnit.
As engineers, this kind of work is something we thrive on. Although it is great to get a system right first time, which is something we strive towards at Infinitas Design, mistakes are made. Sometimes they are through incompetence or laziness (controversial statement!) but other times just through a small thing being overlooked like a decimal point in the wrong place or the wrong Excel cell being referred to in a calculation. Solving such issues is very satisfying for us and for the client, who hopefully ends up with the heating system they required in the first place.
The mystery of the flooding pressurisation unit was solved a few weeks ago after we attended site. Every day, the PU was going into overpressure alarm and flooding water on to the floor of the plant room. Understandably, the owners were tearing their hair out as there was a concern this was having a negative effect on the boilers as well as the mess to clear up every day. We went back to basics to think about how overpressure happens. It turns out that the expansion volume was too small, causing the pressure in the hot system to rise above the allowable limit. An extra expansion vessel solved the problem, and all is well (to now!).
If you have similar issues with heating systems, large or small, don’t hesitate to give us a call and we can put our deerstalker hats on to do some detective work.
Infinitas Design Ltd