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Pumping Iron for District Heating

01 April 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

When planning the pump house for the district heating scheme at Blackburn Meadows in Sheffield, contractor R. K. District Heating had a number of priorities and the pumping requirements for the scheme were complex and involved handling of water at high maximum temperatures (up to around 115°C).

The plant needed to offer ‘outstanding’ levels of energy efficiency across a wide range of operating conditions as the district heating scheme is being expanded incrementally over time. In addition, the demanding timescales for the project meant that the equipment needed to be installed within shorter than average lead times.

The pump system chosen from Armstrong Fluid Technology, incorporates six large Armstrong 4300 Series variable speed pumps with built-in inverters, integrated with its IPS 4000 pump controller which optimises operation of all six pumps to minimise energy consumption.

The variable speed pumps incorporate on-board inverters which enable them to respond instantaneously and automatically to changing requirements, adjusting their motor speeds and drawing only the power required to meet the load. As they are Armstrong DE (Design Envelope) models, they also claimed to provide energy efficient operation across a wider operational range than other pumps, providing flexibility to adapt in the future without the need for replacement or system over-sizing.

As the biomass-based district heating scheme has a particularly wide range of operating scenarios, the advanced control made possible by the IPS4000 ensures that energy efficiency is optimised whatever variations may occur.

In the future as additional plant rooms across the Sheffield area are integrated with the district heating scheme, Armstrong states that the IPS4000 will ensure that the pumps adapt to accommodate the changing requirements whilst still maintaining optimum energy efficiency.

The additional flexibility and sophisticated control provided by the Armstrong pumps and IPS4000 controller means that the energy wastage associated with over-sizing of systems is avoided.

The integrated pump system was assembled, integrated and tested off-site, at Armstrong’s purpose designed factory in Halesowen and supplied to site ready-assembled just requiring final connection.


Practical benefits

A number of useful practical benefits were also provided by the integrated pump system.

The pumps are designed to be an integral component of the pipework, eliminating the need for inertia bases, springs, flexible pipe connectors, field grouting and alignment. This provides a tidier, easier to access pump room, while the dynamically balanced impeller and the shaft assembly rotating vertically on the pump centreline provides quiet, long lasting operation with minimum vibration.

The pumps also feature space-saving suction guides and FloTrex valves which reduce the requirement for pipework and fittings and perform multiple functions with a single component.

“The pump house for the Blackburn Meadows district heating scheme was a complex and challenging project, so it was crucial to put together the best possible team to deliver it,” said David Forrest, Project Manager, R. K. District Heating. “All parties involved in the project, including Matrix and NIS Insulations, as well as Armstrong, worked together extremely effectively and this enabled us to reduce the project timescales by around six weeks.”

Picture: The pump system chosen from Armstrong Fluid Technology for the Blackburn Meadows district heating scheme required meticulous planning for all parties involved  

Article written by Mike Gannon | Published 01 April 2016


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