The Xylem Hydrovar system

The Xylem Hydrovar system

Xylem talks us through its Hydrovar ‘plug-and-play’ variable speed drive system.

The consumption of energy within residential, commercial and industrial settings is the subject of ever increasing scrutiny as European legislation continues to promote awareness of carbon emissions and the importance of a greener future.

Many businesses and homeowners rely on a water booster set to pump water throughout expansive or multi-storey buildings. Traditional booster sets work at a fixed speed meaning the level of energy consumed remains the same even when demand for water is low. Changing a conventional fixed speed into a variable speed booster set can deliver a reduction of up to 50 per cent on energy consumption, which in-turn will deliver substantial monetary savings too.

But how easy is it to convert a traditional system from fixed to variable speed?
The Hydrovar from Xylem is a ‘plug-and-play’ variable speed drive, which is universally compatible and can be retrofitted to any existing booster set delivering a pay-back period of less than two years.

Installation is quick and easy and once complete, the system will communicate electronically to ensure that the amount of water being used does not exceed the demand. With just the right amount of energy being consumed, the bill payer is no longer covering the cost of the original fixed speed system which used a continual amount of pressure, even when demand was low.

The initial calculations
Before any Hydrovar installation, the site and its current equipment should be professionally assessed to determine the current level of energy being consumed. From here, the engineer can calculate how much the pumps are costing on an annual basis, based on the local energy prices. Once this cost has been multiplied by the number of pumps that are in use, the installer can explain in monetary terms what energy consumption reduction could be achieved for the end user.

The Hydrovar is an additional unit which is affixed to the top of each pump in order to communicate throughout the booster set and determine how much pressure is needed to meet the demand currently being experienced.

Additional benefits for the wider pumping system
The Hydrovar offers a soft start function which reduces the in-rush current when the pump is turned on and protects the unit from hydraulic shock. If the speed at which water flows from the opened outlet is instantly at its maximum, it will eventually cause cavitation in the joints which will lead to leaks and burst pipework.

Parts of the pump that traditionally wear out quickly, like motor bearings, now have prolonged life. Most pumps running at full speed will require maintenance every 18 months, so switching to variable speed can give a longer life span for the pump and consumable parts.

The Hydrovar not only prolongs the life of machine parts but it also features an early warning system to detect irregular or excessive vibration from the motor or pump during operation. The i-Alert is a conditional monitoring device which continually measures vibration – observing any changes and alerting the pump operator in time to avoid a complete pump breakdown.

Flashing a green LED light when fully operational and changing to a red LED when a problem has been detected, the i-Alert can detect a number of potential pumping issues including; entrained air in the process fluid, turbulence process flow within the system, worn pump or motor bearings, unbalanced rotating equipment and a bent shaft.

Paul Shute, Variable Speed Drive Specialist for Xylem Lowara, says: “The Hydrovar is an invaluable tool which can dramatically conserve energy without affecting the convenience orientated lifestyles that we have become accustomed to.

“Water flowing at a rate in excess of that necessary to satisfy normal fixture or appliance demands becomes damaging, wasteful and reduces the life expectancy of equipment in the system.

“We take our global leader position in water technology very seriously and try to drive the industry forward through new energy efficient and cost effective systems. The Hydrovar is suitable for a number of environments from large residential dwellings or blocks of flats to public sector buildings such as hospitals and schools, delivering lower carbon emissions and most importantly, lower monthly energy costs.

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