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X-POT Side Stream Filtration

The Power of Side Stream Filtration

In the quest for energy efficiency, the role of water quality in heating and cooling systems is often overlooked. However, recent research presented at the CIBSE Technical Symposium in the UK in April 2023 and at the ASHRAE Summer Conference in the US in June 2023 has shed light on the significant energy savings that can be achieved by improving water quality and removing corrosion residuals.

The research focused on side stream filtration systems, specifically the VEXO X-POT Side Stream Filter System. The results were compelling, showing that poor water quality not only leads to plant failure but also significantly increases pump energy consumption. In some cases, energy savings of up to 80% were recorded after cleaning the water.

The study also highlighted the importance of system pressure in reducing pump energy. A system correctly pressurized at 1 BAR was found to achieve the most energy savings.

One key finding was that side-stream mechanical filters have a saturation limit. When closed off, they can lead to significant energy repercussions in terms of pump energy use. Therefore, regular maintenance and cleaning of the mechanical filter are crucial to prevent energy loss, clogging in the system, and ultimately plant failure. One way to spot any blockages ahead of time is installing a VEXO PD-Monitor, which not only has a flashing beacon and audible alarm for blocked filters but also has further BMS capabilities so you can remotely receive notifications of differences in pressure.

The research also utilised thermal imaging to identify potential clogs and blockages in the system, an innovative method not previously employed in this context. This approach provides a deeper understanding of the impact of corrosion and dirt on hydronic heating system performance.

Fig A: A thermal image of a clean system before the addition of magnetite powder.
Fig B: A thermal image of a dirty system following the addition of magnetite powder and closure of the filter after filtering.

The testing process involved measuring the system using clean water with no residuals following a thorough chemical clean for 24 hours. Then, magnetite powder was introduced into the system to reflect a corrosive and dirty system, and data was recorded for a period of 24 hours. The X-POT bypass was then opened to start the filtration process, and the system was allowed to run for 24 hours. Finally, the X-POT was closed following system filtration, and the filtered water was allowed to run for a period of 24 hours to observe the impact of filtration on energy performance.

From figures A and B It can be clearly observed that there were two main clogs found when the filter has been turned off. The first clog is the bypass accessing the filtration unit. It can been in figure A when it’s clean, that the heat is all the way where the valve is. However, in figure B the pipe entering the side stream filter is not warm at all (even before the value) suggesting a potential obstruction on the way. The second clog in the plastic hose leading to the monitoring and data acquisition unit. It can be clearly seen that when under clean condition the plastic hose is warm suggesting that water is flowing through the system unobstructed. However, when the system is dirty following the closure of filter, the plastic hose is cool and suggest that no hot water is flowing through it even though the rest of the rig is warm and pumping hot water through the system. Therefore, it can be concluded that the hike in power consumption in the pump can be attributed to system clogging.

To download the full paper, co-authored by Darren Wilkinson from VEXO International, please follow this link to Loughborough University’s website.

The VEXO Advantage

In conclusion, improving water quality by means of mechanical filtration leads to energy savings in terms of pump performance and reduced maintenance.

The VEXO X-POT side stream filtration system, when properly maintained, can be a key tool in achieving these savings and improving the overall efficiency of heating and cooling systems.

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