Solar water heating systems are becoming more and more popular, particularly in the sun-drenched regions of Southern Europe. Heating domestic hot water is a good opportunity to combine ecology and efficiency for example at tourist locations such as campgrounds. A tourism complex on the banks of the Adriatic Sea is now also taking advantage of the pinnacle of solar technology: solar-powered air conditioning with an adsorption chiller. Powered by vacuum tube collectors from the company Thermics Energie Srl, which is based in the region, an InvenSor adsorption chiller has been air-conditioning office spaces in the Portobaseleghe administrative buildings since the middle of 2013. The large, private harbor and camping complex form the center of Bibione Mare near Venice.
The solar collectors feature a capacity of 22 kW and are installed on the roof of a hall in the marina, with its 400+ moorings. They provide enough thermal energy for air conditioning in the summer (solar cooling) and heating in the winter. With a nominal power rating of 10 kW, the InvenSor LTC 10 plus chiller was installed in 2013, replacing an inoperable absorber from another manufacturer, and, like the previously installed chiller, is powered by heat instead of electricity. The InvenSor adsorbers use pure water as an eco-friendly refrigerant and therefore offer another major benefit for the environment, compared to conventional electrical chillers. In Portobaseleghe, the offices are air-conditioned using a cold-water distribution system. The InvenSor chillers in Germany are used in much the same way, but are usually applied to trigeneration systems with combined heat and power units (CHP). Systems like these are also popular options for air conditioning of server rooms and are also gaining ground in industrial applications and process cooling.
In Bibione, a large, 2,000-liter hot-water buffer tank stores the heat generated by the solar collectors until it is fed into the building heating system or used to power the adsorption chiller. A smaller, 750-liter buffer tank is also installed for cooling, providing reserve capacity when cooling demand is high. The system’s re-cooler was installed in a shaded passageway through the harbor building, which is why the system can withstand Venice’s warm climate with dry heat rejection.
In Bibione, the combination of solar heating and air-conditioning was planned and implemented by the Italian company Thermics Energie Srl in 2008. To air-condition the rooms, the company had initially installed an absorption chiller from a supplier that’s no longer in the market. This machine was replaced by an InvenSor chiller in the middle of 2013 to resume operation of the entire system. It has been running reliably ever since, to the utmost satisfaction of the system planner and operator. Based on positive experiences such as this, InvenSor now explicitly offers an exchange program for projects featuring thermal chillers that are experiencing difficulties. With a financial incentive for removal and disposal of older devices and expert support in detailed planning, users should be motivated to update their system technology.
The Bibione Mare vacation resort was established in 1959 and welcomes thousands of visitors every year. It now has a harbor, three large campgrounds and four beaches. Because environmental protection and the use of renewable energy sources have always played a key role for the owners of Bibione Mare, most of the buildings on the extensive grounds have photovoltaic or solar water heating systems. The resort is setting new benchmarks with the solar cooling system.
For Stefano Bertolini, Sales Manager at Thermics Energie Srl, the solar cooling system is a great example of a well-running system: “Since it was installed, the new chiller has been working seamlessly. We and the operator are extremely satisfied with the savings achieved so far. The InvenSor machine has significantly reduced the need for maintenance, which has also made a contribution to even more savings. The entire system is now exceptionally reliable and similar systems are currently in the pipeline.”
The InvenSor adsorption chillers are some of the most user-friendly and reliable devices on the market. With the color touch display in multiple languages, it couldn’t be any easier to program the desired temperatures of the chilled water and the alimentation circuit return flow. The machine even comes prepared for use as a heat pump: this mode can be activated on the controller. With the integrated hydraulic unit, professionals and planners can implement their special solutions, including the use of free cooling on cold days, without significantly increasing the entire system’s complexity and the associated risk of failure. With the easy-to-use commissioning mode, automatic optimization of operations, and the standardized Internet interface, InvenSor systems are plug-and-play devices that can even be operated without prior experience.