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Vacuum pumps help to save water and energy at the University of Reading

27 June 2013

The University of Reading is starting to achieve water and energy savings at its Bio Food Hall in the Food & Nutritional Sciences Department following the installation of two Busch RA oil lubricated rotary vane pumps for the vacuum circuit. 

According to the University’s Energy Manager Dan Fernbank, since the two pumps were installed by AxFlow earlier this year, water savings of between 20 and 30m³ per day are being attained, this being the equivalent of between 7,000m³ and 11,000m³ annually.

The University’s Food & Nutritional Sciences Department is the only UK university facility with a fully equipped food processing hall and has access to many specialist analytical research tools. The vacuum circuit is a fundamental requirement for all the laboratories and the piped system runs around the building enabling the various labs to pull off moisture at specific points.

“The two Busch pumps which we supplied replaced two vacuum pumps which had been operating since the building was opened in 1985,” reports Andy Woods, Sales Engineer, AxFlow. “The original pumps had water running through them at a rate of 12 litres per minute for the purpose of cooling, but because it could not be re-circulated, the water was allowed to drain away. By calculating the volume of water being wasted and its cost to the University, a decision was taken to remedy the situation. It was shortly after this that AxFlow Windsor was called in to make a recommendation on replacement pumps.”

The replacement Busch oil lubricated pumps do not require water cooling, thereby eliminating any need for water. A further attraction of this pump type is that it is more energy efficient. “We offered the University two options, a liquid ring vacuum pump with partial seal water recirculation and the oil lubricated rotary vane pump,” continues Andy Woods. “Although the second option will require regular servicing, the efficiency savings meant that this option was selected and we went ahead and removed the old pumps and installed the new ones in March.”

In terms of water saved, Dan Fernbank reports that this will account for the equivalent of 3% to 4% of the university’s total annual water consumption. “In financial terms, this equates to between £12,000 and £18,000 annually and being a more efficient pump, it is also saving around £1,000 in electricity,” comments Dan. “It is therefore a major step in our drive to cut our water consumption by 10% and carbon emissions by 35%.”

AxFlow offers a comprehensive range of engineering resources to facilities management, environmental and process industries. The Windsor Service Centre operates teams of mobile service engineers for on-site maintenance across the southern half of England, supported by workshop personnel and design engineering resources.

“Our Windsor operation is very much geared up to providing support in the building services sector and we offer a wide range of capabilities,” says Bob Jervis, Sales Manager. For instance the repair and servicing of air-handling equipment can involve the replacement of bearings, motors, pulleys and belts, as well as the re-balancing of the fan impeller assembly. We can also carry out the repair or replacement of cooling and heating coils within the AHU’s.

In addition there are extensive sales, repair, service and systems engineering operations for all types of fluids handling equipment in Ealing, Huddersfield, Durham and Aberdeen.

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