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Pre-insulated plastic piping in HVAC systems could save 112mt of fuel annually

Polyethylene piping systems such as COOL-FIT PE Plus by GF Piping can increase fuel efficiency, lower emissions and reduce costs
A new study by GF Piping Systems and Foreship shows that when it comes to HVAC applications, plastic piping from materials such as polyethylene could increase the efficiency of cruise ships.

Comparing a baseline steel piping system with pre-insulated polyethylene pipes in an air conditioning chilled water system revealed that plastic is more efficient in four ways: it decreases fuel consumption, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers costs and slightly improves EEXI and CII values.

HVAC systems are energy intensive and increase both fuel consumption and emissions. Additionally, they require substantial piping networks that are often made of post-insulated steel which is heavy and susceptible to corrosion. As Teemu Tanninen, senor specialist in energy efficiency and HVAC, Foreship explained, ‘Installing the pre-insulated COOL-FIT system made from polyethylene saved up to 112mt of fuel per year, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by up to 373mt per year and could save an estimated $3.8mUSD over the course of 25 years. Furthermore, we were able to improve the Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Design Index (EEXI) and Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) values by 0.2%.'

A three-phase study

The study was based on a simulated 150,000gt cruise ship and calculations taken over three phases. In the first phase, the performance of the baseline steel system and polyethylene COOL-FIT system by GF Piping Systems was measured by comparing the electrical power draw of the chillers and pumps within the air conditioning system. In the second phase, these results were used to calculate fuel savings, emissions reductions and cost-effectiveness. Finally, the study quantified the effect of these savings on the EEXI and CII.

Far reaching impact

Roberto Chiesa, head of business development marine at GF Piping Systems said, ‘The whole maritime industry is currently working on a more sustainable future. However, many solutions are still on the horizon or very expensive. Our study shows that even small actions, such as proper design and piping material choice in the HVAC system, can have far-reaching positive effects for the entire ship. We believe they can be part of a holistic approach to make shipping more sustainable.’