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CFD ANALYSIS TO PREDICT PERFORMANCE OF AIRGON'S UNIT

Case Study

Case Study

Airgon logoCLIENT: Airgon Technologies Ltd

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Analysis to Predict Performance of Airgon's Unit

Airgon Technologies Ltd in Manchester manufactures renewable energy and energy optimisation devices for both domestic and commercial users. When Technical Director, Charles Ross, needed help further understanding the energy-saving benefits of their product, he selected TÜV SÜD National Engineering Laboratory’s Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) consultancy.

Challenge

As the Technical Director, Charles is responsible for ensuring that the equipment Airgon manufactures is fit for purpose and for ensuring that any technical requirements specific to installation environments are correctly assessed and appropriately planned.

Internal testing by Airgon had delivered successful results but a number of business challenges still existed such as:

a) They were unable to demonstrate objectively that the unit performed as claimed. Whilst there were test installations in situ, and the results had been promising, there were naturally sceptical responses to these.

b) They didn’t know exactly how the device performed and were not in a position to identify its effectiveness scientifically.

c) There was a need to demonstrate that the device had been impartially tested, by a credible laboratory which would ensure customer confidence.

Realising that they needed help from Computational Fluid Dynamics experts to start addressing these challenges, Charles chose TÜV SÜD for a number of reasons. As Charles explains:

“TÜV SÜD’s reputation in the field of fluid dynamics is, in our view and the view of many engineering companies, without peer. It was clear that asking TÜV SÜD to engage with us would result in a level of respect being shown for the results, and for us as an organisation for having elected to work with them. After conversations with several members of the consultancy team, it was clear that TÜV SÜD would be able to deliver the level of analysis we were looking to do into the Airgon unit’s effectiveness and where improvements to future iterations might be made.”

When exploring various CFD consultancies, Airgon spoke to two other organisations:

“Conversations with two other organisations were held, and those organisations were certainly credible. Unfortunately for them, TÜV SÜD has a level of credibility that is very difficult to match. One organisation was a university which introduced additional levels of complexity in terms their engagement process. The second alternative were actually introducing the work to a 3rd party which did not present the same level of confidence as being able to converse directly with the people who would be carrying out the project.”

Our solution

Dr Lefki Germanou, Computational Fluid Dynamics Consultant, explains how she was able to help Airgon:

“The performance of the Airgon unit under a set of conditions was predicted using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling. We performed simulations for a few different water flowrates and bubble sizes (representing the entrained air) to capture the flow behaviour. The trajectories of the air bubbles indicated what performance levels we can expect from the Airgon unit in case all air is entrained. Further modelling and experimental work is currently being undertaken as part of an A4I Round 9 project. The aim is to quantify the efficiency of the device under normal operating conditions.”

Airgon Figure 1 Velocity streamlines for a flowrate of 10L min

Figure 1: Velocity streamlines for a flowrate of 10L/min. Inner and outer vortices can be observed.

Airgon Figure 2 Trajectories of the entrained air bubbles

Figure 2: Trajectories of the entrained air bubbles (particle tracks) coloured by the volume fraction of the discrete phase. Red values highlight higher concentrations of air bubbles while blue values highlight lower concentrations. Under these conditions most bubbles escape from the air vent and fewer escape from the main outlet.

Client Benefits

Airgon’s decision to use TÜV SÜD’s consultancy services for computational modelling has provided a number of benefits. Past and ongoing work will establish the operational credibility of the device, meaning businesses and domestic users will have confidence in Airgon’s claims for the unit.

The optimisation and efficiency recovery properties may soon be put forward to justify the device being awarded Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) points. Therefore, the unit will be seen to contribute to the energy efficiency and carbon reduction of a given building.

TÜV SÜD is producing data for Airgon that have the potential to greatly increase sales. Airgon believe that construction companies will use their unit because they will soon be able to demonstrate that it improves the energy rating of their buildings at a very low cost. The product can also be retrofitted to existing properties. This will be particularly pertinent to landlords and housing associations who are required to meet a minimum energy rating of C or D in order to be able to rent out a property.

Charles is in no doubt that partnering with TÜV SÜD has been invaluable to Airgon:

“Without this level of analysis, carried out by an acknowledged expert in the field, we will not be able to apply for the EPC contribution rating in the future.

We will be using your services again as TÜV SÜD is our chosen A4I partner and we have recently been awarded a research grant. We are excited about being able to delve more deeply in our capabilities and improving our own knowledge about this technology.”

If you’re thinking about working with our CFD consultants, Charles has some great advice for getting the most from your project:

“Be very clear about your objectives. Understand what you are looking to achieve by carrying out the testing or modelling. Ensure that test conditions are well defined and discuss your ideas with the people carrying out the modelling. There may be limitations or additional lines of exploration open to you of which you may not be aware. We had some great suggestions presented to us during the investigative phase of our initial journey with TÜV SÜD.”

Lefki enjoyed working with Airgon:

"Airgon approached our team wanting to get insights about the performance of their device. We performed Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations using a suitable approach to model the flow of water and air bubbles (assuming all air is entrained), and then interpreted the results. I particularly enjoyed working on this project and discussing the challenges and results with Charles. I am excited to continue working with Airgon on the A4I Round 9 project to deepen our understanding of this technology and quantify its efficiency."

Do you think TÜV SÜD’s CFD consultants can help your business?

Find out more about our CFD consultancy services.

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