With Saudi Vision aiming to achieve high sustainability targets, District Cooling solutions are becoming increasingly popular. We sat with Abdul Rouf Pandith, Senior Mechanical Engineer at KEO International Consultants, to find out more.
1. Could you give us a sneak preview of what you will cover at HVAC R Expo?
My session focuses mainly on the implementation of a District Cooling scheme to one of KSA’s most iconic projects, “King Abdul Aziz Road” Makkah. It also covers the Basis of design for the chilled water reticulation system, which is being considered one of the main components - the overall effectiveness of DC system depends largely on reliability and maintainability of this component.
With the project being located in a part of the world where ambient temperatures during the daytime are extremely high, Makkah has a very high cooling demand. By choosing District Cooling instead of traditional cooling solutions, the KAAR project is displaying an increased focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions.
District Cooling also integrates into the area and frees up very costly space and is less noisy than traditional Local Cooling facilities.
2. Why is district cooling such a prominent cooling solution in Saudi Arabia?
The Continuous demand for water, power and cooling are the pure result of Saudi Arabia’s rapidly expanding industrial base and population.
This in turn has increased the requirement for the availability of air conditioning systems which as it stands are consuming almost 70% of the entire power that is generated or produced in the country.
Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Makkah are the major cities in Saudi that have witnessed the highest growth of cooling systems across the country, due to the increase of demand for more energy efficient systems which help in saving electricity and input costs.
Since District cooling consumes 50% lesser power compared to conventional cooling system. District cooling is considered to be feasible and necessary in Saudi Arabia and helps to reduce the burden on the national grid.
3. Can you describe the latest trends or standards to impact district cooling technologies?
Growing concerns pertaining to carbon emissions along with rising demand for space cooling will foster the district cooling market. Increasing penetration of renewable energy technologies coupled with growing adoption of energy efficient and sustainable building standards for cooling solutions will stimulate the industry growth. The district cooling service providers in KSA and other Middle-Eastern countries are reporting elimination of thousands of tons of CO2 emissions from the installed district cooling plants in the region.
Increasing commercial and residential construction activities across prominent cities of Riyadh and Makkah coupled with favorable government initiatives toward deployment of DC systems will further complement the industry growth.
4. What is the Saudi government doing to help push forward the industry?
Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 sets out an ambitious economic development road map that seeks to diversify the Kingdom’s economy beyond the oil sector. It aims to attract foreign investment, stimulate economic growth, create the jobs needed to employ the Kingdom’s rapidly growing labor force and develop a more resilient economy.
District cooling conferences have been held over the last several years in Riyadh in which representatives from all utility authorities have participated and learnt from regional experiences the introduction of this system in their mega projects.
Introduction of thermal energy system in conjunction with chiller plants is helping to have less burden on the grid at peak times. The government is working on strategies for implementing variable tariff structure for electricity bills at peak & off peak periods, because the prices of fuel, water and electricity have been raised throughout the GCC and the highest in KSA recently.
5. Who are the right people to attend your talk?
The topic of the district cooling scheme at KAAR Makkah is relevant to the mega HVAC-R business event in Riyadh where most of the leading manufacturers from various industries will be showcasing their products under one roof. The first ones to be talked to are the senior MEP professionals and District cooling consultants who can play a major role in preparing the feasibility studies for employing the district cooling schemes on Kingdom’s mega projects.
Anyone with an open mind from any background is welcome to take the positives and lessons learned from the experiences of district cooling projects installed across the Kingdom and the region.
By inviting and bringing together government stakeholders, policy and decision makers and leaders from the District Cooling and utility sector across the country, district cooling can mark a new era in the cooling sector.
6. Why is important for them to attend your session?
I have worked on district cooling projects with international partners in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for various clients like Royal Commission, ARAMCO, King Saud University, Umm Al Qura University. I would like to share my experience, lessons learned and the challenges faced by employing district cooling in the KSA projects.
Also anyone who is not familiar so far with one of the Kingdom’s iconic development project in Makkah which is supposed to be fed by district cooling will get an insight of the project.
The project is unique due to its location in Makkah and anyone attending the event will know about the impact on design and hydraulic network due to the project being classified as Hajj area by the authorities.
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