The future of cooling | EnVisioneering Exchange podcast ep. 14

Host John Sheff meets with Vince Canino to look into the future of the cooling industry. Their discussion focuses on the importance of energy efficiency and how it can be achieved with oil-free and variable-speed technologies.

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Guest bio

Vince Canino, CEO of Smardt Chiller Group, Inc.

While starting his career with power generation at GE, Canino has worked the past thirteen years in the HVAC industry. Vince was VP of Renewable Energy and Power Solutions for more than seven years where he focused on renewable/energy projects in solar, waste-to-power, and traditional cogeneration. Vince has spent the last six and a half years at Smardt Chiller Group, Inc., including six years as COO and President and, since August 2020, as CEO.

The Smardt Chiller Group was established to maximize the customer benefits of the Turbocor® oil-free centrifugal compressor technology in chiller performance. All Smardt chillers are designed to optimize the performance of oil-free centrifugal compressors from Danfoss Turbocor®, These use oil-free magnetic bearings and variable-speed drives to deliver better IPLV efficiencies than conventional oil-lubricated centrifugal, reciprocating, scroll and screw compressors.

Episode summary

Host John Sheff meets with Vince Canino to look into the future of the cooling industry. Their discussion focuses on the importance of energy efficiency and how it can be achieved with oil-free and variable-speed technologies.

Main points

  • Oil-free technology will be a vital component in energy efficiency and carbon emissions reduction.
  • While product efficiencies have greatly improved in the last 50 years, everyone is using more devices (cell phones, laptops, etc.). That’s why small, incremental improvements in energy efficiency (10–30% reductions) are so important in lowering carbon emissions.
  • Oil-free technology is also great for sustaining performance over time.
  • Total cost of ownership (TCOP) includes the cost of components, installation, energy usage, maintenance, and more for the life of the system. Removing oil from the equation means one possible point of failure has been eliminated: degradation
  • Air filtration will become much more vital in the future—especially in hospitals and airports—including HEPA filters that scrub the air for viruses.
  • In order to properly filter the air, HVAC systems will need to run more frequently to keep air moving through said HEPA filters which requires variable-speed compressor technology.
    • HVAC systems are designed with the “worst-case scenario” in mind, e.g., the hottest days of the year. On cooler days, however, much of the cooling output is wasted in traditional systems.
    • Variable-speed technology allows for lower cooling output to match the current conditions.
  • In addition to being much more efficient, variable-speed technology allows for system components—most notably, the compressor—to run at lower speeds, which puts less strain on the equipment, lengthening the life of the components.
  • One way to further drive down emissions is the move to electrification.
    • However, much of the required infrastructure is not yet in place in the US. And many that are, are not as efficient as older boilers.
    • Hybrid systems are an attractive option for system owners looking to move towards electrification, but who still wish maintain higher efficiencies.
  • One advantage of Turbocor®’s modular design is that it can fit in much smaller places than traditional systems, making it a great fit for both new and existing buildings.
  • According to Vince, there are two major factors in lowering greenhouse gas emissions:
    1. switching energy production to renewable resources
    2. making products more energy efficient
  • While a lot of Smardt’s focus is on improving efficiency, the company has been closely monitoring the progression of energy production.
  • Just as coal power plants have been supplanted by natural gas, natural gas will one day be replaced by renewables—but we’re not there yet.
    • That’s why improved building efficiency, including reusing waste heat, is so important.
  • Each region of the world is different and will require different solutions.
    • Vince sees Europe leading the way, with the US following behind. China is watching, but is still in a growing phase.

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