Braun Medical AG Sempach, Switzerland
The project is for the new building of a manufacturing site in Sempach, Switzerland. The customer B. Braun Medical AG, is building a sustainable new disinfectant production site. The IMI Hydronic Engineering team would have to design a complex system leveraging geothermal probes, heat pumps, smart energy storage and optimised circuits.
The project is for the new building of a manufacturing site in Sempach, Switzerland. The customer B. Braun Medical AG, is building a sustainable new disinfectant production site. They are spending about CHF 70 million on replacing a dated production hall with a new building. Construction started in 2020, and the new N.I.C.O. factory (New Infection Control Operations) will be up and running by May 2023.
The Hydronic Challenge
The biggest challenge of this project was that the customer wanted all heat for production and heating to be fully sustainable and derived from a CO2-neutral process. The IMI Hydronic Engineering team would have to design a complex system leveraging geothermal probes, heat pumps, smart energy storage and optimised circuits. Using geothermal heat in new residential buildings is nothing new – but it’s an entirely different solution to use geothermal energy and geothermal probes to supply heat to a factory with 9,000 square metres of floor space.
The first step was to identify the source of geothermal energy. A borehole was dug with a depth of 200 meters, where the temperature is 12 to 15 degrees constant, enough to run and heat an entire factory energy-efficiently with zero CO2 emissions. To exploit this geothermal energy, water at zero degrees is injected to a depth of 200 metres in 31 holes, where it is heated by about 3.5 degrees and pumped back up to the surface, where the temperature difference can be exploited. This is done with modern heat pumps that collect large amounts of heat even from minor temperature differences; 90,000 litres of water are stored separately in three large tanks at different temperatures. The heat pumps also exploit large amounts of energy released from ice thawing found in latent ice storage. The system was also designed to recover waste heat from air conditioning and the water discharged from washing systems. It is collected with heat pumps and returned to the system. As a result, the entire factory is supplied with 100% sustainable energy via geothermal probes. Wherever possible, circuits are closed. Excess heat is returned to the ground, so the energy source is constantly regenerated.
B. Braun Medical AG wanted to keep improving energy efficiency by optimising the system without interrupting operations. However, this would only be possible if they had access to complete transparent data and a valve to precisely control the system’s needs in case of need or environmental changes. IMI Hydronic Engineering’s team delivered the best solution to this challenge; IMI’s TA-Smart control valve, with its integrated flow, temperature measurement and heat metering, would be able to deliver precisely what the customer requested. The smart control valve could be seamlessly integrated into the BMS ensuring precise system control and offering complete transparency.
Finally, the different heating and cooling circuits required a well-functioning pressure maintenance solution to ensure the longevity and energy optimisation of the system. The customer had IMI Pneumatex vessels installed at their Eschenholz site and where very satisfied with their performance. As a result, they requested a similar solution for their new facility. The big challenge at this new facility was to heat and cool three different systems with a shared pressure maintenance arrangement. A solution that would allow for allowing for up to 30% in energy savings. The IMI Hydronic Engineering team opted for a solution that combined IMI Pneumatex’s Compresso Connect and Transfero TV range, the compact and powerful Vento cyclonic vacuum degasser and a Ferro-Cleaner magnetic flux filter, equipped with the strongest magnet currently available, ensures that even the finest magnetite particles are removed from the system water. This combined solution provides optimal pressure across the entire system and ensures high water quality protecting the system from sludge and corrosion, increasing longevity and optimal function.