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Air/Dirt Separators Improve Distribution Efficiency at Missouri State University

July 1, 2012
Better-quality water results in improved heat transfer

In 2006, a study of the 5,500-ton-capacity chilled-water loop at Missouri State University (MSU) in Springfield, Mo., showed the water being circulated had the consistency of molasses and included a mixture of clay, microbiological particles, and outdated glycol. Thermal conductivity was poor, resulting in inefficient distribution.

At a higher-education conference in the fall of 2007, Patrick Zacha, assistant director of facilities management for maintenance, and Ben Boslaugh, utilities manager, were introduced to Spirovent high-efficiency air/dirt separators manufactured by Spirotherm Inc. Seeing them again the following spring at a local conference, they invited Rick Summers of Summers Associates of Olathe, Kan., the local representative for Spirotherm, to have a look at MSU’s system.

MSU installed its first Spirovent separator in 2008. Chiller-evaporator tubes that previously needed to be cleaned three times a year stayed clean for 18 months and beyond. Work orders for venting and gurgling noises in pipes have all but been eliminated.

Since the initial installation, 25 more Spirovent separators have been installed, with four more in the shop waiting to be added.

Temple Hall used to require 1,200 gpm at a 5°F delta-T. Since the addition of a Spirovent separator and pressure-independent valves, it requires 675 gpm and achieves a 14°F delta-T on a day when the outside temperature is 98°F.

Pummill Hall has 10°F-rated coils producing 14°F to 16°F delta-T, resulting in fewer pumps running.

Bob Eckels, director of facilities management for MSU, said: “The installation of a chilled-water loop at Missouri State University has transformed the delivery of cooling to our buildings. The introduction of Spirotherm dirt and air separators into this system has greatly enhanced the heat transfer, which, in turn, is creating more energy savings through reduced run time of our chillers. We are very pleased with the Spirotherm product.”

Spirotherm manufactures high-efficiency air and dirt separators for pipes up to 36 in. in size with flow rates to over 30,000 gpm for individual-building and central-plant applications. With a patented coalescing medium completely filling a vessel, air and dirt are reduced to unprecedented levels, enabling improved heat transfer, reduced maintenance, and greater distribution efficiency.

Information and photograph courtesy of Spirotherm Inc.

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