UBC Undergraduate Research

UBC Aquatic Centre Raemdonck, Kjell; Sato, Erika; Othman, Husam; Sumar, Khaleel; Abduljabbar, Emran; Salahuddin, Md.; Lee, Tommy; Kim, Lisa; Salih, Ibrahem


The UBC Aquatic centre is currently spending $400,000 per year in energy costs. The heat is supplied by exchanging heat from hot steam to the pool water. This report will focus on how to increase the efficiency of heating the pool water using steam, as well as suggest an alternative heating approach. The steam transfers heat to the pool water in a single plate heat exchanger. Adding another heat exchanger will increase the amount of heat transferred to the pool water. Another option is to replace the current heat exchanger with a new double plate heat exchanger. Double plate heat exchangers are known for their increased heat transfer efficiency. This method will reduce the Aquatic centre’s yearly energy costs by 14%. An additional suggestion is to add a dehumidifier to the indoor pool building. About 4500L/day of water evaporates from the surface of the pools, which causes corrosion and mold to damage equipment inside the pool housing. A dehumidifier prevents this by converting the moisture into water, creating a drier air for the indoor pool. There are two large advantages to this: 70% of the water that evaporates could be recycled back into the pool if filtered, and the maintenance cost for the indoor equipment is reduced. Now, the alternative to the steam heating is using natural gas to heat up the pools’ water. There are gas pipelines all around UBC that could be re‐routed to the pool. The pool water would be heated in a gas heater, which is quicker and more efficient than steam. We are not causing any environmental harm by doing this because the gas that would normally be used to make the steam at the UBC steam plant would now simply be directly used to heat up the Aquatic centre water. It is more energy efficient, as there is also no transport heat loss that normally occurs when steam is shipped from the steam plant to the pool. The energy cost savings would cover the capital costs of the heaters (approximately $1 million including all installation costs) in just 8 years. The final conclusion that can be drawn from this analysis is that for short term changes, either a heat exchanger or dehumidifier, or both, should be added to increase heating efficiency. This change would fit the client’s current budget. However, in the long run, a gas fired heater should be considered as a new source of heating rather than steam heat exchange. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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