Tabreed unveils four pilot projects to increase efficiency and control costs

The initiatives will help the company achieve its sustainability goals and improve operational performance by up to 30%

Tabreed operates 86 district cooling plants. Reuters
Tabreed operates 86 district cooling plants. Reuters

National Central Cooling Company, or Tabreed, unveiled four new pilot projects to boost its operational efficiency by up to 30 per cent and reduce overall costs.

The projects are part of the company’s commitment towards research and development funding to help it achieve its sustainability goals.

The first initiative, the future of cooling, aims to introduce new concept design and control philosophies in the district cooling plants by using disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence, the company said yesterday.

It will lead to “material improvements” in plant performance, prolonged lifespans and lower plant life cycle costs.

“Based on the simulation of this pilot project, we forecast a 25 per cent to 30 per cent increase in performance, compared to our industry benchmarks,” said François-Xavier Boul, Tabreed’s chief development officer.

“We will be tendering two projects based on this concept to validate how actual results compare to our analysis.”

Retrofitting the existing portfolio of plants to improve efficiency is also on the cards, he said.

Tabreed, in which French utility Engie and Mubadala Investment Company own significant stakes, currently operates 86 district cooling plants and delivers more than 1.4 million refrigeration tonnes of cooling to projects across the UAE and the GCC.

It provides district cooling to developments such as Burj Khalifa, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Dubai Metro and Ferrari World in the UAE, as well as Bahrain’s financial centre and the Jabal Omar Development in Saudi Arabia.

Tabreed’s second pilot project, Carbon NanoTube, aims to significantly enhance the performance and lifespan of plants and equipment through the use of carbon nanotube material, which has “outstanding properties in terms of heat transfer”.

The company is in talks with a number of partners such as Engie Lab Crigen in France and the Sustainable Energy Development Research Group to provide the material and support these projects, said Mr Boul.

“Through these partnerships, we will run pilot projects to confirm this approach to be adopted in our future plants,” he said.

The third initiative, called wet-bulb forecasting, will aim to improve demand-side management by accurately forecasting customer demand using artificial intelligence.

The last initiative is designed to enhance the efficiency of a district cooling plant’s condenser circuit and its cooling tower – critical components of its performance.

“Developing appropriate infrastructure while preserving the environment is one of the key priorities in UAE Vision 2030 and we are committed to our key role in supporting the UAE’s sustainable development agenda,” said Bader Al Lamki, Tabreed’s chief executive.

“Energy efficiency is essential more than ever and ... [Tabreed] continuously works to make sure we adopt the latest technology and pioneer the district cooling industry with highest efficiency and less impact on our environment.”

The company looks to continue growing “organically and inorganically”, said Mr Al Lamki. In February, Tabreed reported a 16.5 per cent increase in full-year net income.

Last year, the company acquired a majority stake in Emaar Properties’ Downtown Dubai district cooling business for Dh2.48 billion.

The deal gave Tabreed an 80 per cent stake, with Emaar retaining the balance under a long-term partnership deal.

It also bought two district cooling units on Saadiyat Island from Aldar Properties in a Dh963 million deal.

It is assessing the development of large-scale cooling plants in Sharjah through a joint venture with Bee’ah.

Updated: March 1, 2021 04:12 AM

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