Buffer Tanks for chilled water storage and cooling

At Mibec we supply a wide range of water storage and Buffer tank products. Although usually associated with heating applications, this short article describes how buffer tanks can be used in chilled water storage and cooling applications.

Chilled Water (CHW) systems used to cool a buildings indoor air and equipment and are becoming increasingly common in commercial applications such as large data centres and server rooms. As computer technology progresses electronic densities have increased drastically meaning there are further requirements for cooling to optimise system performance. However energy prices have also risen sharply in recent years meaning that the owners and designers of data centres are increasing looking at where energy efficiencies can be found to reduce running costs.

Intrinsically computers and water don’t mix very well, however water is a far more efficient coolant than air, giving rise to an increase in popularity of water cooling in recent years and some innovative solutions being offered on the market. For example technology is now available to data centres making use of heat exchangers to remove the risk of water coming into contact with sensitive electronics making water cooling a viable option.

Buffer tanks form a key component in chilled water systems, often being used to provide additional volume in closed water systems. Adding this extra water capacity can reduce cycling of compressor units, which in turn improves temperature control giving a more consistent cooling system operation. Just like with heating systems, a buffer tank can also smooth out the loads and demands over the day from the business operations. This makes the cooling system more robust and reliable giving it greater longevity and reducing maintenance requirements.

At Mibec we are able to offer a wide range of tanks suitable for chilled water applications from leading manufacturers. Our range of mild steel or galvanized chilled water storage and buffer tanks are available in sizes from 100 litres to 5,000 litres in either vertical or horizontal configurations, dependant on your site requirements. All of our chilled water buffer vessel tanks can be galvanized internally and externally to EN 1179. Our commercial chilled water buffer vessel range is all pressure rated at 6 bar, and conforms to all aspects of the European PED. The tanks have a minimum fixed 30mm hard foam insulation jacket for energy efficiency, with four connecting tappings, and two instrument pockets as standard.

We also offer bespoke designed but cost-effective buffer tanks for large heating and cooling projects. Ideal for a range of applications including the chilled water systems already described but also larger biomass heating projects, district heating and CHP (Combined Heat & Power) systems. Tanks and vessels of up to a massive 200,000 litres are possible with our bespoke design and manufacture service. It is perfectly possible to even manufacture small bespoke tanks from only 100 litre capacity if the customer is unable to find an off-the-shelf solution to meet their exact requirements. All of these Mibec tanks are tailor-made to suit the exact customer requirements on only a 2-3 week lead time.

We offer a full free of charge specification service covering the whole of the UK, designed to support architects, specifiers or contractors. We can give you knowledgeable, yet impartial advice on selecting the right buffer tank to meet your heating or cooling needs. Please feel free to email or call our support department on 01948 661639 where one of our trained advisers will be happy to help you.