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IMEC champions technological innovation

IMEC is pursuing some of the most cutting-edge developments

IMEC executive director Aslan Al-Barazi
IMEC executive director Aslan Al-Barazi

The company is pursuing some of the most cutting-edge developments in the local market

Technology

IMEC Electro Mechanical Engineering, which has been present in the region for 36 years, is pursuing some of the latest technological innovations in the HVAC market. These range from ice thermal storage to seawater cooling, solar energy and heat and energy recovery. “We have been very successful in introducing new technologies to the region,” comments IMEC executive director Aslan Al-Barazi.

The company’s ancillary business focus is supplying all types of fans for the building sector, cooling towers and separators for both the building and district cooling sector, air-handling units and fan-coil units, and boilers and water heaters for both commercial and residential applications.

Seawater cooling is one area where IMEC has been working hand in hand with the industry to explore this untapped resource for the district cooling market.

Factors

There are many factors impacting on the workability of a seawater cooling system, from a manufacturing, ecological, environmental as well as a design perspective. IMEC is now considered an overall expert in this area.

Ice thermal storage is becoming a ‘hot ticket’ in the district cooling market, although it also finds application in other water-cooled applications of a smaller scale. “IMEC is developing ice thermal storage for district cooling applications to help control commercial cooling costs,” confirms Al-Barazi.

The technology is gaining popularity in the region, partly due to new DEWA legislation requiring district cooling providers to use 20% thermal energy storage from their total project load capacity (the options being either water or ice thermal storage).

“There are many other benefits in using ice thermal storage. These include the advantages of peak design cost assessment, energy and space savings and emergency cooling in case of power failure, as well as taking advantage of day/night tariffs when these eventually come into play,” says Al-Barazi.

IMEC is the exclusive representative for Fafco SA from Switzerland, which manufactures an ice storage system using static tanks to make ice at night by means of the charging process of an ice chiller. It then discharges the cooling load through the ice tank during the high on-peak rate period in the daytime. The system also allows project engineers to achieve colder chilled water supply temperatures for special types of project applications.

Maximum performance

“The Fafco system design is based on a 100% corrosion-free ice thermal storage system utilising polypropylene plastic tube heat exchangers with stainless steel hardware for all components in touch with the water in a concrete tank. The heat exchangers, situated on top of the tank, are easy to maintain and deliver maximum thermal performance with minimum glycol content,” says Al-Barazi.

Ice thermal storage is well-proven in district cooling applications in Europe and the US, which means the UAE has access to a vast pool of international data and experience.

IMEC chairman Fahed Al-Barazi, a graduate from the University of Florida, was GM for Borg Warner/York in Pennsylvania in the US, being their youngest GM at the time. He was awarded US citizenship as a mark of high appreciation for a heat transfer design in heavy engineered machinery that saved the company a lot at the time in terms of efficiency in design.

He then moved on to the Middle East, successfully launching IMEC in 1973. Since 1997, Aslan Al-Barazi has been spearheading the company’s market growth, based on a strategy of continuous innovation. He has a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from George Washington University in the US.

IMEC has supplied major projects for Tabreed, Nakheel, Palm District Cooling, Empower, Emaar, Al Dar Properties and the Dubai and Abu Dhabi municipalities. Its major references span the majority of prestigious projects in the UAE, including the DIFC, Burj Dubai, Business Bay, Dubai International Airport, Emirates Palace, Mall of the Emirates and the Abu Dhabi Trade Centre.

LEADING INTERNATIONAL BRANDS

IMEC represents such well-known international brands as Vent-Axia of the UK, which manufactures fans for building applications.

EIMCO Water Technologies has a century’s experience in designing and manufacturing seawater intake equipment, comprising complete screening and filtration solutions.

SPX Cooling Technologies incorporates such well-known brands of cooling towers as Balcke Durr, Marley, Ceramic Cooling Towers and Hamon Dry Cooling, offering total end-to-end engineering. IMEC also represents Griswold Filtration, which manufactures basin side sweepers and side-stream as well as full-stream separators, and chemical-free water treatment systems.

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