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When Fawley Power Station needed to replace its chillers, Tricool designed a cost-effective solution

ICSFawley Power Station has installed a state-of-the-art cooling system designed by Tricool to improve cooling cycle times and address environmental issues. The chiller is an essential part of the infrastructure that enables Fawley to generate extra electricity for the National Grid when demand outstrips supply.


Located on the shore of Southampton Water, Fawley owned by RWE npower is one of the UK

At the heart of the complex is a futuristic doughnut shaped building. Inside this circular space-age structure is Fawley’s control room. The semi-circular room is lined with banks of equipment controlling the power generation. The building also houses lecture rooms, administrative offices, laboratories, computer rooms and a plant room below ground level.

Temperatures throughout the building are 21°C and maintained by relying on standard heating system, natural ventilation as a direct result of its siting on an exposed shore overlooking Southampton Water, partial air conditioning.

The latter is limited to the main control room, computing facilities and lecture/conference facilities. The computer rooms are equipped with an ever- expanding bank of equipment that creates vast amounts of heat. Preventing build up of high heat loads is a major priority to optimise performance and minimise the risks of heat related malfunctions that could lead to a major power outtage.


Two large chillers (one originally supplied by Tricool) had met the sites’ requirements for a number of years and were regularly serviced and maintained under a preventative programme by Tricool. But, earlier this year it was decided that replacements were needed. Age and exposure to a harsh salt-laden environment had taken its toll.

The chillers and much of the pipework had corroded. Environmental issues were also a concern. Water was being removed from the sea to supply the chillers and then discharged directly back into the Solent a few degrees warmer. Fawley saw this as an opportunity to replace and improve the efficiency of its cooling system.


Tricool was asked to design a cost-effective solution that also took into account visual impact and noise. “Fawley presented us with a unique set of challenges that required an innovative approach” comments Ian Stone, Tricool’s Service Director.

The unusual architecture and its exposed location presented a number of hurdles in relation to pipe runs and siting of condensers. The condensers couldn’t be placed outside in such an aggressive environment and if placed internally, heat build up would be a major issue.


Tricool engineered a solution based on the ejection of heat to air instead of into (sea) water. A chiller was custom built to the power plant’s own specifications and included an air-cooled condenser and dedicated air blast cooler to disperse heat into the atmosphere. The air blast coolers were weathered using high quality powder coating, all pipework was plastic and the fans were fitted with speed controllers to reduce noise levels

 The entire unit was positioned at the front of the building, immediately above the plant room to minimise pipe runs. The whole area was then landscaped with a bed of cobbles to further deflect noise. Copper pipes and fins were used for the condensers and the chiller was also specially coated.

The project was completed over the summer months and temporary air conditioning had to be used to maintain temperatures in the computer and central control rooms.

“It is very unusual to use an air blast cooler in what is essentially an air conditioning application. A customised approach has provided Fawley with a much improved and efficient cooling system solution” says Ian Stone.