Managing peak demand at the pool

Energex was presented the Innovation in ClimateSmart Technologies award at the inaugural Premier’s ClimateSmart Sustainability Awards in Brisbane in June. The event was organised by the Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management.

The award was presented for Energex’s Pool Filtration Demand Management (PFDM) device. The device manages peak electricity demand from domestic swimming pools and according to Energex demand management development and projects manager, Mark Paterson, reflects the organisation’s recognition of the significance of demand management.

“It was critical that the device be ‘set-and-forget’ with almost any possible brand or type of existing or new pool filtration system,” Mr Paterson said. “This has been a significant challenge but the work Energex, SPASA Qld and Thew & McCann have done is now receiving attention around the country.”  According to Mr Paterson, the workgroup drafting the new Australian Standard for pool pump demand response noted this development.

In mid-2009 Energex released a detailed expression of interest for the design and manufacture of a demand management device for residential swimming pool sanitation and filtration systems. The document was developed in conjunction with the Swimming Pool & Spa Association (SPASA Qld) and in due course Thew & McCann won the tender to supply the final product.

Over the next six months, Thew & McCann technical manager, Mark Pointing worked with Energex to develop the PFDM. Mr Paterson’s aim was for the pool filtration technology had to be able to work seamlessly with the customer’s daily routines.

While there are a number of demand response mechanisms currently on the market, Mr Pointing said they suffer the limitation of being located at the domestic switchboard and require considerable work and expense to run a dedicated circuit to the pool systems.

“Energex devised the concept of a ripple control device that would be situated near the pool. This concept proposed significant design challenges which required Thew & McCann to engineer its own ripple receiving technology rather than use off-the-shelf solutions,” Mr Pointing said.

Thew & McCann has for some time identified demand management as a key target in its research and development program.

“There has been a paradigm shift in recent years from ever-increasing expenditure on new infrastructure to more efficient usage of current infrastructure. This is being achieved by improved asset management and by getting better asset utilisation through investment in new technologies at the customer end to reduce consumption in peak times,” Thew & McCann managing director, Peter Pearce said.

This technology has the potential for application across a wide range of demand management scenarios and Thew & McCann are currently examining the development of a number of such applications.