Natural ventilation no mirage for Saudi Arabian glass factory

Retrofitting the Obeikan Investment Group’s glass factory in Saudi Arabia, the Hurricane Ventilator challenged the convention of motorised exhaust fans.

For over 25 years, the robust Hurricane® range of Vertical Vane™ natural ventilation technology has been built to endure tough climatic conditions and the harshest operating environments – just like the sand storms that occur in the hot desert environment of the Red Sea coast.

Retrofitting the ventilation system for a light industrial facility for the Obeikan Investment Group’s glass factory in Saudi Arabia, Edmonds’ local distributor Egphil Solar proposed the Hurricane H900 Turbine Ventilator. This challenged the conventional approach of installing motorised exhaust fans.

Installing Hurricane H900 Turbine Ventilators delivered tangible benefits to the project by:

  • Improving worker comfort by reducing internal temperatures and relative humidity
  • Eliminating fan energy consumption and saving 347.5 tonnes of CO2 each year
  • Maintaining ventilation rates throughout the building, even under low wind conditions
  • Improving discharge co-efficient and better air flow with vertical vane design
  • Providing maintenance-free natural ventilation with specially designed bearings to prevent ingress of fine dust.

About the Project

The Obeikan Investment Group’s 8,600m² light industrial facility is located approximately 350 kilometre north of Jeddah on the coast of the Red Sea. The glass making facility generates significant amounts of process heat and vapour requiring constant ventilation.

With the existing ventilation system not performing as required, CSR Edmonds’ local distributor, Egphil Solar, provided a natural ventilation solution using Hurricane H900 ventilators that not only provided cost savings over the life of the building but also improved worker comfort and safety on the factory floor.

The Challenge

The local climate in Yanbu is classified as desert with minimal rainfall throughout the year and temperatures regularly exceeding 40°C during the summer months. Typical wind speeds in the region vary between 0 m/s and 5 m/s for most of the time. Creating safe environments that protect workers and sensitive equipment, whilst keeping energy use to a minimum presents a major challenge for the business in these conditions.

For the project, the team compared the H900 ventilator with electric axial fans that are typically used in these types of installations. The design was based on achieving five air changes per hour in the work area to ensure acceptable air quality and workplace temperatures for staff.

In addition, working at heights in the hot and dusty local climate presents a safety risk for maintenance staff and once installed, the H900 ventilators require almost no maintenance.

The Design Engineers: “The application of Hurricane Turbine Ventilators from Edmonds was a success. Testing shows improvement in internal conditions, while providing independence from the electricity grid.”

Key Outcomes for this Project

To ensure the performance of the system, testing of temperature and humidity on the factory floor was undertaken before and after installation. The testing confirmed that installation of the H900 ventilators reduced the internal space humidity by 7% and average daily temperatures were reduced by 2°C.

In addition, by utilising a night purge operation, thermal mass in the concrete floor is used to aid in reducing temperatures during the day. Cool desert air and clear skies remove heat from the building at night, allowing the thermal mass to act as a heat sink during the day.

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