The company invented the engineering solution whilst carrying out works on the cooling infrastructure and capital plant replacement works at the Shell Centre in the South Bank, London. The mechanism makes use of the adjacent River Thames for heat rejection through the development of a filtration and pumping system.
The main challenge was to use high volumes of river water for vessels and river filtration arrangements whilst protecting the aquatic life in the River Thames, principally the eels, which are an internationally protected species. However, to provide a traditional filtration solution would have added an extra £1m and a further year to the project, causing disruption to the River Thames' flow of nautical traffic.
SPIE's new mechanism provides river filtration on the land side within Shell's below ground areas. SPIE also designed increased capability to deliver enhanced "free cooling" at certain times of the year to reduce the total energy consumption of the overall system.
All solutions had to be inspected by the Environmental Agency. Darryl Clifton-Dey, Senior Technical Specialist, from the Agency, commented, "We were extremely impressed with the innovative solution SPIE delivered in a difficult situation. The eels in the Thames are a critically endangered species and any damage to them from the intake would be an offence.
"SPIE not only fulfilled their promise to the Agency by protecting the aquatic life, but simultaneously reduced the building's carbon footprint."
George Adams, SPIE UK's Director of Energy & Engineering, said: "Our river filtration engineering solution saved the firm over £1m, kept the entire programme on track, and protects aquatic life in the River Thames, whilst assisting in the reduction of carbon emissions."