For maximum efficiency of heating systems it is essential to combine inherently efficient plant with highly effective control

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It will be apparent to any energy manager that the plant at the heart of a heating system needs to be inherently efficient. However, this is only part of the equation when it comes to maximising energy efficiency. Just as important is the ability to control that plant to ensure it delivers optimum performance.

Heating control systems in the past

In the past, control systems have tended to be complex and quite difficult to commission, operate and maintain. Inevitably this increases the risk of errors during commissioning and is a deterrent to subsequent fine-tuning of the system as building usage and thermal performance change.

In recent years the situation has become even more complex with growing use of heating systems comprising multiple conventional and low carbon heat sources. These require a more sophisticated control strategy that has been challenging to deliver with old-style controls.

Hoval’s new TopTronic E is an entirely new system controller, developed from the ground up, to address these issues. As such, it delivers a completely new level of simplicity, modularity, connectivity and user experience without compromising on control functionality.

TopTronic E is built in to the latest generations of Hoval boilers, calorifiers, heat pumps and other heat sources with the ability to control one or multiple sources with a single unit or in cascades with up to 8 units. In doing so, it eliminates the inconvenience and risk of trying to work with different controllers for different appliances and system configurations.

Heating control system revolution

This is particularly important when using mixed heat sources, which are typically operated in a cascade configuration that needs to take account of the characteristics of each heat source. These mixed systems are very different from the more familiar cascades of modular boilers that have been in use for many years.

TopTronic E universal

For example, a system might make use of biomass for the lead boiler to meet base heat loads, supplemented by gas-fired boilers. In these cascade configurations it is essential the control strategy recognises that biomass boilers are not designed for rapid on/off firing. They require some time to stabilise, so the control parameters need to allow sufficient tolerances for the biomass boiler to meet the set-point temperature.

Also, if the gas-fired back-up boilers are brought in too quickly this may cause the biomass boiler to switch off, so that the full heat load is then being met by the gas-fired boilers.

These issues can be addressed through correct commissioning of the control system, and this procedure is greatly facilitated by the TopTronic E.

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Kevin Stones

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