Renewable heating now installed for special Edinburgh swimming pool

mitsubishiTwo young males in Scotland are now enjoying renewable heating for their swimming pool with the installation of four Ecodan air source heat pumps (ASHPs) to heat their indoor pool.

These are males with a difference though, as Samir and Bertus are one-horned Indian rhinos at Edinburgh Zoo, which has been examining ways of keeping its animals comfortable while reducing both fuel bills and overall carbon emissions.

In the case of the rhino pool, the Zoo previously had in place an older, less-efficient gas boiler that was coming to the end of its life.

Working with heat pump manufacturer, Mitsubishi Electric, Edinburgh Zoo, and the rhinos, are now the proud owners of an Ecodan renewable ASHP, which will help reduce both running costs and emissions by around 30%.

The Ecodan cascade system will also qualify for the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), which could see Edinburgh Zoo receiving around £4,000 per year for the next 20 years.

Four 8.5kW Ecodan heat pumps now provide renewable heating to the indoor rhino pool, with the units working in a cascade system to offer reliable heating all year round, regardless of the outdoor temperature. The Ecodan units work with a ‘tube and tube’ heat exchanger specially designed to work with and maintain the lower temperatures that enable the heat pumps to be so efficient.

The pool is approximately 4m x 4m, and around half a metre deep and the complete system was installed by Lothian Gas, who are working closely with Mitsubishi Electric’s factory in nearby Livingston, where the units are manufactured.

Lothian Gas is Edinburgh’s gas, heating and maintenance engineers and the company calculated the heat load for the pool at 30kW so has installed a 40kW capacity system.
The company has also installed a Grundfos pump between the Ecodan and the tube in tube system to circulate water around the network and ensure that the heat exchanger doesn’t diminish the response time of the heat pump system. The Ecodan units work in tandem and offer full back up and rotate to maximise efficiency.

Mitsubishi Electric has worked closely with both Lothian Gas and Edinburgh Zoo on the installation, and the factory is also helping Lothian gas with on-going training. Mitsubishi Electric is also assisting on the inclusion of SD card monitoring which will allow full energy monitoring on site to help qualify for RHI.

The units were commissioned at the beginning of November and have already met with the seal of approval from Samir and Bertus, who continue to readily swim and wade in the warm water.

The two rhinos are firm friends even though male rhinos are usually solitary. They can often be spotted playing with various forms of rhino enrichment, including large balls, tractor tyres and logs.

Both one-horned Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) were born in 2008, with Samir arriving from Stuttgart Zoo in Germany in May 2010 and Bertus coming to Edinburgh Zoo in June 2010 from Rotterdam Zoo. The Greater one-horned Rhinoceros has an IUCN Red List status of Vulnerable.

When fully mature at around six or seven years old, it is likely that they will be paired with potential mates at other homes in Europe as part of the European Endangered Species Programme.

In the wild, greater one-horned rhinos can be found in Assam, India and over the border into Nepal. They inhabit tall grass forests, but increasingly they have to use more cultivated land as man has encroached on their habitat. Their population has been decimated through poaching with only pockets of them remaining in the wild in India and Nepal.

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