Ventilation can be a large cost for commercial kitchens that are prepping and cooking around the clock, with energy demands often increased further through large quantities of conditioned air being lost to the atmosphere and replaced unnecessarily by inefficient systems.
However, developments in smart technology mean it is possible for foodservice operators to have greater control over how hard these systems work and when.
Quintex’s Cheetah solution saves energy by controlling ventilation fan speeds so that extract rates are matched with cooking demands, resulting in savings of up to 80%.
The patented demand-controlled kitchen extraction system – which is equally at home as either a retrofit or new -build solution – works on the principle of the ‘Affinity Laws for Centrifugal Loads’, the result of which is that a fan running at 40% of its normal operating speed will only consume 6% of the energy required to run the fan at 100% of its operating capacity.
Variable speed drives are mandatory for the control of larger extract fans. In commercial kitchens Cheetah controls these drives effectively and efficiently to create a variable air volume (VAV) system, safely minimise energy usage.
The Cheetah kitchen extraction system consists of a number of intelligent modules which are interconnected by a data communications network. (A typical configuration is shown below).
The standard modules include a display processor with system power supply and override facility, a sensor processor and a data logger with GPRS remote access system, as well as temperature sensors (located in ducting) and optic sensors detecting smoke and steam (located in the extract hood).
Air flow meters in ducts and carbon dioxide sensors are optional.
With Cheetah operating in normal mode, the system’s sensors control the fans. The fans are set to a minimum speed by default but demand-based extraction automatically increase in the event of smoke, high temperatures in ducts, low air flow in ducts and high levels of carbon dioxide, in the kitchen.
Benefits & savings
Energy savings of up to 80% are typically achieved
Cheetah saves energy by controlling the extract and air supply fans via its VAV systems. Typically, fan speeds are reduced to 40% of their normal operating speed when activity levels in the kitchen are low.
At this speed, the energy consumption is only 6% of that with the fans running at 100% of their operating capacity. Significant further energy is saved by the resulting fall in demand for conditioned air supply.
Providing a comfortable and safe commercial kitchen environment
Noise in a commercial kitchen is greatly reduced, along with better controlled working temperatures.
Carbon dioxide sensors, if fitted, will also improve the working environment by ramping up the extract fans when excess carbon dioxide is detected, hence bringing the level back to a pre-determined range.
Remote access means key system KPIs such as fan speeds, temperature and air flows can be monitored. Faults can be quickly identified and often fixed remotely, while maintenance needs can be identified and performance optimised, all without attending site.
Cheetah’s energy monitoring unit can meter energy usage in up to eight locations in a restaurant/kitchen. The data is downloaded remotely and presented to the customer.
This verifies the savings from the system and identifies where further optimisation could enhance performance.
Maintaining the extract system in good condition
Air flow meters in the extract ducts enable the condition of the extract system to be monitored remotely, giving early warning of preventative maintenance needs.
The temperature in the extract ducts is measured continuously and if high temperatures are detected, action is taken to alert the operators of a possible fire condition.
Quintex is the Platinum Partner sponsor of the Kitchen Design & Efficiency category of FEJ Kitchen Excellence Week. For information about Quintex and its range of products, including the Cheetah demand controlled ventilation system, call 0118 973 9310 or visit www.quintex.co.uk