In 2011, GEA was asked to collaborate with HVAC & Refrigeration Engineering (HVACR) Ltd. to execute a special and particularly demanding contract in Kuwait. HVACR is a provider of heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration solutions for clients in the oil and gas, marine, and petrochemical industries. HVACR, based in Aberdeen (Great Britain), was contracted to develop and manufacture 27 chiller units for the client in Kuwait. HVACR Ltd. placed their trust in GEA ATEX compressors to master what had been called “the Kuwait Chiller Challenge”.

GEA ATEX compressors used in explosion-risk areas in Kuwait

Chiller used for the Challenge in Kuwait

The chillers are required for use in a major petrochemical plant for climate control in container-type control centers that coordinate measurements in oil and gas fields in Kuwait. The control centers therefore represent explosion-risk areas. In addition, the summers in Kuwait are extremely hot, with temperatures often above 50 °C. Due to these extreme climate conditions and the risk of explosion in the control-center area, GEA was asked to support HVACR Ltd. in this project.

The specific challenge was to design chillers capable of maintaining constant water temperatures in the range between 25 °C and 30 °C. An additional specification was to employ only equipment certified by ATEX (French: ATmosphèrs EXplosible) for use in such hazardous areas. The ATEX directive of the European Union provides uniform minimum standards for work in explosion-risk areas and thus makes an essential contribution to the occupational health and safety of workers on such sites.

The contracted companies employed testing systems to assure the performance and the reliability of the HVAC systems under the extreme conditions encountered in Kuwait. The test chamber used here simulated temperatures between -40 °C and +50 °C to verify the durability of the HVAC systems under extreme climate conditions. The GEA ATEX-compliant compressors passed the tests for extreme temperatures without difficulty. The expert team of HVACR Ltd. and GEA rose to the challenge and was successful in achieving full ATEX compliance for all the chiller units.