New chillers at airport ‘cool’

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012


PASSENGERS at the Mactan airport have been complaining about the heat in the pre-departure area.

The Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), though, has assured them that this will no longer be the case.

The MCIAA inaugurated two new water-cooled chillers with 500 TOR (tons of refrigeration) that will provide cool air in the buildings.

These come with two new cooling towers with 600 TOR.

MCIAA General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete said the old chillers should have been replaced in 2010 yet, or 14 years after these were installed in 1996.

Breaking point

Villarete said passenger volume has grown in the last five years, placing a heavy burden on the air-conditioning system.

He said the old chillers were run to their limit, adding that some of them had to be used for 24 hours non-stop.

In April and June this year, passengers complained about the warm temperature in the terminal when the old chillers broke down and the air-conditioning capacity was reduced by 50 percent.

The old chillers were purchased as part of the Mactan International Airport Development Project in 1995. The funding came from the loan from the Overseas Economic Cooperation Fund, which is now called the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Engr. Aquilles Ponce, officer-in-charge of the MCIAA Engineering Department, the four new coolers cost P48.5 million.

“We still have to purchase air handling units within the year to ensure that the pre-terminal area will be cold all the time,” he said.

Advantages

He said the new chillers are environmentally-friendly because these no longer use chemicals to treat wastewater that is flushed to the Mactan Channel.

“In water treatment, we are using an ozone generator, which means we are not anymore using chemicals. With this, we are now planning to recycle water,” Ponce said.

Being engineers, Ponce said, they recommend the purchase of equipment that does not harm the environment.

Ponce also said the MCIAA was able to save with the purchase of the new chillers because not only do these have the same capacity as the old ones, these also consume less power. As a result, the MCIAA’s electricity bill will drop, he said.

He also said the MCIAA will also save on its water bill since the chillers’ chemical-free water is recycled and so reduces water consumption from 15,000 cubic meters a month to only 700 cubic meters.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 17, 2012.

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