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An end to the freeze-thaw see-saw

B Surendar, the Editor of Climate Control Middle East, presents his views on applying blockchain in the HVACR realm.

| | Apr 19, 2017 | 1:50 pm
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B Surendar

B Surendar

When someone told me blockchain opens up a world of possibilities, I dismissed it as another example of the modernist tendency for hyperbole. That was till I better understood the Food Watch programme, being developed by Dubai Municipality, and widely expected to revolutionalise food safety management.

Once out, the programme, perhaps the first of its kind in the world, will keep tabs on every single activity of every single food establishment or related business in the emirate. It will not expect people to follow a set of storing and handling practices across and down the cold chain in good faith, backed by random checks; rather, it will rigorously ensure that non-compliance is not an option, with every single indiscretion triggering an alert for immediate authority action.

In a typical scenario, if a consignment of meat is rejected by a five-star hotel on grounds of temperature abuse – usually the result of an errant transport refrigeration operator subjecting it to cycles of freezing and thawing – the meat supplier possibly tries to palm it off to a lesser establishment that possibly has the means to only apply fewer checks. With blockchain, the ‘rejection’ is faithfully recorded and the information is available on a real-time basis on a tamper-proof public platform, which the owner of the lesser establishment can view. Checkmate!

It boggles the mind to think where else blockchain can be applied in the HVACR realm. In a study we recently undertook on ducting systems installed in buildings, we learnt of how most of them were either improperly cleaned or not at all – for years at a stretch. With a real-time monitoring system and reporting structure, which would automatically notify all stakeholders, including building owners, occupants, service providers and regulatory authorities – like municipalities, utilities and healthcare agencies – in real-time, there is a possibility of proactive alerts and alarms for increased levels of humidity, contaminants, CO2 and other particulates harmful to human wellbeing and health.

Likewise, leveraging on IoT and utilising a network of sensors providing feedback on thermal discomfort, say, or air velocity, could reveal much, including leakage in ducting systems, which globally is resulting in loss of energy worth billions of dollars. In the case of a District Cooling network, the thermal discomfort could be the result of a hydraulic imbalance, which is quite the bane of District Cooling projects.

We are talking of a paradigm shift here, and of myriad possibilities. No modernist hyperbole, this. Empowered with information, we can possibly turn the corner into Decisive Action Street.

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