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Ziehl: Proper ventilation makes indoor events still possible despite COVID-19

The Berlin Motorwerk (motor plant) introduces improved ventilation design, reduces aerosol risk using biomimetic fans, company says

| | Sep 17, 2020 | 6:29 pm
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Dr Michael Gordon and Peter Fenkl look at the fans, high up in the building Picture credit: Ziehl-Abegg / Marc Vorwerk

KUENZELSAU, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, 16 September 2020: Dr Michael Gordon, CEO, Motorwerk, is able to promise a reduced risk of coronavirus infection at events, Ziehl-Abegg, ventilation, control and drive technology company, said through a Press release. Motorwerk is a Berlin-based event location, which has staged such events as Germany’s Next Top Model and new car presentations by Porsche and Daimler. “In order to massively reduce the risk of coronavirus infections from aerosols, we are able to achieve an enormous increase in the air quality without any disruptive noise,” Dr Gordon said. This, he further said, is thanks to a sophisticated ventilation concept using the know-how and products of Ziehl-Abegg. It was in these very halls that Ziehl-Abegg “grew up” more than 110 years ago and is the namesake for this event location, he added.

The Motorwerk in Berlin-Weißensee Picture credit: Ziehl-Abegg / Marc Vorwerk

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Motorwerk has primarily staged streaming events (for example, with the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Hubertus Heil), but owing to the current conditions, the number of participants has always been very small, the release said. The first event, the release said, was held in August 2020, with more than 200 guests. Normally, the Motorwerk can stage meetings or events for more than 1,000 people, the release said. “The focus now is on social distancing, hygiene rules and, in particular, air quality,” Dr Gordon said. “In the latest event, 250 people spent several hours in the Motorwerk. Although the fans were operating in the immediate vicinity of the guests, they could not be heard.”

Peter Fenkl, CEO, Ziehl-Abegg, saying that the latest generation of biomimetic fans is now operating in the Motorwerk, went on to explain that it had been a special challenge and, at the same time, an honour to be involved in the ventilation system in the halls, which the company sees as being very steeped in its own history. The system now uses fans whose noise levels can be kept extremely low, he said. “Using designs inspired by nature, such as the owl in flight, we have enhanced the fans to achieve the optimum level, in terms of acoustics,” Fenkl said.

According to the release, CO2 sensors monitored the air quality and regulated the fans during the event. The ceiling fans provided the air circulation. For the entire duration of the event, the CO2 level in the indoor air was maintained at approximately 530 ppm, the release said. “That equates to almost the same as fresh air,” Dr Gordon said, referring to a study by the TU Berlin, which considers low CO2 values to be harmless (Risk assessment by the TU Berlin: https://depositonce.tu-berlin.de/handle/11303/11477). The entire system is programmed to be self-regulating but can also be operated manually, the release said, adding that control and monitoring are carried out via an app on smart phone, tablet or PC.


“Design and structural implementation were not easy,” Dr Gordon said. This is because the building is a listed historical site, he said. Collaboration between the Monument Protection Authority, the Weißensee Engineering Consortium and Ziehl-Abegg allowed for the development of a building technology concept that does not change the interior or exterior view of the building whilst at the same time being very dynamic, he said.


The ventilation system at the venue consists of eight axial fans from Ziehl-Abegg (ZN063-ZIL. DG. V7P2), four HVLS ceiling fans (high-volume, low-speed), eight CO2 sensors and a standardised IP-based home control system from LOxone, with control software from Smartflix, the release said.

The volume of air in the hall is approximately 16,500 cubic metres, the release said. Each of the built-in axial fans moves up to 6,000 cubic metres of air per hour, the release said, with three fans used for suction and five for the inlet air. This, the release said, allows the entire air content of the large building to be completely replaced up to twice an hour.


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