Project - Monitoring of fouling on industrial heat exchangers

Jannie Guldmann Würtz

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Project - Monitoring of fouling on industrial heat exchangers

Monitoring of energy costs as a result of reduced heat exchanger efficiency and analysis of optimisation possibilities

Project start September 2008. Ended in September 2010.

The project is completed.


The objective of the project is to reduce the effects of fouling in industrial refrigeration systems. Fouling is a general term that covers undesired deposits on surfaces (e.g. mineral or microbiological).
That will be implemented partly through the development and testing of a new concept for heat exchanger efficiency monitoring that on-line calculates and visualises the energy costs resulting from fouling. In addition, the project will try to improve and maintain the heat exchanger efficiency through changed system design and maintenance strategy of the water system.


Besides energy monitoring, the monitoring of the heat exchanger efficiency will at the same time be used as indicator of the condition of the water system and the maintenance quality as well as an indicator of when the heat exchanger should be cleaned. Lacking control and visibility of heat exchanger efficiency is be­lieved to be a substantial barrier to utilising the optimisation potential.

The project results will give the operating staff in each individual company an applicable tool to easily carry out cost-benefit analyses of when it is best to clean the exchanger. Today, the exchangers are at best cleaned periodically or in worst case when performance clearly is too low. This project involves the most important Danish actors in the segment and covers the entire supply chain from product suppliers over energy advisors to the end-users.

Project Objectives
1. Development of algorithm for on-line calculation of heat exchanger efficiency and on-line cost-benefit analyses.
2. Development, test and implementation of monitoring unit at the location of the participating end-users.
3. Requirements to monitoring unit

    a. Payback time on installation: 6 months
    b. Expected price: DKK 10,000
    c. Application to be used on all heat exchanger types
    d. Accuracy: 10%
    e. Adaptive function.

4. Development of correlation between fouling degree and reduction of heat exchanger efficiency (U-value).
5. Obtain defined savings at the locations of the participating end-users.
6. Create a saleable product for the participating equipment suppliers.


  • Grundfos Management A/S – Thomas Morrison
  • Grundfos Sensor A/S – Lars Meisner
  • Johnson Controls – Christian Svarregård
  • IPU Refrigeration and Energy Engineering – Morten Skovrup
  • Alfa Laval Lund AB – Rolf Christensen
  • Arla Foods AMBA – Poul Erik Madsen
  • Novo Nordisk – Henrik Jensen
  • Færch Plast – Leif Byskov Larsen
  • Skare Meat Packers – Per Bromerholm
  • Enervision A/S – Per Mikael Pedersen
  • Scanenergi (previously Enervice) – Robert Lauridsen
  • The Danish Energy Agency.

1. Inspection of energy systems of the end-users
2. Problems during operation and maintenance
3. Installation of measuring equipment at end-users
4. Analysis of measuring results
5. Development of monitoring algorithm and equipment
6. Implementation of monitoring algorithm and equipment
7. Analysis and optimisation of water treatment and operation of water systems
8. Analysis of fouling.