Keeping cool

 

LIKE many people living in Darwin, Michael Bruvel was disappointed that his new pool was as warm as a bath and provided no relief from the heat and humidity.

He decided to do something about it.

Michael has developed a clever water-cooling system called Aquasense.

It can be used on everything from a backyard swimming pool to an aquaculture pond or a swimming lagoon.

He wanted something far cheaper to buy and run than a refrigeration-based system and knew that existing evaporative systems would not work in the humid Darwin conditions.

And he didn’t want to erect a shade cloth over his pool as this was unsightly and expensive and would mean the pool would not warn naturally during cooler seasons or overcast weather.

Aquasense provides a web-based interface that allows algorithms to fine tune heat transfer and

evaporative cooling processes in response to atmospheric conditions.

This allows for efficient cooling and automated temperature control of the pool during hot and humid weather.

It is triggered when poolside sensors – measuring humidity and ambient temperature, and using weather forecast data – assess that conditions are suitable for cooling and the water is above a chosen temperature.

The system even determines when is the most efficient and economic time to go into action.

The most obvious cause of soaring water temperatures in the tropics is the prolonged hot periods.

“If day after day the temperature isn’t getting below 28 degrees, eventually your pool will get unpleasantly warm.

“Some pools I have monitored are 35 degrees but it is common for pools in Darwin to be around 31-33 degrees, which is not refreshing.

“Using the Aquasense system, I maintain my pool at around 27-28 degrees, which is refreshing yet still warm enough to relax in.”

Michael is an economist by training but came up with the idea of using finetuned responses to atmospheric changes to cool his pool after managing an air quality monitoring program.

Aquasense prototypes are working well in a few domestic pools around Darwin – and he sees great potential in the aquaculture industry where his web based system could automatically prepare facilities to manage the effects of heatwaves and improve productivity.

Michael has developed Aquasense with help from a Business Innovation Support Initiatives grant from the Northern Territory Government.

BISI, which is managed by the Department of Trade, Business and Innovation, provides vouchers and grants to innovators.

Grants of up to $60,000 are awarded in rounds – round 5 is open until April 18 – and vouchers up to 60 per cent for eligible projects with a maximum of $25,000 all year round.

To find out more about the BISI program go to nt.gov.au/bisi.

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