naval hvac, E-Co

How to improve HVAC performance for your fleet and save energy

Lighting the way to efficiency savings for the UK MoD (Ministry of Defence).

naval hvac, E-Co

For a fleet of warship, stationed in tropical climates, the need for systems to operate at optimum performance is vital.  Following a successful trial of E-CO UVC Emitters, the system has now been specified for all air terminal (handling) units in a class of Royal Navy vessels, with an installation programme in place throughout this year.  This work will save around £8 million in maintenance cost over the life the vessels.


Royal Navy Type 23 ships were designed for operations in the cold waters of the North Atlantic.  Now, typically stationed in extreme tropical climates and required to handle an increase in new systems and modern technology installed onboard, the performance of the HVAC systems, as well as finding a cost-effective solution to maintain them, were both key challenges.

Despite a regular cleaning regime, a build-up of biofilm contamination formed on the heat exchange plates in the air conditioning units on the vessels, causing a significant deterioration in performance due to restricted airflows and reduce thermal efficiency, increasing the costs of running the systems.

Biofilm contamination is formed as dirt collects on coil surfaces, in condensate pans and ducts.  It absorbs the moisture from the air, causing mould growth. In this case, the biofilm contamination meant upgrading the chilled water systems would not have been cost effective.

Manual cleaning is ineffective at removing biofilm and preventing re-growth.  The use of cleaning chemicals also introduces health hazards and damages the delicate components of the coil surfaces, reducing the lifespan of the equipment.

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Between June and November, 2010, E-CO worked with BAE systems and conducted a trial for the Royal Navy by fitting UVC light emitters into an air terminal unit in one of the warships.  The aim was to assess the success of the UVC light emitters to reinstate performance of current HVAC systems and to:

  • Improve system performance.
  • Reduce energy use.
  • Reduce the maintenance demands and frequency of maintenance.
  • Improve cleanliness of the air conditioning systems.
  • Avoid expensive system upgrades.
  • Reduce the risk of equipment failure.
  • Lower costs.

During the trial, BAE systems recorded the monthly changes in HVAC system performance to establish a baseline system performance and to establish results at completion of trial.


The resulting data showed an improvement to system airflow and in performance of the units, taking them back to design parameter.  Samples taken from coil surfaces that had previously shown biofilm contamination were free of mould.

Before UVC light emitters were installed the units rated 58% of their original specifications.  Following installations, they were rated at 99.5% of original specifications.  In 6 months, this showed a 72% improvement.

With clear and measurable results, E-CO’s UVC installation has now been specified by BAE systems for all type 23 vessels, with a programme in place to install equipment in all remaining 8 ships throughout 2013.

In October 2012, E-CO was presented with a prestigious BAE Chairman Bronze Award for its achievements on the project.  Open to all businesses that work with BAE Systems across the world, these awards are given to recognize people whose ideas, actions and behaviours make BAE systems a better, more competitive company.

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The issues experienced by the Royal Navy type 23 vessels are common to all marine platform HVAC systems. If you like to find out more about our UVC solution for the maritime transportation and how we can retrofit your fleet, please contact us.