Articles & Case Studies

Priva technology controls seawater delivery at marine science aquarium

Posted: Thursday 23rd January 2014

ACompri HXbuilding management system (BMS) fromPriva Building IntelligenceLtdis being used for vital seawater delivery operations at a leading marine science aquarium in Scotland. The new control system oversees power valves fitted to the suction side of mono pumps in the facility’s plant room. The project is designed to ensure the integrity of seawater supply to the aquarium, where important scientific research take place.

The Scottish Association of Marine Science (SAMS) is a world leading scientific research and education centre, as well as a supplier of specialist marine consultancy and survey services. Based near Oban in Argyll, SAMS operates a comprehensive aquarium facility for the benefit of seawater-based tests and research. Here, a recent review of the aquarium’s seawater delivery system has seen the implementation of Priva BMS technology, with impressive end results.

The seawater supply system consists of two pump houses; one situated on the beach foreshore and the second located at the rear of the main aquarium. Seawater is extracted via two sub-sea sand filters buried 50cm in the seabed approximately 80m out in the bay using two belt driven mono progressive cavity pumps powered by a pair of 11kw motors.

“Water is pumped underground to the main aquarium reservoir holding tanks situated some 500m away in the plant room,” explains Aquarium Manager, John Kershaw. “Here, water enters the bottom of the duty reservoir [settlement tank] and spills over a weir into the other half of the reservoir [delivery tank]. Water is extracted continually from the duty reservoir via two further direct drive mono progressive cavity pumps which are fitted with two inverter drive units. One is the duty pump, the other is standby, and they are changed over manually either routinely or in the event of failure.”

As part of the next stage of the project, any failures will result in an automatic change of pump – and an email will be sent to advise this has taken place.

Automated control

Prior to the Priva project these pumps featured manual variable speed controls to maintain the water supply depending on demand in the aquarium, but there was no automation whatsoever. As a result, SAMS wanted to bring the facility into the 21st century with an entirely new and automated control philosophy.

SAMs sought to rationalise its BMS contractors whilst carrying out design work for a new teaching building. Following careful consideration Priva and Campbell controls were chosen to carry out this work.

It was thought the Priva Compri HX controller was the optimum technology to meet the demands of SAMS’ new aquarium control ethos. Among the stipulations, the duty pump in the plant room had to restart automatically in the event of a blackout or brownout. If unsuccessful after a pre-set number of attempts, the standby pump had to be started, thus maintaining the integrity of seawater supply. The same principle of operation had to be applied to the duty and standby air compressors.

Failure to restart the seawater pumps and compressors will activate the re-circulation valve and an email is sent via auto dialler – in this case Priva Compri HX WebEngine. This gives users the opportunity to control and monitor all equipment using a central server, with remote online access. All existing sensors and wiring had to be re-used.

Project success

Needless to say, the combination of Priva technology and Campbell Control Services led to a well-executed project.

“This project is all about the automatic filling of the tanks and the increased serviceability of the seawater to maintain supply integrity,” states SAMS’ Facilities Manager, David Mathias. “Thanks to Priva technology and the excellent support from Campbell Control Services, the system is a million times better than our previous configuration. It’s been a big success story.”

And it doesn’t end there. In the near future, the system will be enhanced to offer capability at low tide. At present, the system relies on a time window two hours either side of high tide.

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