How can nanofluids help save energy and reduce carbon emissions?

Hydromx nanofluid

That’s the question we asked SVL president Jim Lubratt and Hydromx chairman Berkin Arikan in our most recent Coffee Break webinar. This webinar series is where SVL invites experts in the HVAC industry to share their insider knowledge about cutting-edge products. Ask your SVL sales engineer for an invitation to our upcoming Coffee Breaks.

Here’s a quick recap of what we learned about Hydromx:

What is a nanofluid?

These are fluids that contain stably suspended nanoparticles. Various scientific agencies have been working with nanofluids for decades, and several formulations have been patented since 2016.

What do these nanoparticles in the fluid accomplish?

A fluid that contains nanoparticles has a greater amount of surface area. This is important for a heat transfer fluid because greater surface area means increased heat capacity and thermal conductivity.

Here’s an example to illustrate this increase in surface area: Imagine a tennis ball sleeve with three tennis balls. It contains 1.1 square feet of surface area. Now imagine three percent of this tennis ball sleeve is filled with sugar instead of tennis balls – now there’s 19.3 square feet of surface area in the sleeve.

If you replace the sugar in the sleeve with 50-nanometer particles, you increase the surface area in the sleeve to 20,230 square feet. This dramatic increase in surface area allows Hydromx to deliver faster heat exchange in a closed-loop hydronic system.

And how does that translate to energy savings? And are there any other benefits to using Hydromx nanofluid?

Because Hydromx makes heat transfer much faster and more efficient, heating and cooling systems require less energy to achieve the same setpoints. Hydromx nanofluid has a proven track record of reducing HVAC energy consumption by 20-35% (versus the same systems running on water or a glycol blend.)

Hydromx is a glycol, so it also offers protection from freezing, scaling, corrosion, calcification and algae buildup.

Are nanofluids like Hydromx safe to use?

Not all nanofluids are created equal. But Hydromx is certified nontoxic. Both formulations of Hydromx have achieved the highest possible NSF rating for that substance (HT-2 for the ethylene version and HT-1 for propylene.)

How long has Hydromx been in use?

The first Hydromx installation was in 2009 at a NATO airbase in Turkey, where a hangar’s in-floor heating system wasn’t meeting the set point. Hydromx was created to solve that problem and gave the base 35% energy savings and a two-year ROI on the project.

India was one of the first big markets for Hydromx. Over 100 installations of the product there have produced between 20-35% energy savings across the board.

The first installation in the United States was in the data rooms of the HBO broadcast center in Hauppauge, New York. The building experienced 27% energy savings and 90% more free-cooling hours. The 65,000 kWh annual savings translated to a one-year ROI.

Among its numerous impressive case studies, Hydromx is the only approved heat transfer fluid in the Empire State Building in Manhattan. It is currently running in 18 loops throughout the building and will be running the entire building by 2023.

What does Hydromx nanofluid installation look like?

Fast, simple and noninvasive. Installation requires one (or maybe two) plumbers with access to the mechanical room for a day or two.