© Changi Airport

FanGrid makes airport oper­a­tors happy

After a retrofit, a FanGrid is in oper­a­tion at Changi Airport in Singa­pore. This is good news, not only for the oper­a­tors, but also the trav­elers.


Singa­pore is a city-state that is facing major chal­lenges – espe­cially when it comes to sustain­ability and envi­ron­mental protec­tion. This is why the govern­ment launched an initia­tive in 2005 which focused on the ecolog­ical eval­u­a­tion of build­ings. It is based on the Building and Construc­tion Authority (BCA) Green Mark scheme, a leading assess­ment system for green construc­tion in the tropics and subtropics. An ambi­tious goal was announced: 80 percent of the build­ings in Singa­pore should dras­ti­cally reduce their energy consump­tion by 2030.

“The BCA Green Mark scheme has ventured more industry players into green build­ings by providing a stan­dard bench­mark for building owners to follow,” says Dina Bai, Marketing Manager at ebm-papst South East Asia. Changi Airport Group is one of them. Changi Airport Group (CAG), a world-class service icon and the oper­ator of Changi Airport Singa­pore – one of the world’s best airports, always puts sustain­ability as its focus.

Knowing that energy used to cool terminal build­ings is its largest source of emis­sions, CAG decided to opti­mise its air-condi­tioning and mechan­ical venti­la­tion (ACMV) systems. The goal was to make the venti­la­tion systems more energy effi­cient without compro­mising the comfort and pleasant envi­ron­ment for all.

Improve­ment poten­tial with air-condi­tioning

After having reviewed the current air-condi­tioning systems, CAG’s Mechan­ical and Elec­trical (M&E) Engi­neering team iden­ti­fied the poten­tial area for improve­ment: The conven­tional belt-driven AC fans in Air Handling Units (AHUs) were inef­fi­cient and diffi­cult to main­tain.

As AHUs are key compo­nents of centralised air-condi­tioning that distribute cool air around the vast terminal build­ings, CAG took the oppor­tu­nity to leverage the leading tech­nology from ebm-papst to further improve energy effi­ciency and lower oper­a­tional costs for its venti­la­tion systems.

EC tech­nology adop­tion

Climate protec­tion is a priority for ebm-papst. “As a member of the Singa­pore Green Building Council, it is very impor­tant to us to make a contri­bu­tion to a sustain­able and greener future in Singa­pore,” explains Dina. “EC fans are a good choice in this regard.”

In consul­ta­tion with CAG, ebm-papst devel­oped the concept for a FanGrid with EC fans. The FanGrid’s modular design provides not only the best energy effi­ciency but also the redun­dancy which ensures a high level of oper­a­tional reli­a­bility. Further­more, several small fans oper­ating in parallel require less space and are lighter than a single large fan, reducing costs as a result.

A total of 46 EC fans were installed in seven AHUs in Changi Airport Terminal 3, ten of which were in the largest AHU to ensure suffi­cient airflow.

Air flow improved, lower main­te­nance

As measure­ments prove, the improved air flow has already resulted in signif­i­cant savings: In addi­tion to an average energy saving of 25 percent, air perfor­mance has increased by more than 15 percent. Although passenger numbers are notice­ably lower during the pandemic, when the number of trav­elers rises again they will enjoy much more peace in the terminal. The FanGrid oper­ates quietly and with minimal vibra­tion.

Another advan­tage of the system is that the EC fans are very low-main­te­nance. As a result, everyone bene­fits from the new system: CAG building manage­ment, visi­tors to airport and the envi­ron­ment.

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