Doctoral research IWT Elisa Van Kenhove

Coupled thermodynamic and biologic modeling of Legionella pneumophila proliferation in domestic hot water systems

The production of Domestic Hot Water dominates the total energy demand. One of the main reasons is that DHW is stored and distributed at temperatures above 55°C to mitigate the risk of infecting the system with Legionella. For most of the applications, temperatures of only 30-40°C are required. This disparity doubles the temperature difference between water and environment and has a detrimental effect on the efficiency of DHW production units.

A simulation model is under development that allows to investigate the infection risk for Legionella in the design phase of a DHW system and to test the effectiveness of disinfection techniques. In addition to the modeling work, a test rig is built and measurements are performed in DHW systems. New design guidelines for DHW system configurations will be proposed based on the trade-off between infection risk and energy efficiency.