Hellcat: Lochinvar’s Latest Innovation
July 28, 2021
For over a decade, the Lochinvar CREST has been an efficient and reliable source of hydronic heat. The product line has been improved over the years to take advantage of new technologies and components.
Past significant improvements include but aren’t limited to redesigning combustion air systems to utilize a single fan, improving the heat exchanger to allow greater heat transfer, and upgrading the controls for greater connectivity.
The latest innovation is the Hellcat combustion control system. This field-proven (more on that later) option adds continuous O2 monitoring and adjustment (aka O2 trim) to improve operation. A common challenge for peak condensing boiler operation is maintaining the proper fuel-to-air ratio, especially considering the wide range of ambient conditions we experience. Excess oxygen in natural gas and LP combustion prevents a boiler from condensing and capturing 10-12% of energy an owner paid for. Some systems just accept a certain amount of variability in operation. However, if a boiler is to constantly maintain peak performance, the adage of “measure to manage” must be applied. Unlike very large industrial boilers, no cost-effective opportunity for adaptation and improvement existed for smaller commercial-sized systems until now. The Hellcat system continuously monitors combustion and adjusts to maintain optimum operation.
Given that heating plants are a CRITICAL system in our region, extensive field testing and proving is a requirement before Mulcahy will recommend any product to our customers. Mulcahy was involved in an extensive Twin Cities metro area field test installation of the Hellcat system that was continuously monitored over an entire heating season.
The 1.5 million BTU/hr input natural gas sealed combustion boiler had no interruptions of operation despite the wide range of air temperatures and density (more important for combustion control). How wide a range you might ask? The Hellcat system adjusted flawlessly over the equivalent of a 7000 ft range in altitude changes without adjustment. (The total range of operation is larger; we are just reporting what we observed). To put this in perspective, a normally aspirated internal combustion would lose 20-25% of its output power and require changes to the fuel input to keep running. Modern car engines can maintain fuel/air mixture ratios, but a power drop still occurs. The Hellcat system maintained full output capability AND tight combustion control. It is better than your car.
As stated before, heating plants are a critical building system in our region of the country. They are also a significant operating cost to building owners and the Lochinvar CREST with Hellcat control checks all the right boxes. Your local experts at Mulcahy would love to be a part of your next system.
For a more detailed description see https://www.lochinvar.com/products/commercial-boilers/crest-with-hellcat-combustion-technology