IDEA2021 Annual Conference Presents the University of Virginia with Coveted Innovation Award for Solving Century-old Problem

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U.S. manufactured technology helps the University of Virginia win IDEA's Innovation Award based on Ingenuity, Measured Success, Replicable: Economic & Environmental Benefits. The coveted 2021 IDEA Innovation Award was received in recognition for submitting "Automated Chiller Tube Cleaning Improves Chilled Water Plant Efficiency." Presented to Paul Zmick, Director of Energy and Utilities at UVA, the Award features Innovas Technologies' Helios TCS and its un-matched benefits.

On Sept 28, at the IDEA2021 Annual Conference in Austin, Texas, IDEA presented the University of Virginia the coveted 2021 IDEA Innovation Award for submitting “Automated Chiller Tube Cleaning Improves Chilled Water Plant Efficiency.”

The IDEA Innovation Award showcases examples of technology, engineering, and operational innovation within the district energy industry. Presented annually at IDEA's Annual Conference & Trade Show, the Award evaluates four main categories: Ingenuity, Measured Success, Replicable: Economic & Environmental Benefits.

The Award-Winning Solution:
Automated Chiller Tube Cleaning Improves Chilled Water Plant Efficiency

In 2014, UVA was presented a little-known technology from Innovas Technologies, designed to automate tube cleaning and tube fouling prevention in their chiller condensers, and was interested in testing the overall impact on chilled water plant operations. Seven years later, UVA's decision to innovate has led to widespread technology adoption at UVA. The university now operates 20 water-cooled chillers with automated tube cleaning systems, delivering approximately 20,000 tons of cooling.

Savings & Operational Efficiencies

The savings and operational efficiencies at UVA have been transformed by adopting the Helios Tube Cleaning System®.

The Helios equipment is installed around heat exchangers and prevents energy stealing tube fouling by periodically injecting specialized cleaning balls into the cooling water flow, while the chiller is in operation. The balls rub the tubes clean resulting in the elimination of the largely unaddressed and century old problem of tube fouling, the source of $100’s of billions in energy waste and unnecessary release of 10’s of millions of tons of CO2 emissions globally.

Proven through hundreds of thousands of operational hours, UVA has eliminated tube fouling and manual chiller cleaning over the last seven years. The results speak for themselves illuminating how the partnership between Innovas and UVA solved a very difficult problem. Collaboration and idea sharing created new "best practices," enabling the complete reliability and effectiveness of the Helios Tube Cleaning System and the elimination of chiller tube fouling at UVA.

UVA and Innovas’ commitment to lead by example in innovation also extended tremendous benefit to peer institutions and the environment. Since the initial trial, IDEA member institutions have installed Helios systems on more than 200,000 tons of cooling, saving over 33 million kW-hrs and $3 million annually while reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by over 27,000 tons.

About IDEA
Founded in 1909 as the National District Heating Association, IDEA continues to inform, connect, and advance the district energy industry around the globe. Today, the association has a membership of over 2,400 industry professionals representing more than 30 countries worldwide.

About Innovas Technologies
At Innovas Technologies, our mission is to help our customers save money through an obvious but little-known solution. We believe energy conservation is the largest opportunity for a sustainable future, and our products are designed to provide highly measurable environmental and financial impacts. Visit

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Anthony Thornburg