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Approximately 500 labor hours were eliminated annually by eliminating manual cleaning, freeing skilled technicians to focus on higher-level maintenance.  Chiller efficiency gains yield significant annual energy savings.


In late 2019, Innovas Technologies and Duke University entered a partnership to install the Helios Tube Cleaning System on several chillers distributed throughout 3 different CCWP plants. The project involved 17 chillers providing 56,000 tons of district cooling for the Duke facilities infrastructure.


duke university


17 chillers distributed throughout 3 different CCWP plants




500 manitenance hours Eliminated, IMPROVED energy EFFICIENCY


In late 2019 and early 2020, Innovas Technologies and Duke University entered a partnership to install Helios Tube Cleaning Systems on 17 chiller condensers in the Duke University central plants equaling 45,000 tons of cooling.

The project was complex because it involved time-sensitive, tightly-phased installation to prevent cooling outages during the then upcoming 2020 season. The problem was, 2020 was far from a “normal” cooling season.

University operators faced unprecedented challenges in limiting on campus access due to pandemic restrictions. As a manufacturer of commercial and industrial process efficiency equipment, Innovas Technologies was affected by supply chain disruptions with entire sectors of the economy at a standstill.

Despite these obstacles, the Duke / Innovas team pressed ahead to deliver this critical infrastructure project.

The Project

The Duke University project began several years prior as a result of presentations made by Innovas at the International District Energy Association, Campus Energy forum. The team at Duke evaluated other use cases and saw the value of clean tube efficiency as it related to their own expansive chiller operations. Specifically,

they evaluated the Helios TCS from a total Life Cycle Value perspective including cost savings, chiller performance, system maintenance, and long-term reliability. After a thorough, multidisciplined evaluation Duke went all in to integrate the system into chillers at multiple Central Chilled Water Plants (CCWP).

Manufacturing & Installation

Initial manufacturing began in the Fall of 2019 and proceeded without issue. When the second phase of the project was released in the Spring of 2020, manufacturing, in Iowa, became much more uncertain.
Innovas had preordered inventory prior to the pandemic, so the needed materials were on hand.

Our fabrication shop maintained its operations throughout the period. The complete fabrication of the 17 systems proceeded at normal pace but required significantly more coordination due to the daily uncertainty of the pandemic. Additionally, very strict floor access and preventative procedures were employed to prevent Covid transmission to the best extent possible.

Shipping during the lock down period was more difficult.   Amazingly, we were able to coordinate shipping per our schedule during the height of the lockdown.  The trucking culture was notable by its willingness to keep moving during the time of greatest uncertainty.   Its almost as if truck drivers were accepting the responsibility themselves to keep the country operating.  The team began commissioning the systems with a phased approach in May 2020 under Covid related limitations. The restrictions included operating with limited access, personnel and difficult travel conditions. Luckily, the Innovas Technologies commissioning team was able to divide duties and ensure adequate resources for start-up as required by the install team.

During commissioning, Innovas and Duke worked together to ensure all the Helios systems operated per specification. Part of this process included integrating the Helios controls into the Duke Facilities operating system. This connection, reaching across three central chilled water plants demonstrated the compatibility of the Helios TCS and both parties teamwork.

Custom Fabrication

During commissioning of the seventeen systems, we discovered a problem related to four systems. These four systems were installed in a unique manner due to physical space limitations and were not performing cycles as expected.

After instituting basic mitigation actions, the system performance was still not up to Innovas’ standards. This was particularly challenging because our engineering team could not be present onsite to evaluate all the potential variables affecting system performance.

Though numerous virtual meetings and evaluations over several days the Innovas engineering team was able to replicate the problem within the Innovas Technologies hydraulics laboratory. The Innovas engineering department then rapidly prototyped a design solution and the Innovas fabrication shop was able to build the modified equipment components in just two days for expedited shipping. So, in less than a week, under the restrictions of strict lockdowns, the repair prototype materials were designed, fabricated and shipped to site for installation and evaluation. Once installed it was immediately clear the fix was effective, and the remaining three affected Helios systems were modified within the next week.

This was a phenomenal effort given the restrictions to travel, workplace operations, and site access. In the end it represented the effectiveness of the Duke/Innovas Technologies team approach.




In Duke’s case, the savings are exceptional and the reliability consistent with the standard the Helios has established throughout its install base, 99.97% or better.

Improved ENERGY efficiency
10,000,000 kW-hrs ENERGY EFFICIENCY
500 Hours Maintenance Eliminated
1 Year Project Payback

The goal for the project was energy cost savings and the eleminiation of manual tube cleaning.  The results demonstrate a potential for significant savings on eletricity costs.  In addition, thousands of maintenance manhours have been saved and  breakout sustainability contributions have been made.  The book on large scale chiller fouling elimination was written with demonstrated value.


Use our custom quote tool to configure a tube cleaning system specific to your application and see what the Helios TCS can do for your facility.


Reduce carbon emissions and control energy costs.


Engineered with operational reliability above 99.97%.