18 February 2013 — BallTech Australia, which was established in 2004 in an expansion from its Israeli parent by founder Michael Herman, is achieving energy savings for chiller plants for a range of Australian companies including Colonial First State.

Its product is a system that works by circulating sponge rubber balls through the condenser tubes of chillers to keep them free of scale and biofilm. The balls are then collected, rinsed clean and reused in a continuous and automatic operation.

At Sydney’s 32-storey Piccadilly Towers, in Castlereagh Street, the system achieved a 26 per cent saving –  that’s 200,000 kiloWatt hours of chiller plant consumption, for the office complex.

It involved installing a BallTech system on a high load and a low load chiller with the project cost just over $66,000 with “a simple payback of around two years”, according to Mr Herman, who is managing director.

The company has also installed systems on all three chillers at the 20-storey A-grade office block at 347 Kent Street, Sydney resulted in 36 per cent savings, 340,000kWh, on its combined heating ventilation and air-conditioning plant.

“We have (also) been advised by Colonial First State Global Asset Management’s sustainability manager that an overall annual reduction of 1.3 million kWh has been recorded after the BallTech system was installed onto all the chillers at Chatswood Chase Shopping Centre,” Mr Herman said.

Melbourne Airport has also reduced its plant energy usage by more than 20 per cent by installing the BallTech onto its five chillers.

Mr Herman said a recent decision to join Low Carbon Australia and FlexiGroup’s Energy Smart Finance program as a vendor has already seen the company ramp up business.

“One of the main problems, until now, is that organisations, especially office building owners, don’t want to spend money. The tenant has always paid the electricity bill and while the owner wants to be green, they don’t want to spend money.

“And our technology is not like buying a coffee – where you know what you are getting. If you don’t understand mechanical engineering it can be quite difficult to know what you are paying for.

“But the Low Carbon Australia relationship has provided a lot of opportunities. I have meetings set up now with companies I have been talking to for three or four years.

“They realise now they will be saving without spending a cent. And as long as the saving is more than the payment, they are interested.”

Mr Herman said BallTech’s results were always, and these are independently verified, more than forecast to the client.

Mr Herman said he brought the company with him when he moved from Israel to Australia 11 years ago. Its head office is in Israel.

The Australia company is based in Melbourne but works nation-wide, with 50 installations throughout the country.

Mr Herman, 55, said the company was “very small” and had more staff until three years ago when he decided to cut back.

“But I predict we are going to be very busy,” he said.

Mr Herman said he learned his mechanical trade while in the merchant marines for four years before realising “the sea belongs to the fish”.

“If you want spend time with your family, and your kids while they are still kids, it is not the place to be,” he said.

“But I had a very broad technical background. On a ship you can’t call a handyman – you have to do everything yourself.”

Mr Herman said he chose Australia to live, from many options, because it was “the closest place to heaven”.

“I put up a list of all of the options I had – and Australia was first.”