The Problem

Disney World Resort’s Epcot theme park in Florida wanted to create a new fireworks show to celebrate its 40th anniversary. While the theme park already had fully functional firework display infrastructure, the Disney World team was uncertain if it would meet their new display’s demands. Compressed Air Systems was asked to investigate this situation and determine whether or not their current setup could deliver enough compressed air to achieve the desired effect.

The Solution

The CAS team arrived onsite to examine and test Epcot’s compressed air SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute) capabilities. The theme park’s fireworks displays are launched from barges that float in the World Showcase Lagoon in the center of the theme park. A system of underwater pipes delivers compressed air to these barges; however, the pipe size was too small to handle the SCFM requirements of the new fireworks show.

To determine if this system could deliver adequate compressed air SCFM, our first task was to evaluate the underwater pipes and perform a simple pressure test. After an initial investigation, we found that there was not enough compressed air to perform the desired processes. Our next step was to visit the site a second time to provide additional flow meter and pressure testing.

During this second visit, we installed a flow meter with a pressure gauge. The results of this testing confirmed our initial assessment. The underwater pipe was not large enough to supply the required amount of compressed air to the barge. To solve this issue, we determined Epcot would need to use a different horsepower in their compressor. Specifically, a 40-horsepower compressor with a rotary screw was needed. However, since space on the barge to accommodate this equipment was limited, our team devised a solution using a low-pressure blower that could provide enough SCFM at a lower horsepower and lower pressure. It was more air flow than higher pressure that was needed for the application

The Result

Our low-pressure blower solution not only offered enough compressed air SCFM to power Epcot’s new fireworks display, but it also operated more efficiently. Our compact, smaller system provided an energy savings of 15 hp and reduced the pressure from 80 psi to 6 psi. The equipment we used for this project was a 2-stage radial blower with variable speed control. Utilizing a two-stage radial blower with variable speed control, our system achieved the following for the client:

  • An energy savings of 15 hp
  • Pressure reduction from 80 psi to 6 psi
  • Significant space savings from the original design, taking up only 2’ X 2’ X 5’ of space compared to 12’ X 10’ of space.

Additionally, we installed a 3” stainless steel compressed fit aqua pipe to deliver the air to the top of the barge. Finally, we programmed Epcot’s controllers to integrate our solution into their system, enabling automatic start-up and shut-off, as well as remote pressure monitoring.

During this project, we adhered to the client’s desired turnaround time frame and successfully navigated challenges that occurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our team overcame strict COVID-19 regulations and solved pandemic-related equipment shortages while collaborating with the Disney World team.

The client was very pleased with the results of this project and the space and energy savings our solution provided. They were particularly happy that we were able to add our equipment to their master controller system for maximum ease of use.