Aggreko Helps Vast, Unique Gunpower Art Studio Stay Dry and Cool

Aggreko Helps Vast, Unique Gunpowder Art Studio Stay Dry and Cool

Temperature control and dehumidifying for 25,000 sq ft warehouse studio on behalf of  Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and artist Cai Guo-Qiang

Houston (October 7, 2010) – Aggreko, the global leader in rental power, cooling, heating and oil-free compressed air  - in partnership with HAR-CON Mechanical Contractors, the official HVAC and plumbing contractor for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) - has helped  transform a  25,000 sq ft warehouse, leased by the MFAH, into a studio for internationally-acclaimed Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang.

The artist's finished work – which will be one of the largest he has ever created,  comprising 42 panels 162 ft long and 10ft high in total – has been created by applying gunpowder to a stencil and igniting it. It will be installed along the walls of the MFAH’s Ting Tsung and Wei Fong Chao Arts of China Gallery during the gallery’s grand opening on October 17.  Under a contract with HAR-CON, Aggreko engineered a climate control and air quality solution to create a suitable environment for the work to be completed.

“Preparing the warehouse for this high-profile event was a monumental task, but Aggreko was up for the challenge,” said LeRoy Green, Technical Specialist, Aggreko North America. “The unfinished and uninsulated warehouse is composed mostly of glass and concrete. For several weeks we worked to engineer an air conditioning and dehumidification solution appropriate for the materials used by the artist – gunpowder on rice paper canvas. We also had to control temperatures to accommodate hundreds of volunteers, staff and spectators during the set-up and a series of live working sessions with the artist, which culminated on October 6 in a spectacular display of gunpowder-fired art.”

Aggreko’s provision of temporary equipment included a 1,000 kVA (kilovolt ampere) generator, a 200-ton chiller, a 10,000 CFM (cubic feet per minute) desiccant dehumidifier, four air handlers, and a 500 GPM (gallons per minute) pump. This meant the environment inside the warehouse could be kept at 68-76F with 50-55 per cent humidity. The array of equipment was housed outside the warehouse, while flexible ductwork was arranged from the delivery dock doors along the inside perimeter, to keep the space cool while preventing air from blowing directly onto the artist’s work area. Aggreko used a hygrometer to test and control relative humidity along with an anemometer to test and control wind speed, as one of the project’s specific requirements was to prevent the slightest breeze on the artwork.

“Without the right temperature and relative humidity levels, the rice paper canvas could have been compromised and gunpowder could not have been burned safely or successfully,” said Green. “Aggreko’s temperature control equipment and engineering expertise helped contain fumes and emissions produced when the gunpowder was ignited and enabled the artist to complete something truly unique. We are delighted to have played such an important role in this innovative cultural experience for the Houston community, where our North American operations are headquartered.”

Editor's Notes

Aggreko plc is the world leader in the supply of temporary power and temperature control solutions. Aggreko employs over 4,000 people operating from over 133 locations. In 2008 we served customers in over 100 countries, and had revenues of approximately £950m (USD $1.6bn or Euros €1.1bn). Aggreko plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (AGK.L), is a member of the FTSE-100 index, and is headquartered in Scotland. For more information, please visit the company website at

Aggreko provides power and temperature control solutions to customers who need them either very quickly, or for a short or indeterminate length of time. Examples would be the supply of power to an industrial site which needs to service its permanent power supply, supplying a whole city in times of power shortage, or providing a major sporting event with power and cooling systems. We serve our customers either through 120 service centres, which we call the Local Business, or globally through our International Power Projects business.

In the Local business, which accounts for about 60% of our revenues, we hire our equipment to customers, who then operate it for themselves, although we retain responsibility for servicing and maintaining it. In the International Power Projects business, which accounts for about 40% of revenues, we operate as a power producer. We install and operate power plants and we charge our customers both for providing the generating capacity, and for the electricity we produce. We design and manufacture equipment specifically for these requirements in our factory in Dumbarton, Scotland.

Recent customers include the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and the power utilities in over 50 countries including the UK, France, Angola, Kenya, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil and the USA.

For more information, please visit the company website at or

For more information, contact:

Shanta Mauney or Claire Caton, Ward Creative Communications    
Tel: 713-869-0707
E-mail: or  

Amy Stine, Communications Specialist, Aggreko LLC
Tel: 281-985-8266

Simon Lyons, Global Director of Marketing & Communication, Aggreko Plc
Tel: + 44 141 2255900


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