Radical beverage refrigeration technology cools on demand

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

UK-based Pera Technology has developed a new refrigeration technology known as V-Tex, which has the ability to cool drinks while consuming less energy.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The V-Tex has the ability to cool a standard 35cl can of drink in just 45 seconds, the company claims.

Paul Tattersall, project manager at Pera Technology, said: "The energy consumed by commercial refrigerators and freezers is quite staggering. Across Europe, an estimated 85TWh of electricity is used, comparable to around 25 million households. […]


The Rapidcool consortium set out to develop a novel, fast-cooling apparatus that cools drinks on demand. This is a much smarter alternative to the current norm, where large volumes of drinks are stored in chillers for prolonged periods, just waiting to be consumed. This not only wastes a lot of energy, but chilled stock can easily run out. V-Tex technology is flexible and ensures consumers can always obtain a cooled beverage quickly.

The main challenge faced by the team was to optimise cooling efficiency to meet consumer demand for extremely fast cooling without ‘slushing’. This occurs when the outer layers of liquid freeze before the inner liquid is cooled. The V-Tex technology rotates the drink under optimised conditions to create a ‘Rankine vortex’ and obtain cooling speeds better than other approaches while avoiding the effects of slushing and fizzing when the drink is opened. The cooling chamber can be easily integrated into existing vending machines or open-cabinets, in addition to working as a standalone cooling unit.<

See on www.foodbev.com

Oxfam warns of dangers of growing inequality

See on Scoop.itSocial Media, Bitcoin & Finance

The richest 85 individuals in the world hold wealth equal to that owned by the poorest half of the planet’s population, according an Oxfam report.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Oxfam’s report, titled Working for the Few, was published ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and urges the group to take measures to reduce growing inequality.


“Widening inequality is creating a vicious circle where wealth and power are increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving the rest of us to fight over crumbs from the top table,” Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam’s executive director, said in a press release.  […]

Inequality seen as a threat


“This massive concentration of economic resources in the hands of fewer people presents a significant threat to inclusive political and economic systems,” the charity said. “People are increasingly separated by economic and political power, inevitably heightening social tensions and increasing the risk of societal breakdown.”


It points to inequality in India, where the number of billionaires increased tenfold in the past decade because of a regressive tax structure, and Africa, where global corporations are exploiting natural resources, while local populations are left poorer.


The World Economic Forum, which begins Wednesday, pulls together influential figures in international trade, business, finance and politics has already expressed alarm about growing inequality.<




See on www.cbc.ca

Underground vs. Overhead: Power Line Installation-Cost Comparison and Mitigation

See on Scoop.itGreen Building Design – Architecture & Engineering

Best of 2013 – Article BY FRANK ALONSO AND CAROLYN A. E.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Hurricane Sandy left many electric utility executives, their customers, local and state government leaders and regulators contemplating placing overhead power lines underground. This desire surges into prominence whenever natural disasters cause destruction on the overhead distribution and transmission networks across the country. In the past, the largest obstacle to placing overhead power lines underground has been the higher cost of installation and maintenance for underground lines.  […]

Whenever a major weather-related catastrophe occurs or land is being developed, the question of placing overhead power lines underground surges. The answer to the proverbial question, "Why can’t overhead power lines be placed underground?" is, "They can be, but it’s expensive."

Higher initial construction costs. According to the May 2011 paper "Underground Electric Transmission Lines" published by the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, "The estimated cost for constructing underground transmission lines ranges from 4 to 14 times more expensive than overhead lines of the same voltage and same distance. A typical new 69 kV overhead single-circuit transmission line costs approximately $285,000 per mile as opposed to $1.5 million per mile for a new 69 kV underground line (without the terminals). A new 138 kV overhead line costs approximately $390,000 per mile as opposed to $2 million per mile for underground (without the terminals)."

These costs show a potential initial construction cost differential of more than five times for underground lines as opposed to overhead lines for construction in Wisconsin. Costs vary in other regions, but the relative difference between overhead and underground installation costs is similar from state to state.


Maintenance costs. The present worth of the maintenance costs associated with underground lines is difficult to assess. Many variables are involved, and many assumptions are required to arrive at what would be a guess at best. Predicting the performance of an underground line is difficult, yet the maintenance costs associated with an underground line are significant and one of the major impediments to the more extensive use of underground construction. Major factors that impact the maintenance costs for underground transmission lines include:

Cable repairs. Underground lines are better protected against weather and other conditions that can impact overhead lines, but they are susceptible to insulation deterioration because of the loading cycles the lines undergo during their lifetimes. As time passes, the cables’ insulation weakens, which increases the potential for a line fault. […]

Line outage durations. The durations of underground line outages vary widely depending on the operating voltage, site conditions, failure, material availability and experience of repair personnel. The typical repair duration of cross-linked polyethelene (XLPE), a solid dielectric type of underground cable, ranges from five to nine days. Outages are longer for lines that use other nonsolid dielectric underground cables such as high-pressure, gas-filled (HPGF) pipe-type cable, high-pressure, fluid-filled (HPFF) pipe-type cable, and self-contained, fluid-filled (SCFF)-type cable. In comparison, a fault or break in an overhead conductor usually can be located almost immediately and repaired within hours or a day or two at most.<

See on www.elp.com

Utility companies to continue mergers and acquisitions

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. electric utilities industry will maintain a steady pace over the next few years.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Slower load growth is causing utilities to look beyond their service territories. Load growth has been moderating in recent years primarily because of greater energy conservation and efficiency, increased distributed generation and the 2008 – 2009 economic downturn. These growth trends have pushed some utilities to look beyond their service territories for additional load growth in areas that are growing faster than the national average.

Expanding regulated businesses and diversifying operations reduce risk profiles. Many utilities look to expand their regulated businesses to increase the stability and predictability of cash flows, while also maximizing operational efficiency and spreading operating and maintenance costs over a wider customer base.

Since many utilities are completing or currently at the peak of their capital spending cycle, they will look to diversify their business and attempt to identify new avenues of growth to increase their regulated asset base and earnings. Larger deep-pocketed utilities will also be better positioned to handle future capital expenditure cycles, including increasingly stringent environmental mandates.

Decline in ROEs will spur additional cost reductions, which can be achieved through merger synergies. Falling returns on equity (ROEs) means utilities are looking at consolidation to realize additional cost savings through operational synergies and reduced overheads.<

See on www.elp.com

RISC vs. CISC explained for data center systems

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

CISC processors suit virtually every task, but RISC processors can do more with less power. The RISC vs. CISC battle has moved into the data center, with compelling pros for RISC.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>RISC vs. CISC processors

Today’s x86 processor designs are an amalgamation of features and functionality from the last 30 years, right up to today’s Intel-VT and AMD-V instructions to support hardware-assisted virtualization.

But there’s a problem with this complex instruction set computing (CISC) approach; every new instruction or feature adds tens of thousands of transistors to the processor die, adding power demands and latency even if the instructions are rarely used. The chip is extremely versatile, but it runs hot and sucks power with ever-increasing clock speeds.

Processors run much more efficiently when tailored to a specific task. Reduced instruction set computing (RISC) strips out unneeded features and functionality, and builds on task-specific capabilities. Simpler, more reliable RISC processors provide the same effective computing throughput at a fraction of the power and cooling.

The question in CISC vs. RISC arguments is versatility vs. efficiency. Traditional x86 CISC processors can tackle almost any computing task using an extraordinarily comprehensive instruction set. This made CISC the preferred chip design for general-purpose computing platforms: enterprise servers, desktop PCs and laptop/notebook systems.

Purpose-built RISC processors sacrifice versatility for efficiency. Removing unneeded instructions dramatically reduces the processor’s transistor count. Tackling fewer tasks in hardware means those tasks are performed faster, even at lower clock speeds (less power) than a full x86 CISC counterpart.

Printers, home routers, and even multifunction telephones and remote controls use RISC processors, and the concept is growing dramatically for fully featured computing platforms. A tablet or smartphone’s RISC processor can deliver smooth video playback, fast webpage display and a responsive user interface for many hours on a battery charge, with no cooling devices. This same chip design paradigm is systematically finding traction in data center systems.<

See on searchdatacenter.techtarget.com

Solar Geoengineering: Blocking the Sun’s Rays

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

With prominent scientists now calling for experiments to test whether pumping sulfates into the atmosphere could safely counteract global warming, critics worry that the world community may be moving a step closer to deploying this controversial…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Now some scientists are thinking about replicating Mount Pinatubo’s dramatic cooling power by intentionally spewing sulfates into the atmosphere to counteract global warming. Studies have shown that such a strategy would be powerful, feasible, fast-acting, and cheap, capable in principle of reversing all of the expected worst-case warming over the next century or longer, all the while increasing plant productivity. Harvard University physicist David Keith, one of the world’s most vocal advocates of serious research into such a scheme, calls it "a cheap tool that could green the world." In the face of anticipated rapid climate change,  […]

University of Chicago geophysicist Raymond Pierrehumbert has called the scheme "barking mad." Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki has dismissed it as "insane." Protestors have stopped even harmless, small-scale field experiments that aim to explore the idea. And Keith has received a couple of death threats from the fringe of the environmentalist community. 

Clearly, there are good reasons for concern. Solar geoengineering would likely make the planet drier, potentially disrupting monsoons in places like India and creating drought in parts of the tropics. The technique could help eat away the protective ozone shield of our planet, and it would cause air pollution. […]

As Keith himself summarizes, "Solar geoengineering is an extraordinarily powerful tool. But it is also dangerous." 

Studies have shown that solar radiation management could be accomplished and that it would cool the planet. Last fall, Keith published a book, A Case for Climate Engineering, that lays out the practicalities of such a scheme. A fleet of ten Gulfstream jets could be used to annually inject 25,000 tons of sulfur — as finely dispersed sulfuric acid, for example — into the lower stratosphere. That would be ramped up to a million tons of sulfur per year by 2070, in order to counter about half of the world’s warming from greenhouse gases. The idea is to combine such a scheme with emissions cuts, and keep it running for about twice as long as it takes for CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere to level out. 

Under Keith’s projections, a world that would have warmed 2 degrees C by century’s end would instead warm 1 degree C. Keith says his "moderate, temporary" plan would help to avoid many of the problems associated with full-throttle solar geoengineering schemes that aim to counteract all of the planet’s warming, while reducing the cost of adapting to rapid climate change. He estimates this scheme would cost about $700 million annually — less than 1 percent of what is currently spent on clean energy development. If such relatively modest cost projections prove to be accurate, some individual countries could deploy solar geoengineering technologies without international agreement. <

See on e360.yale.edu

Check out these AMCA resources…

Fan Energy and Energy Efficiency for mechanical building systems – HVAC

AMCA Energy Initiatives

Here’s a hyperlinked list of selected sections of the AMCA Energy Initiatives Website that will provide useful background information and help with compliance for fan-efficiency codes and standards:

Technical articles  and white papers about fan efficiency, including fan efficiency grades (FEGs) based on ANSI/AMCA Standard 205

Timelines and status updates  on codes, standards, and regulations for fan energy efficiency and air curtains

Database search for fan models with AMCA-certified FEG ratings and peak total pressure

Free (for now) PDF of ANSI/AMCA Standard 205-12 Energy Efficiency Classification for Fans

Check out these resources at your leisure. Future posts will focus on specific topics, such as ASHRAE 90.1, Dept. of Energy, and how to save fan energy through better professional practice.

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A-3103 Scheduled for Further Consideration by Senate as New Jersey Moves Closer to Priority Permitting

Green Building/Construction Law

New-Jersey-State-CapitolAs previously reported here and here, the New Jersey Senate has been considering Assembly Bill 3103, which would allow for priority permitting of green building projects. The bill received a second reading in November, and passed with minor amendments. My sources in Trenton (i.e., the publicly available Legislative Calendar on the New Jersey Legislature’s website) indicate that A-3103 has been scheduled for consideration at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 9.

A-3103, which has already received two readings in the Senate, would obligate municipal agencies, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Department of Transportation, and Department of Community Affairs to prioritize green building projects. Any such projects must be “designed to be constructed to:” (1) be certified to at least LEED Silver; (2) qualify as Energy Star; (3) achieve at least a two globe rating under Green Globes; (4) achieve at least a silver certification under the ICC 700…

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Graphene Supercapacitors Ready for Electric Vehicle Energy Storage

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Conventional batteries take so long to charge that they cannot efficiently store braking energy. Graphene supercapacitors store almost as much but charge in just 16 seconds.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Now Santhakumar Kannappan at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in Korea and a few pals say they have a solution based on the wonder material of the moment–graphene. These guys have built high-performance supercapacitors out of graphene that store almost as much energy as a lithium-ion battery. They can charge and discharge in seconds and maintain all this over many tens of thousands of charging cycles.

The trick these guys have perfected is to make a highly porous form of graphene that has a huge internal surface area. They create this graphene by reducing graphene oxide particles with hydrazine in water agitated with ultrasound.

The graphene powder is then packed into a coin-shaped cell, and dried at 140 °C and at a pressure of 300/kg/cm for five hours.

The resulting graphene electrode is highly porous. A single gram of this stuff has a surface area bigger than a basketball court. That’s important because it allows the electrode to accomodate much more electrolyte (an ionic liquid called EBIMF 1 M). And this ultimately determines the amount of charge the supercapacitor can hold.

Kannappan and co have measured the performance of their supercapacitor and are clearly impressed with the results. They say it has a specific capacitance of over 150 Farrads per gram can store energy at a density of more than 64 watt-hours per kilogram at a current density of 5 amps per gram.

That’s almost comparable with lithium-ion batteries, which have an energy density of between 100 and 200 watt-hours per kilogram.

These supercapacitors have other advantages too. Kannappan and co say they can fully charge them in just 16 seconds and have repeated this some 10,000 times without a significant reduction in capacitance. “These values are the highest so far reported in the literature,” they say.<


See on www.technologyreview.com