How Mechanical and Electrical Engineers Can Help in Renewable Energy Projects Design?

Over the last decade, the renewable energy industry has witnessed tremendous global growth, and mechanical engineers have made a significant contribution in ensuring the transition to pure energy and other sustainable practices around the globe.

Over the last decade, the renewable energy industry has witnessed tremendous global growth, and mechanical engineers have made a significant contribution in ensuring the transition to pure energy and other sustainable practices around the globe.

The same can be said about the role of electrical engineers in this industry. Nowadays, humans can observe the movement of small businesses and startups toward carbon-free solutions, for instance, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydroelectric power in action in all their projects.

Using full benefits of renewable energy sources demands advanced technology in manufacturing, preserving, and supplying electricity. That is what makes the technical expertise of electrical engineers an essential resource at small businesses or startups striving to integrate eco-friendly practices.

In case your business/startup is connected with designing renewable energy projects, the first thing you should do is to check some renewable energy market analysis so that you can develop your strategy. Then, it would be brilliant to find 3D modeling services to make your renewable energy project come true and hire relevant types of engineers who will work on your project.

Now, let’s take a glimpse at several ways how mechanical and electrical engineers can help you in that. We will start with mechanical engineers.

electrical-engineering

Mechanical Engineers in Renewable Energy Projects

Small business and startup owners should consider this type of engineer as a must for designing renewable energy solutions! Why?

A wide range of the essential skills that mechanical engineers experience in their graduate programs possess many useful practices for renewable energy engineering. Profound knowledge in fluid mechanics, heat transfer, and thermodynamics, for instance, is a clue to designing the wind power eco solution. The same expertise is also necessary when improving cooling systems, developing hydropower infrastructure, and creating new energy preservation technology, for example, solar fuel or thermochemical batteries for long-term energy storage.

Small business and startup owners should hire mechanical engineers because they practically can be involved in every step of renewable energy generation/distribution. From designing approaches that minimize the cost of silicon production for solar panels to developing optimized ways to build wind farms, this kind of engineer is significant to improving the renewable energy infrastructure. Below, you can see several essential duties of mechanical engineers in designing renewable energy solutions:

  • Rationalizing a certain renewable energy technology for it to get more financially beneficial to develop relevant infrastructure;
  • Explore various materials and their interrelation for further implementation in renewable energy leading to innovative systems/technologies design for producing and supplying eco power;
  • Provide small business and startup owners with consultations regarding renewable energy projects, including delivering the best ways to achieve sustainability goals: determining technology needs and methods to build and invest in renewable energy infrastructure;
  • Multiple integrations of all types of renewable energy technologies.

How Electrical Engineers Solve Renewable Energy Challenges?

When it comes to the contribution of electrical engineers to sustainability-based energy projects, it is the following.

The wind turbines and solar panels that produce pure energy are often located in areas far from municipalities. To experience all bonuses of environmentally friendly electricity, mankind requires the infrastructure to distribute such energy into homes.

 

Designing a renewable energy project and faced the above-mentioned challenge? Here, electrical engineers are your option!

As a rule, electrical engineers engaged in renewable energy transmission address the following issues:

  • Modernizing and expanding high-voltage distribution lines, selecting appropriate areas for construction to reduce environmental influence;
  • Identifying the finest strategies to transform renewable energy into electricity safely and effectively;
  • Precisely predicting the requirement for eco power and enabling facilities to possess the storage capacity to satisfy those requirements;
  • Securely managing the power flows from production facilities via the grid;
  • Designing innovative control platforms to check how the grid behaves and to react to troubles as they happen.

In case your startup is connected with microgrids, electrical engineers can come in handy. For those who are not on the topic, let’s clarify the thing.

solar-microgrid

Various platforms that involve microgrids make it possible to get more effective energy distribution than ordinary grids, resulting in eco power systems that are less wasteful as well as more financially beneficial.

Besides, some microgrids suggest an eco-friendly alternative by using a renewable energy source, for instance, wind power, biomass, or solar power. With permanent technological development, such microgrids can become central to implementing energy even greener!

It requires creative problem-solving as well as innovative technical knowledge to support in revolutionizing eco-energy production, distribution, and consumption. Electrical engineers understand the principles which are on the background of the latest achievements in the energy transformation, power platforms, and power grids. So, they can potentially design a win-win solution for your business in the renewable energy industry.

4 Ways To Pay Your Electricity Bill Effortlessly

Utilities like water and power can end up costing nearly as much as your rent or house payment in a bad month. Unfortunately, you can’t cut off your water service to save money the way you could cut the cable. Here are a few tips to tame your utility bills and make it easier to pay your electricity bill with ease.

1. Clean Up

Cleaning the coils on your refrigerator helps it work more efficiently. Cleaning the coils on your air conditioner can do the same, but your AC uses far more power than your fridge. Remove any debris from the air intakes, whether it is leaving piles up by the AC or the air vent to your furnace. Rinse the air filters for your room air filters, the air conditioner, and your dehumidifier.

2. Turn It Off

While the appliances that are sleeping may use less energy than when on, the reality is that they use almost as much power in standby as they do when active. The solution is to turn things off. Unless your game station is downloading updates, unplug it to save power. Turn off the TV instead of letting it sit in standby, or worse, use it as background noise.

When gadgets are fully charged, disconnect them from the charging station and turn off the charging station. If you can’t stand to turn off your computer, turn off the monitor instead. Turn off lights when they aren’t in use, and consider when you can utilize natural light instead. Don’t let appliances idly run while you’re busy. Get the clothes out of the dryer instead of letting it run every five minutes to prevent clothes from wrinkling.

Turn off the oven when you’re done with it. The same might be said for your pool pump or air filters. Does it need to be running? If not, consider turning it off for a while. Always aim to improve your habits and to acquire energy-saver appliances. Also, consider that you are still allowed to hire a better energy provider in case the current one is not the best fit regarding your lifestyle. For instance, there are plenty of options when it comes to the most suitable electric companies in dallas.

3. Track Energy Usage

You can get apps that report energy usage in your home. These apps can tap into your smart meter and tell you which appliances are consuming the most energy. If you can’t cut back on energy usage, you could get advice on how to shift energy usage in order to reduce your electric bill.

For example, running the clothes dryer at night may allow you to get utility discounts. One of the advantages of hydroelectric energy is that despite facing daily and seasonal variations, utility companies will still provide discounts when the demand for power is lower.

Set up the dishwasher to run a heavy load when you go to bed, and the cost per kilowatt maybe a third of what you’d pay if it ran during the day. You may also find that the AC is running heavily during the hottest part of the day.

Could you alter the thermal profile of your home so that it uses less energy while keeping you comfortable, such as not trying to keep the house at 65 when you’re at work? If you cannot get the house comfortable without the AC running full blast all the time, you may need to have the air conditioner repaired or replaced with a more powerful unit.

4. Check for Leaks

If you’ve ever heard the joke that you’re not heating the neighborhood, recognize that there is an element of truth to that joke. When you leave the door open while you’re bringing in groceries or getting the mail, you’re wasting the energy used to heat or cool that air. Gaps in your window frame and window stripping cost you the same way.

Leaks in your hot water heater waste both water and the energy used to heat it. Look for water leaks when you suspect them, too. Not only does this damage the structure of your home and wastewater, but damp insulation has a fraction of the thermal value of dry insulation. This is how a water leak could be contributing to your higher energy bills.

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your energy bills and water bills without radically changing your lifestyle. Then you’ll be able to save the Earth’s resources and money at the same time. It is truly a win-win for everyone.

Description of a Biogas Power Plant

A biogas plant is a decentralized energy system, which can lead to self-sufficiency in heat and power needs, and at the same time reduces environmental pollution. The key components of a modern biogas power (or anaerobic digestion) plant include: manure collection, anaerobic digester, effluent treatment, biogas storage, and biogas use/electricity generating equipment.

anaerobic_digestion_plant

Working of a Biogas Plant

The fresh organic waste is stored in a collection tank before its processing to the homogenization tank which is equipped with a mixer to facilitate homogenization of the waste stream. The uniformly mixed waste is passed through a macerator to obtain uniform particle size of 5-10 mm and pumped into suitable-capacity anaerobic digester where stabilization of organic waste takes place.

In anaerobic digestion, organic material is converted to biogas by a series of bacteria groups into methane and carbon dioxide. The majority of commercially operating digesters are plug flow and complete-mix reactors operating at mesophilic temperatures. The type of digester used varies with the consistency and solids content of the feedstock, with capital investment factors and with the primary purpose of digestion.

Biogas Cleanup

Biogas contain significant amount of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas which needs to be stripped off due to its highly corrosive nature. The removal of H2S takes place in a biological desulphurization unit in which a limited quantity of air is added to biogas in the presence of specialized aerobic bacteria which oxidizes H2S into elemental sulfur.

Utilization of Biogas

Biogas is dried and vented into a CHP unit to a generator to produce electricity and heat. The size of the CHP system depends on the amount of biogas produced daily.

Treatment of Digestate

The digested substrate is passed through screw presses for dewatering and then subjected to solar drying and conditioning to give high-quality organic fertilizer.  The press water is treated in an effluent treatment plant based on activated sludge process which consists of an aeration tank and a secondary clarifier. The treated wastewater is recycled to meet in-house plant requirements.

Monitoring of Environmental Parameters

A chemical laboratory is necessary to continuously monitor important environmental parameters such as BOD, COD, VFA, pH, ammonia, C:N ratio at different locations for efficient and proper functioning of the process.

Control System

The continuous monitoring of the biogas plant is achieved by using a remote control system such as Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. This remote system facilitates immediate feedback and adjustment, which can result in energy savings.

Generating Electricity from Municipal Solid Waste

We live in a throwaway society that accumulates vast quantities of waste every day. While this comes with pressing challenges, there are also opportunities for professionals including electrical engineers to process at least some of the waste to produce much-needed renewable energy.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2018 a total of 68 U.S. power plants generated around 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity from 29.5 million tons of combustible municipal solid waste (MSW). Biomass, which comes from plants and animals and is a source of renewable energy, was responsible for more than half (about 51%) of the electricity generated from waste. It also accounted for about 64% of the weight of the MSW used. The rest of the waste used was from other combustible materials including synthetic materials made from petroleum and plastics. Glass and metal are generally not noncombustible.

WTE_Plant_Belgium

Waste-to-Energy is now widely accepted as a part of sustainable waste management strategy.

Municipal Solid Waste in the U.S.

Burning MSW is not only a sustainable way to produce electricity, it also reduces the volume of waste that would inevitably end up in landfills. Instead, the EIA estimates that burning MSW effectively reduces waste volumes by about 87%.

But, while more than 268 million tons of MSW are generated in the United States every year, in 2017, only 12.7% of it was burned to recover energy. More than half (52.1%) went to landfill, about a quarter (25.1%) was recycled, and the rest (10.1%) was used to generate compost.

According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fact sheet on sustainable materials management published in November 2019, the total MSW generated in 2017 by material, comprised:

  • Paper and paperboard, primarily containers and packaging 25%
  • Food 15.2% (see below)
  • Plastics 13.2% (19.2% of the total materials that ended up in landfill were plastics)
  • Yard trimmings 13.1% (most of this type of waste is composted)
  • Rubber, leather and textiles 9.7%
  • Metals 9.4%
  • Wood 6.7%
  • Glass 4.2%
  • Other 3.5%

Indicating tremendous human waste in its worst form, 22% of the material that ended up in landfill was classified as food. Trashed food was also the product category with the highest landfill rate, at an alarming 75.3%. Nearly a quarter (22%) of materials that were combusted with energy recovery were food, and overall, food was also the highest product category to recover energy, with a rate of 18.4%.

The total MSW combusted to generate energy was made up of the following materials:

  • Food 22%
  • Plastics 16.4%
  • Rubber, leather, and textiles 16.1%
  • Paper and paperboard 13.2%
  • Wood 8.4%
  • Metals 8.6%
  • Yard trimmings 6.2%
  • Glass 4.3%
  • Other 4.3%

Generating Electricity from MSW

There are a variety of technologies for generating electricity from municipal solid waste, but in the US the most common system involves mass burning of MSW in a large incinerator that has a boiler that produces steam, and a generator that produces electricity. Another entails processing MSW into fuel pellets for use in smaller power plants.

Waste materials destined to be processed to generate electricity

Generating electricity in mass-burn WTE plants is remarkably straightforward and follows seven basic steps:

  1. The MSW is dumped out of garbage trucks into a large pit.
  2. A crane with a giant claw attachment is used to grab the waste and dump it into a combustion chamber.
  3. The waste, which now becomes the fuel, starts to burn, releasing heat.
  4. The heat that is released turns water in the boiler into high-pressure steam.
  5. The steam turns the turbine generator’s blades and produces electricity.
  6. The mass-burn plant incorporates an control system to prevent air pollution by removing pollutants from the combustion gas before it is released through a smoke-stack.
  7. Ash is inevitably produced in the boiler and the air pollution control system, and this has to be removed before another load of waste can be burned.

While the volumes burned as fuel in different plants vary, for every 100 pounds of MSW produced in the US, potentially, more than 85 pounds could be burned to generate electricity.

Of course, the USA isn’t the only country that uses waste-to-energy plants to generate electricity from MSW. And in fact, when compared to a lot of other countries, the percentage of MSW burned with energy recovery in the U.S. is minimal. At least nine countries are named by the EIA as bigger producers of electricity from municipal waste. In Japan and some European countries, for instance, there are fewer energy resources and not much open space available for landfills. So generating electricity from MSW is an obvious opportunity.

The four leading nations identified by the EIA as burning the most MSW with energy recovery are:

  • Japan 68%
  • Norway 54%
  • Switzerland 48%
  • France 35%
  • The United Kingdom 34%

One thing’s for certain, the percentages are all set to continue increases globally as the move towards sustainability gains momentum. And U.S. percentages are going to increase too.

Use of PKS in Circulating Fluidized Bed Power Plants

Palm kernel shells are widely used in fluidized bed combustion-based power plants in Japan and South Korea. The key advantages of fluidized bed combustion (FBC) technology are higher fuel flexibility, high efficiency and relatively low combustion temperature. FBC technology, which can either be bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) or circulating fluidized bed (CFB), is suitable for plant capacities above 20 MW. Palm kernel shells (PKS) is more suitable for CFB-based power plant because its size is less than 4 cm.

palm-kernel-shell-uses

Palm kernel shells is an abundant biomass resource in Southeast Asia

With relatively low operating temperature of around 650 – 900 oC, the ash problem can be minimized. Certain biomass fuels have high ash levels and ash-forming materials that can potentially damage these generating units.

In addition, the fuel cleanliness factor is also important as certain impurities, such as metals, can block the air pores on the perforated plate of FBC unit. It is to be noted that air, especially oxygen, is essential for the biomass combustion process and for keeping the fuel bed in fluidized condition.

The requirements for clean fuel must be met by the provider or seller of the biomass fuel. Usually the purchasers require an acceptable amount of impurities (contaminants) of less than 1%. Cleaning of PKS is done by sifting (screening) which may either be manual or mechanical.

In addition to PKS, biomass pellets from agricultural wastes or agro-industrial wastes, such as EFB pellets which have a high ash content and low melting point, can also be used in CFB-based power plants. More specifically, CFBs are more efficient and emit less flue gas than BFBs.

The disadvantages of CFB power plant is the high concentration of the flue gas which demands high degree of efficiency of the dust precipitator and the boiler cleaning system. In addition, the bed material is lost alongwith ash and has to be replenished regularly.

A large-scale biomass power plant in Japan

The commonly used bed materials are silica sand and dolomite. To reduce operating costs, bed material is usually reused after separation of ash. The technique is that the ash mixture is separated from a large size material with fine particles and silica sand in a water classifier. Next the fine material is returned to the bed.

Currently power plants in Japan that have an efficiency of more than 41% are only based on ultra supercritical pulverized coal. Modification of power plants can also be done to improve the efficiency, which require more investments. The existing CFB power plants are driving up the need to use more and more PKS in Japan for biomass power generation without significant plant modifications.

5 Solar Panel Facts You Might Not Know

Over the last decade, it seems that the cost of electricity has risen in most areas. This is one of the reasons why so many people are getting solar energy systems installed in their homes. Due to its rise in popularity, we have seen prices for solar panels and other equipment needed to make your home more eco-friendly decrease.

Because solar energy is still fairly new technology, many people still know very little about the industry. To help you out, we have compiled a few interesting facts about solar panels which you might find interesting.

As the industry grows, you will probably be hearing much more about solar panels and the benefits of using this eco-friendly method to provide energy for your home. Below are solar panel FAQs to remember:

solar-energy-diy

 

1. The First Solar Panel Cell was Discovered in 1941

Although it seems like solar panels have only been around for the last few decades, the world’s first solar panel cell was invented by Russell Ohl in 1941. Shortly after the invention of the first solar panel cell was invented, Bell Laboratories came up with the world’s first commercial panel in 1954.

Although it seems we are still at the stone age of solar power, photovoltaic (the conversion of light into electricity) was discovered by French scientist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel in 1839.

2. In the Long Run, Solar Power can help Save you Money

Although the initial cost of installing a solar system in your home might be frightening, the overall running cost of the system can save you a lot of money. Although prices of installation and equipment are becoming more affordable, it still is expensive for the average household.

However, try to keep in mind that you won’t ever have to pay to heat or cool down your house again (assuming your solar panels power system can provide enough energy throughout the year for your home). The average household spends $1,300 annually on their electricity bill.

Throughout the world, it seems more and more governments are trying to encourage homeowners and business owners to invest in solar panels. Lots of governments have offered people incentives and tax breaks in the hope that the number of households using this eco-friendly method will increase. In some states in America, people who purchase solar panels are eligible for a 30% tax break. Also, some states allow those who own solar power to sell their excess energy, so they can make some profit from their system.

3. A Communal Effort

Community solar systems are becoming more common these days. Instead of just having an individual solar system in your home, more communities are investing in community solar systems instead.

Over the last 15 years or so, instead of each household having individual systems installed, whole communities are getting together and investing in a system that will provide energy for the entire community. If you are considering making your home more eco-friendly, why not speak to others in your community to see if everybody on the block is interested in getting a communal solar system installed instead?

what-is-community-solar

4. The Industry is Growing Extremely Fast

Between 2018 and 2010, the number of households and businesses having solar power installed in their buildings grew 23 times in the United States. Solar power is not only becoming more appealing to homeowners in the United States, but it seems like people all over the world are deciding to go green and install solar power systems into their homes.

China uses more solar power than any other country on the planet. The Chinese government has been offering the residents of the country plenty of incentives that has resulted in many people installing a solar power system in their home.

If you are thinking about installing a solar power system inside your home, check out Solar Panels Network USA for more information. If you are still on the fence about joining the solar power movement, ask them for advice.

5. Maintaining a Solar Power System

Maintaining your solar power system tends to be fairly cheap too. In fact, once the system is fully installed there is actually very little maintenance needed. Apart from cleaning the panels now and again, and making sure that it’s getting sunlight and not shaded, it should work smoothly. You may have to trim some trees at times but that’s about it.

solar-panels-pigeon-issue

Most solar panels have been installed on a tilted roof, so when the rain hits it will clean any dust and dirt from the panel so you won’t have to clean it too often.

Most solar power system suppliers offer 25 year warranty, but it is not too uncommon to see a quality solar power system last for 40 years. If your system does manage to last for that length of time, you can imagine how much money you will save on electricity.

Combined Heat and Power Systems in Biomass Industry

Combined heat and power systems in the biomass industry means the simultaneous generation of multiple forms of useful energy (usually mechanical and thermal) from biomass resources in a single, integrated system. In a conventional electricity generation systems, about 35% of the energy potential contained in the fuel is converted on average into electricity, whilst the rest is lost as waste heat. CHP systems use both electricity and heat and therefore can achieve an efficiency of up to 90%.

CHP technologies are well suited for sustainable development projects because they are socio-economically attractive and technologically mature and reliable. In developing countries, cogeneration can easily be integrated in many industries, especially agriculture and food processing, taking advantage of the biomass residues of the production process. This has the dual benefits of lowering fuel costs and solving waste disposal issues.

CHP systems consist of a number of individual components—prime mover (heat engine), generator, heat recovery, and electrical interconnection—configured into an integrated whole. Prime movers for CHP units include reciprocating engines, combustion or gas turbines, steam turbines, microturbines, and fuel cells. A typical CHP system provides:

  • Distributed generation of electrical and/or mechanical power.
  • Waste-heat recovery for heating, cooling, or process applications.
  • Seamless system integration for a variety of technologies, thermal applications, and fuel types.

The success of any biomass-fuelled CHP project is heavily dependent on the availability of a suitable biomass feedstock freely available in urban and rural areas.

Rural Resources Urban Resources
Forest residues Urban wood waste
Wood wastes Municipal solid wastes
Crop residues Agro-industrial wastes
Energy crops Food processing residues
Animal manure Sewage

Technology Options

Reciprocating or internal combustion engines (ICEs) are among the most widely used prime movers to power small electricity generators. Advantages include large variations in the size range available, fast start-up, good efficiencies under partial load efficiency, reliability, and long life.

Steam turbines are the most commonly employed prime movers for large power outputs. Steam at lower pressure is extracted from the steam turbine and used directly or is converted to other forms of thermal energy. System efficiencies can vary between 15 and 35% depending on the steam parameters.

Co-firing of biomass with coal and other fossil fuels can provide a short-term, low-risk, low-cost option for producing renewable energy while simultaneously reducing the use of fossil fuels. Biomass can typically provide between 3 and 15 percent of the input energy into the power plant. Most forms of biomass are suitable for co-firing.

Steam engines are also proven technology but suited mainly for constant speed operation in industrial environments. Steam engines are available in different sizes ranging from a few kW to more than 1 MWe.

A gas turbine system requires landfill gas, biogas, or a biomass gasifier to produce the gas for the turbine. This biogas must be carefully filtered of particulate matter to avoid damaging the blades of the gas turbine.

Stirling engines utilize any source of heat provided that it is of sufficiently high temperature. A wide variety of heat sources can be used but the Stirling engine is particularly well-suited to biomass fuels. Stirling engines are available in the 0.5 to 150 kWe range and a number of companies are working on its further development.

A micro-turbine recovers part of the exhaust heat for preheating the combustion air and hence increases overall efficiency to around 20-30%. Several competing manufacturers are developing units in the 25-250kWe range. Advantages of micro-turbines include compact and light weight design, a fairly wide size range due to modularity, and low noise levels.

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices in which hydrogen-rich fuel produces heat and power. Hydrogen can be produced from a wide range of renewable and non-renewable sources. A future high temperature fuel cell burning biomass might be able to achieve greater than 50% efficiency.

The Impact of Clogged Air Filters On HVAC Energy Consumption

As soon as the chill begins to set in with fall, the need for indoor heating starts to push electricity bills up significantly with each passing month. This continues until winter finally arrives and skyrockets electricity bills to ridiculous amounts. This is pretty much what happens in summer too if you happen to live in Texas, Florida or any of the other hot states.

In both situations though, it’s the HVAC system that consumes all the energy, which is not exactly unexpected. What most of us don’t realize is that it’s most likely those clogged air filters that are making the HVAC waste more energy than it should need. Let’s talk about the impact of clogged air filters on HVAC energy consumption

How Do Clogged Filters Affect Your HVAC System?

Before we can discuss how clogged filters affect electricity bills, it is important to understand how clogged filters affect HVAC units in the first place.

The role of an air filter is simple enough; it stops as much of the air impurities as possible from entering and circulating in the indoor environment. After a while, all that dirt, dust, debris, etc., that the filter prevented from getting in begins to congeal together, slowly closing off the airways.

Once the accumulated gunk becomes heavy enough, the HVAC system has to work extra hard to push air past these narrow airways. This is where the problem lies, as a number of negative effects from the increased exertion and dirty filters are seen.

The Effects of Extra Load on HVAC Units

Given that an HVAC system isn’t equipped to handle all that extra load on a regular basis, a number of negative impacts are seen as a result of clogged air filters.

  • The unit begins to consume more power, to be able to push air past the dirty air filters
  • The increased power consumption becomes evident, as energy bills surge in direct proportion
  • Excess load decreases the potential lifetime of an HVAC unit
  • The heat exchange mechanism can overheat and short-circuit
  • The cooling coil may freeze in absence of sufficient airflow for dissipating condensation during summer
  • Breakdowns become more common, further adding to the maintenance expenses
  • Both the heating and cooling capacities of the unit suffers; slower and less effective heating/cooling
  • Since the air is pushed through the gunk with force, it circulates all the dispersed pollutants throughout the house

How to Know When Your HVAC System Needs a Filter Change?

Some of the signs are pretty obvious, but you should act before they become too obvious and your unit breaks down in the middle of January! It can get a little costly to change air filters on a regular basis for sure, so try to get them from discountfilterstore.com.

Go through the following and it should provide a decent guide towards detecting the need for a HVAC filter change before the problems get too serious.

  • It has been more than three months since your last filter change
  • The filters are starting to look grey or develop spots
  • Increase in indoor dust accumulation
  • Increase in allergic reactions such as sneezing, skin rashes, etc.
  • Heating/cooling seems to be taking a lot longer than expected
  • Heating/cooling isn’t as effective as before

Air filters serve the vital function of keeping the indoor environment fresh and healthy for everyone, but those same filters can also become the cause for health and financial problems unless they are changed in time. As long as you keep track of the change cycle though, none of what we discussed should be a cause for concern.

Biomass Resources from Rice Industry

The cultivation of rice results in two major types of biomass wastes – Straw and Husk –having attractive potential in terms of biomass energy. Although the technology for rice husk utilization is well-proven in industrialized countries of Europe and North America, such technologies are yet to be introduced in the developing world on commercial scale.

Rice-Biomass

The importance of Rice Husk and Rice Straw as an attractive source of energy can be gauged from the following statistics:

Rice Straw

  • 1 ton of Rice paddy produces 290 kg Rice Straw
  • 290 kg Rice Straw can produce 100 kWh of power
  • Calorific value = 2400 kcal/kg

Rice Husk

  • 1 ton of Rice paddy produces 220 kg Rice Husk
  • 1 ton Rice Husk is equivalent to 410- 570 kWh electricity
  • Calorific value = 3000 kcal/kg
  • Moisture content = 5 – 12%

Rice husk is the most prolific agricultural residue in rice producing countries around the world. It is one of the major by-products from the rice milling process and constitutes about 20% of paddy by weight. Rice husk, which consists mainly of lingo-cellulose and silica, is not utilized to any significant extent and has great potential as an energy source.

Rice husk can be used for power generation through either the steam or gasification route. For small scale power generation, the gasification route has attracted more attention as a small steam power plant is very inefficient and is very difficult to maintain due to the presence of a boiler. In addition for rice mills with diesel engines, the gas produced from rice husk can be used in the existing engine in a dual fuel operation.

The benefits of using rice husk conversion technology are numerous. Primarily, it provides electricity and serves as a way to dispose of agricultural waste. In addition, steam, a byproduct of power generation, can be used for paddy drying applications, thereby increasing local incomes and reducing the need to import fossil fuels. Rice husk ash, the byproduct of rice husk power plants, can be used in the cement and steel industries further decreasing the need to import these materials.

Rice straw can either be used alone or mixed with other biomass materials in direct combustion. In this technology, combustion boilers are used in combination with steam turbines to produce electricity and heat. The energy content of rice straw is around 14 MJ per kg at 10 percent moisture content.  The by-products are fly ash and bottom ash, which have an economic value and could be used in cement and/or brick manufacturing, construction of roads and embankments, etc.

Straw fuels have proved to be extremely difficult to burn in most combustion furnaces, especially those designed for power generation. The primary issue concerning the use of rice straw and other herbaceous biomass for power generation is fouling, slagging, and corrosion of the boiler due to alkaline and chlorine components in the ash. Europe, and in particular, Denmark, currently has the greatest experience with straw fired power and CHP plants.

Your Choices for Alternative Energy

While using alternative sources of energy is a right way for you to save money on your heating and cooling bills, it also allows you to contribute in vital ways to both the environment and the economy.  Renewable energy sources are renewable, environmentally sustainable sources that do not create any by-products that are released into the atmosphere like coal and fossil fuels do.

Burning coal to produce electricity releases particulates and substances such as mercury, arsenic, sulfur and carbon monoxide into the air, all of which can cause health problems in humans.

Other by-products from burning coal are acid rain, sludge run-off and heated water that is released back into the rivers and lakes nearby the coal-fired plants.  While efforts are being made to create “clean coal,” businesses have been reluctant to use the technology due to the high costs associated with changing their plants.

If you are considering taking the plunge and switching to a renewable energy source to save money on your electric and heating bills or to help the environment, you have a lot of decisions to make. The first decision you need to make is which energy source to use in your home or business.  Do you want to switch to solar energy, wind power, biomass energy or geothermal energy?

Emissions from homes using heating oil, vehicles, and electricity produced from fossil fuels also pollute the air and contribute to the number of greenhouse gases that are in the atmosphere and depleting the ozone layer.  Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that is released into the air by the burning of fossil fuels to create energy and in the use of motor vehicles.  Neither coal nor fossil fuels are sources of renewable energy.

Replacing those energy sources with solar, biomass, geothermal or wind-powered generators will allow homes and businesses to have an adequate source of energy always at hand.  While converting to these systems can sometimes be expensive, the costs are quickly coming down, and they pay for themselves in just a few short years because they supply energy that is virtually free.  In some cases, the excess energy they create can be bought from the business or the homeowner.

While there are more than these three alternative energy options, these are the easiest to implement on an individual basis.  Other sources of alternative energy, for instance, nuclear power, hydroelectric power, and natural gas require a primary power source for the heat so it can be fed to your home or business.  Solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy can all have power sources in your home or business to supply your needs.

1. Solar Energy

Solar power is probably the most widely used source of these options.  While it can be expensive to convert your home or business over to solar energy, or to an alternative energy source for that matter, it is probably the most natural source to turn over to.

You can use the sun’s energy to power your home or business and heat water.  It can be used to passively heat or light up your rooms as well just by opening up your shades.

2. Wind Power

You need your wind turbine to power your home or office, but wind energy has been used for centuries to pump water or for commercial purposes, like grinding grain into flour.  While many countries have wind farms to produce energy on a full-scale basis, you can have your wind turbine at home or at your business to provide electricity for your purposes.

The cost of alternative energy systems has dropped sharply in recent years

3. Biomass Energy

Biomass energy has rapidly become a vital part of the global renewable energy mix and account for an ever-growing share of electric capacity added worldwide. Biomass is the material derived from plants that use sunlight to grow which include plant and animal material such as wood from forests, material left over from agricultural and forestry processes, and organic industrial, human and animal wastes.

Biomass comes from a variety of sources which include wood from natural forests and woodlands, agricultural residues, agro-industrial wastes, animal wastes, industrial wastewater, municipal sewage and municipal solid wastes.

4. Geothermal Energy

A geothermal heat pump helps cool or heat your home or office using the earth’s heat to provide the power needed to heat the liquid that is run through the system to either heat your home in the winter or cool it off in the summer.  While many people use it, it doesn’t provide electricity, so you still need an energy source for that.