Water Saving Tips for Schools and Colleges

Like all large organizations, schools and colleges need to examine their environmental impact. In addition to energy usage and waste management, water use is another critical area of environmental health for schools and colleges.

With regards to the climate crisis, children and young adults are amongst the loudest voices. Many grassroots campaigns have resulted in the successful lobbying of institutions to change damaging practices. These include divesting from fossil fuel companies and halting research that supports the oil and gas industry. Here are some of our best water saving tips in an educational setting:

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For an essay writer, the climate crisis is a subject rich in content. Opening up the debate around school or college policy to students is an excellent way to generate ideas. They’ll outnumber those suggested in this article by 10-to-1. Make sure to tap the young minds at your disposal.

When it comes to your institution’s infrastructure, there are many different kinds of alterations and fixes. Retrofitting aspects of the building’s plumbing is a far easier task than a complete overhaul. These fixes use both high- and low-tech solutions.

Some of the most effective technological fixes are incredibly simple. One of many ingenious toilet water saving tips is the flush bag, a plastic bag that absorbs water. The bag goes into the toilet cistern, which’s the sizable boxy bit at the back of a toilet. When the toilet is flushed, the bag expands and takes up space that would have previously been occupied by water. This space displacement will save roughly one-liter of water per flush, other size bags can reduce  more space, but it is a matter of balancing function and environmental favor.

Flush bags illustrate a pertinent point;  when dealing with large numbers of individuals, incremental changes add up to a large percentage. If you can save 1,000 liters of water per day, the reduction becomes significant over an academic year. Little and often should be the water-saving motto of your school.

Other excellent marginal gains devices include sensor-activated taps; to prevent accidental (or intentional) tap-running. The tap flow rate in the US is generally very high. Adaptors exist, which will reduce the flow rate and thus save gallons of water.  Another thing to note is that our existing infrastructure has always put human needs first; there is a lot of slack in the system.

‘The system’ leads us to the next tip. Think for the future when planning your school’s re-development. Ideas to make a school carbon neutral, or even carbon positive, must include water usage, not just energy usage. Water does not miraculously flow. Some sort of connection to the energy grid is essential.

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Schools and colleges can look for renewable energy providers who service their area. Swapping energy providers may be simple, or there could be legal obstacles; it depends on the type of school or college.

For those with a hefty endowment, taking energy generation in-house is one option. Generating a self-reliant water source is hard and not on the list of priorities for most institutions. Who has a natural spring sitting on the grounds these days? However, in the years to come, water desalination plants could become much more affordable and offer locally available water to the area, not just the institution.

One place that needs water saving tips is California. The state has suffered dramatic and devastating wildfires evermore frequently in recent years, making news the world over. In areas that are prone to wildfires like this, water is of deep concern. They’re running out. Schools, colleges, and the entire state have to reduce their demand. Reducing this demand will only become more critical, familiar, and necessary in the coming years.

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Schools and universities can lead the way on this front. They’re able to set their own rules and develop sound practices in their students while they’re at it. Education is just as important as technological fixes; ensuring water doesn’t get wasted is as much about bringing together the team as it is stuffing bags in toilets.

Embodied carbon is the amount of carbon it took for an object to be made or to function. Embodied water is not just the fact that you’re 90% h2o; it’s the amount of freshwater affected or used to create a material or maintenance of services.

It is easy to think about embodied water in food; wheat grown in the USA contains approximately 849 cubic meters of water per tonne. Understanding metrics such as these can help with long term planning. If your institution provides food, a thorough audit of your water use could suggest ways to alter the kitchen and the menu to reduce water consumption.

Saving water in schools and colleges is literally and metaphorically plugging a leaky pipe. The task is never really over as it is so complex and prone to faults and issues. That said, every institution can save water tomorrow if they implement some of the fixes covered in this article.

The Impact of Machine Learning on Renewable Energy

Machine learning, as well as its endgame, artificial intelligence, is proving its value in a wide variety of industries. Renewable energy is yet another sector that can benefit from machine learning’s smart data analysis, pattern recognition and other abilities. Here’s a look at why the two are a perfect match.

Predicting and Fine-Tuning Energy Production

One of the biggest misconceptions about solar power is that it’s only realistic in parts of the world known for year-round heat and intense sunshine. According to Google, around 80% of rooftops they’ve analyzed through their Sunroof mapping system “are technically viable for solar.” They define “viable” as having “enough unshaded area for solar panels.”

Even with this widespread viability, it’s useful to be able to predict and model the energy yield of a renewable energy project before work begins. This is where machine learning enters the equation.

Based on the season and time of day, machine learning can produce realistic and useful predictions for when a residence or building will be able to generate power and when it will have to draw power from the grid. This may prove even more useful over time as a budgeting tool as accuracy improves further. IBM says their forecasting system, powered by deep learning, can predict solar and wind yield up to 30 days in advance.

Machine learning also helps in the creation of solar installations with physical tracking systems, which intelligently follow the sun and angle the solar panels in order to maximize the amount of power they generate throughout the day.

Balancing the Smart Energy Grid

Predicting production is the first step in realizing other advantages of machine learning in clean energy. Next comes the construction of smart grids. A smart grid is a power delivery network that:

  • Is fully automated and requires little human intervention over time
  • Monitors the energy generation of every node and the flow of power to each client
  • Provides two-way energy and data mobility between energy producers and clients

A smart grid isn’t a “nice to have” — it’s necessary. The “traditional” approach to building energy grids doesn’t take into account the diversification of modern energy generation sources, including geothermal, wind, solar and hydroelectric. Tomorrow’s electric grid will feature thousands and millions of individual energy-generating nodes like solar-equipped homes and buildings. It will also, at least for a while, contain coal and natural gas power plants and homes powered by heating oil.

Machine learning provides an “intelligence” to sit at the heart of this diversified energy grid to balance supply and demand. In a smart grid, each energy producer and client is a node in the network, and each one produces a wealth of data that can help the entire system work together more harmoniously.

Together with energy yield predictions, machine learning can determine:

  • Where energy is needed most and where it is not
  • Where supply is booming and where it’s likely to fall short
  • Where blackouts are happening and where they are likely
  • When to supplement supplies by activating additional energy-generating infrastructure

Putting machine learning in the mix can also yield insights and actionable takeaways based on a client’s energy usage. Advanced metering tools help pinpoint which processes or appliances are drawing more power than they should. This helps energy clients make equipment upgrades and other changes to improve their own energy efficiency and further balance demand across the grid.

Automating Commercial and Residential Systems

The ability to re-balance the energy grid and respond more quickly to blackouts cannot be undersold. But machine learning is an ideal companion to renewable energy on the individual level as well. Machine learning is the underlying technology behind smart thermostats and automated climate control and lighting systems.

Achieving a sustainable future means we have to electrify everything and cut the fossil fuels cord once and for all. Electrifying everything means we need to make renewable energy products more accessible. More accessible renewable energy products means we need to make commercial and residential locations more energy-efficient than ever.

Machine learning gives us thermostats, lighting, and other products that learn from user preferences and patterns and fine-tune their own operation automatically. Smart home and automation products like these might seem like gimmicks at first, but they’re actually an incredibly important part of our renewable future. They help ensure we’re not burning through our generated power, renewable or otherwise, when we don’t need to be.

Bottom Line

To summarize all this, machine learning offers a way to analyze and draw actionable conclusions from energy sector data. It brings other gifts, too. Inspections powered by machine learning are substantially more accurate than inspections performed by hand, which is critical for timely maintenance and avoiding downtime at power-generating facilities.

Machine learning also helps us predict and identify factors that could result in blackouts and respond more quickly (and with pinpoint accuracy) to storm damage.

Given that the demand for energy is only expected to rise across the globe in the coming years, now is an ideal time to use every tool at our disposal to make our energy grids more resilient, productive and cost-effective. Machine learning provides the means to do it.

4 Ways to Make Your Next Home Greener

There is a huge spotlight on the construction industry when it comes to green initiatives – and rightly so. After all, this is one of the biggest contributors to all of the sustainable problems that the world faces. However, this increased focus does prompt some problems. It can make some people believe that going green in the home is out of the question – and is only going to be achieved through some really costly implementations.

Granted, there are some major infrastructure projects you can invest in if you are building a home, with solar power and ground source heat pumps tending to grab the headlines. At the same time, there are smaller wins – and these shouldn’t be underestimated, such as solid wood flooring. In fact, if everyone was to invest in these, we’d suggest that the typical carbon footprint across cities such as San Diego would drop substantially.

Taking this into account, let’s now take a look at some of the quick, green wins you can succeed with as you bid to make your next home greener and more sustainable.

1. It starts with the placement of your windows

As we work with our architect in the initial design phase of our project, many of us are more concerned about the size of our bedrooms and so on.

A common afterthought is the placement of windows. Sure, some people might think about this as they consider natural light implications – but it’s time to think bigger.

Let’s not forget that as well as allowing rooms to heat naturally, windows are something that lets warm air escape. It means that their position is crucial, and treating them as an afterthought is asking for a completely inefficient dwelling.

2. Never forget insulation

In some ways, we were almost tempted not to include this next point. After all, insulation is an old classic when it comes to energy efficiency. It is something that has been suggested for years, mainly because it is incredibly cheap to implement whilst also being very effective.

Of course, it’s always easier to install insulation during the early phases of a project. Try and remember to focus on the roof and walls; this is where most of your heat is lost and is where you can make the biggest difference.

3. It’s not just about energy; think water as well

A lot of today’s guide has looked at energy, and rightly so. We are also going to dip into a point about water consumption, though.

This is something that often gets forgotten about, but the benefits are substantial. A lot of older, traditional bathroom fittings are anything but efficient – they deliver water at a ridiculous rate, and ultimately waste it.

If you turn to modern-day solutions, you’ll find that you can save gallons every year. Suffice to say, this isn’t just going to benefit your environment, but your pocket as well.

4. Your roof is crucial

Finally, if there was just one area of your next home to concentrate on, your roof should be up there as a priority. Nowadays, there are all sorts of materials that can help your plight. For example, for those of you who reside in hot countries, you can turn to roofs with reflective paint to deal with the heat somewhat. Green roofs are another solution which are surging in popularity but in truth, the list could go on.

Recommended Green Resources:

3 Ways to Make the Most of Your AC Unit

Without a doubt, one of the reasons why so many homeowners are hesitant about the use of their air conditioning unit is due to the potential spike in the utility bills. While it is understandable to want to save money on an AC unit, it makes no sense to have an AC and never use it. It can be challenging to be comfortable in a warmer climate without the help of air conditioning, but a rising utility bill should not deter you from using it when you want to.

That said, there are some ways to help ensure that you are making the most of the AC unit you have. While services such as Elite AC Repair Austin are there for the more severe issues that can pop up, here are a few methods to help you save money by treating your AC unit right.

1. How you handle the ventilation in your home can make all the difference

For example, there are plenty of houses with furniture that ends up blocking the vents, stopping air from effectively moving freely around the home. While it might not be such a big deal, when you are trying to utilize your AC unit to cool things down, it can result in an uneven experience. Before starting, it would be a good idea to check and ensure that the vents in your house are not blocked or clogged in any way.

2. Purposefully blocking ventilation can have its advantages

Once you are confident that everything is in order, there is still the question of which vents to block when the AC is on. After all, there are areas of the home that do not need to be cooled down – such as the basement. By blocking the ventilation in certain areas, you can cool other rooms much faster and save money at the same time.

3. Understand exactly when to have your AC serviced

There are plenty of situations where it seems like the best course of action would be to use a service such as eliteaustinac.com. That said, understanding which situations merit the intervention of a professional can save you plenty of money in the long run. For example, a leak might not be so bad, but it could end up leading to mold as time goes on, eventually turning into a health hazard for you and your family.

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There is also the issue of odd smells, as well as the lack of cold air. If you want to save money, it would be a good idea to have your unit serviced by an expert as soon as possible.

Aside from the tips above, ensure that you keep the condenser clean by washing it with a garden hose every now and then. If you are curious about where to find quality AC units, Trane can help provide you with the best air conditioning units around. The tips above will help you save money while simultaneously giving your AC the treatment it deserves!

Bajada New Energy: Powering Homes and Businesses in Malta

We all know the world is experiencing an environmental crisis. The ice caps have melted, natural disasters are rampant and the ozone layer is so damaged that temperatures are rising at unprecedented rates. Luckily, there’s still something each of us can do to reverse some of this damage and hopefully prevent some of the worst symptoms of human-caused climate change from occurring.

Powering your home or business with solar, wind and other alternative energy sources is by far one of the most powerful and impactful ways in which you can reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to the earth’s recovery.

Solar energy is no longer as expensive as it once was, thanks to a growing number of companies that are improving the technology while increasing supply. One such company is Bajada New Energy.

About Bajada New Energy

Bajada has been providing renewable energy resources in Malta for almost 30 years. This homegrown company has built a reputation as a reliable supplier of solar heaters, ET solar panels, photovoltaic panels, wind turbines and so much more. The company started out by importing Australian solar water heaters from the Edwards brand and has since grown into a full-scale alternative energy supplier.

What makes Bajada New Energy unique?

Bajada is made up of a network of mechanical and electric engineers, civil engineers, architects, qualified installers and licensed electricians. As such, the company offers a comprehensive service which includes providing the product as well as the installation.

Bajada also boasts an impeccable track record. To date, they’ve installed over 12, 000 solar water heaters (and counting!) and 4 megawatts worth of Photovoltaic Systems.

They have decades of experience in the industry which is why they’re considered a leading supplier of renewable energy products and services in all of Malta.

Products

Bajada New Energy specializes in a wide array of alternative energy solutions, including:

  • PV Panels from some of the world’s leading brands. The PV system offered by Bajada includes a meter, an inverter, wiring, a support structure, solar panels and everything in between. It’s a complete system that doesn’t require you to purchase any separate “extras”.
  • Solar water heaters proudly made in Malta and can generate heat using the sun’s energy. These heaters can reduce your water heating bill by up to 80%!
  • Air conditioners: Thanks to solar powered Bajada Air Conditioning, keeping your office or home cool doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. This air conditioning system not only cools down the temperature but can purify the air as well.
  • Heating products from Bajada include underfloor heating, infrared heating mirrors and heated carpets, all eco-friendly and backed by a generous warranty.
  • Water filtration systems: Bajada offers water softeners, filter cans, and even a Dropson escaper which can soften salt water. There’s also a 5 & 7 Stage Reverse Osmosis Systems that sterilizes water for cooking, drinking and watering your plants.
  • Voltage optimizer: This device is designed to ensure that your appliances operate efficiently while preventing them from overheating. This means the Voltage optimizer can prolong the lifespan of your electrical appliances while reducing your home’s overall energy consumption.

It’s worth noting that each of Bajada’s products are available in a wide array of packages to suit different needs and budgets. They’re also backed by generous warranties and guaranteed installation by experienced professionals.

Benefits of Bajada New Energy

Bajada offers tailored solutions through a simple, three-step process that begins with a quotation request. Here, you’ll provide them with your details, preferred package and product brand.

Next, you’ll place an order and make installation arrangements. Lastly, Bajada will deliver and install your renewable energy system. It’s as easy as that!

The Verdict

Switching to renewable energy can seem daunting and incredibly intimidating. But, Bajada New Energy is committed to simplifying this process by providing energy efficient and cost-effective power solutions that are kind to the environment and light on your pocket.

They offer a one-stop-shop for all things alternative energy, not to mention innovative product packages.

It’s really easy to work with them and theirs is a complete service offering.

How to Become More Energy-Efficient at Work?

Nowadays, smart business owners are taking steps towards making their company more efficient in every way. By establishing more efficient processes, these businesses are capable of getting more done in a shorter amount of time, and they’re also saving money along the way. But, beyond helping their employees perform better, business pros are also working on implementing tools and strategies for becoming increasingly more energy efficient so that their business can be greener and so that they can save money on their energy bill.

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If you are ready to take your basic eco-friendly office to the next level, keep reading for some helpful information on how to become more energy efficient at work.

1. Make the Switch to Laptops

Desktop computers that are always plugged in are always consuming some level of energy, even when they are turned off. Unless you have all of your electronics plugged into a power strip that is turned off at the end of every workday, those devices will continue draining energy, and you will see it on your energy bill. For this reason, a lot of businesses are opting to make the switch to using laptops rather than desktops.

Laptops only need to be plugged in when they are in need of a charge; the rest of the time, they use a built-in battery to function. This can help you save quite a bit of money on your energy bill, and it can also help you save much-needed space because laptops are smaller than desktop computers with separate monitors. This is one of the easiest ways to make your office more energy efficient, and your employees will likely welcome the change to laptops as well.

2. Purchase Products Having Energy Star Seal

Another way to save money on your energy bill while making your office more energy efficient is by switching to Energy Star appliances and office products that will use up far less energy than their counterparts. Properly dispose of old appliances, such as your office’s refrigerator and microwave, and replace them with Energy Star appliances so that you can start to save money and allocate it towards more important aspects of your day-to-day operations.

Beyond appliances, office products like printers, scanners, copiers, and computers can also come with the Energy Star seal, so be sure to stick with those as well. Because you use these products every day, and for hours on end, making the switch to energy efficient office equipment is wise.

3. Get Smart About Lighting

Another way to become more energy efficient at work is by focusing on the lighting throughout your office. It is important to replace outdated light bulbs that are less efficient than modern options. So, for example, you could replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, which do not contain the harmful mercury that compact fluorescent light bulbs contain. Beyond that, you can check to see if there are any light fixtures that you do not really need to have in place after all. Plus, simply turning the lights off when you leave a room can be a great way to save money really easily.

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You can even opt to install light fixtures that use sensors to determine when there are people in a room, thereby allowing the lights to turn on and off automatically. And, finally, whenever possible, take advantage of natural light during the day so that you can rely less upon artificial, energy-consuming light.

4. Keep Your Staff Comfortable, but Save Money Too

What temperature is your office thermostat currently set to? Do you think that you can maybe tweak the temperature a bit so that you could save money, while also keeping everyone comfortable? Many times, office thermostats are set at temperatures that end up costing the business a lot of money. Small changes in temperature can make a big difference in your energy savings, but your staff are not likely to notice the changes because they will still feel comfortable while they work.

To keep the workers productivity high enough, you should definitely keep your office warm with the minimum cost incurred. It is more reasonable to use the energy efficient radiators that enable you to control the heating easily from anywhere you want. For instance, you can use BestElectricRadiators to not spend much money and keep the heating as well as the productivity of the workers.

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For example, you can save money during the summer by setting the thermostat to 78-80°F. When the workday is over, you can allow the office to reach 80°F because no one will be there anyway, so you don’t need to bother keeping the air conditioner going. In the winter, on the other hand, you can keep your thermostat set anywhere from 65-68°F, and you can let it drop to 60°F overnight when no one is in the office. Go ahead and change the temperature setting by a degree or two for a month to see how much you can save.

Conclusion

It is pretty clear to see that it is very important to become more energy-efficient at work. The first step involves setting up an eco-friendly office. But, once you have set the foundation, you can go even further by becoming energy efficient for the planet and for your bottom line.

The Issues and Impact of Energy Storage Technology

Renewable energy has taken off. Wind and solar in particular had grown rapidly, since they can be installed on a small scale and connected to the grid. This has created a number of problems for utility companies while failing to deliver the promised benefits because energy storage technology has not caught up. Let’s look at some of the issues with renewable energy before explaining how advances in energy storage technology will ease these concerns.

The Instability of the Power Grid

The rapid growth of renewable power has added to the instability of the power grid. First, the introduction of many variable power sources forces utilities to deal with varying power supply relative to demand. Second, the relative lack of energy storage systems means there is far more wasted energy than before. When there is a spike in solar or wind power, they can’t store most of it for future usage. This adds to the instability and risk of failure of local portions of the power grid.

If we had more widespread, efficient energy storage, energy producers could save power above the expected power created locally instead of leaving power companies to turn on and off natural gas turbines to meet variation in demand. It would also eliminate the need to build natural gas turbines as backup power sources for when new renewable power sources aren’t meeting expectations.

The Lack of Backup Power

Solar power has long been a source of power for off-the-grid properties. However, this is dependent on having energy storage on site, typically batteries. Yet many solar roofs were set up to minimize cause and maximize tax credits to the detriment of home owners. We can look at the multiple disasters that hit California along with their wildfires. Utility companies couldn’t raise rates to pay for more fire-resistant infrastructure. They could be sued for any new wildfires blamed on the power equipment. The utility company’s only solution as to turn off power to areas that were burning or at risk of catching fire, if they didn’t want to be shut down entirely.

California has one of the highest rates of solar roof installations in the world. Unfortunately, most of those solar roofs were connected directly to the power grid, and the home owner receives power from the grid. This minimized how much equipment had to be installed while giving them the ability to sell power to the grid and get power from the grid. The problem is that they couldn’t get power from the grid when the power grid was shut down unless they paid several thousand dollars extra for renewable energy storage; note that less than two percent of customers did this. That hurt the broader power grid, as well, since solar roofs couldn’t deliver power to the power grid when the power grid was shut down.

The greatest irony was suffered by electric car owners. Imagine being told that you need to flee the wildfires, and all you have is an electric car that you can’t charge. A few homeowners made matters worse by tapping into their Tesla car battery to try to power their homes for a while, draining it dry.

Yet those few people with battery storage systems were fine. Their homes were wired in such a way that they could pull from the battery power when the power grid was down, assuming they were ever connected to the grid. They could continue to run their air conditioners and other appliances though no one else had power. For those that had solar roofs connected to the grid and energy storage systems, the grid being down means all of their power went into the battery. That energy wasn’t wasted, and the family could use it.

Biomass Cogeneration Systems

Biomass fuels are typically used most efficiently and beneficially when generating both power and heat through biomass cogeneration systems (also known as combined heat and power or CHP system). Biomass conversion technologies transform a variety of wastes into heat, electricity and biofuels by employing a host of strategies. Conversion routes are generally thermochemical or biochemical, but may also include chemical and physical.

The simplest way is to burn the biomass in a furnace, exploiting the heat generated to produce steam in a boiler, which is then used to drive a steam turbine. Advanced biomass conversion technologies include biomass integrated gasification combined cycle (BIGCC) systems, cofiring (with coal or gas), pyrolysis and second generation biofuels.

Biomass Cogeneration Systems

A typical biomass cogeneration (or biomass cogen) 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 into existing building infrastructure.

Biomass cogeneration systems consist of a number of individual components—prime mover (heat engine), generator, heat recovery, and electrical interconnection—configured into an integrated whole. The type of equipment that drives the overall system (i.e., the prime mover) typically identifies the CHP unit.

Prime Movers

Prime movers for biomass cogeneration units include reciprocating engines, combustion or gas turbines, steam turbines, microturbines, and fuel cells. These prime movers are capable of burning a variety of fuels, including natural gas, coal, oil, and alternative fuels to produce shaft power or mechanical energy.

Key Components

A biomass-fueled cogeneration facility is an integrated power system comprised of three major components:

  • Biomass receiving and feedstock preparation.
  • Energy conversion – Conversion of the biomass into steam for direct combustion systems or into biogas for the gasification systems.
  • Power and heat production – Conversion of the steam or syngas or biogas into electric power and process steam or hot water

Feedstock for Biomass Cogeneration Plants

The lowest cost forms of biomass for cogeneration plants are residues. Residues are the organic byproducts of food, fiber, and forest production, such as sawdust, rice husks, wheat straw, corn stalks, and sugarcane bagasse. Forest residues and wood wastes represent a large potential resource for energy production and include forest residues, forest thinnings, and primary mill residues.

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Energy crops are perennial grasses and trees grown through traditional agricultural practices that are produced primarily to be used as feedstocks for energy generation, e.g. hybrid poplars, hybrid willows, and switchgrass. Animal manure can be digested anaerobically to produce biogas in large agricultural farms and dairies.

To turn a biomass resource into productive heat and/or electricity requires a number of steps and considerations, most notably evaluating the availability of suitable biomass resources; determining the economics of collection, storage, and transportation; and evaluating available technology options for converting biomass into useful heat or electricity.

The Function of Central Heating Radiators

Regular furnace tune-ups and maintenance just before the cold weather will help maintain your furnace and your HVAC system at top condition during the winter months. There are some common tips you can follow that will help ensure your furnace runs at peak efficiency through the long cold winter months:

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Help ensure your furnace runs

It is suggested that all of your HVAC equipment be cleaned and maintained before winter arrives. Beginning in early fall, have all of your cooling and heating equipment checked over thoroughly. Have a professional come out and check the furnace’s blower and ducts as well. In addition to ensuring that these are running smoothly, this will also help to prevent an increase in your home’s utility bills. If there is a problem in any of these components, you’ll need to replace them before winter fully sets in.

Finally, once your furnace has been turned back on, you’ll need to check your heat exchanger and duct for leaks. If the duct is leaking, then you may need to call a professional to take care of the leak or replace it with new ductwork. If your heater is not properly vented, then there’s a good chance that mold is growing behind the burner or behind the ductwork. You may actually be causing a foul smell from your furnace. Instead of calling a furnace service technician to come out and make you a furnace filter replacement, why not do it yourself?

First, get a flashlight and inspect your furnace’s ducts for blockages or clogs. A regular flashlight with disinfectant should work just fine. Take note of any spots that seem unusual where the air flows through. The spot could be a filter or the blower, depending on which system the furnace uses. If you see any areas with a thick black stain or smell, that’s a good indicator to clean or change the filter.

Getting furnace repairs

Once the furnace is checked and cleaned, you should conduct furnace service at least once a year. If you think you can’t do it yourself, call a reputable company in your area to get the job done. The costs for getting furnace repairs will vary depending on the make and model of your furnace and even the age of it. If you have an older model, you will probably spend more money than if you have a newer one. There are different ways to save on furnace service costs, so make sure to ask a professional about any suggestions you might have.

Remember that the experts say it is important to have regular maintenance on your furnace. However, this is not something you should take for granted. It is important to remember that the malfunctioning of your furnace could be due to the fact that there is a dirty duct where the oil or air gap gets filled up and causes the furnace to work hard to push out the air. In this case, hiring the services of a skilled and experienced furnace repairman in Calgary is essential so you don’t have to worry too much about the furnace’s condition.

If the problem with the burner is due to the presence of mold and mildew on the exterior portion of the heat exchanger, you can safely clean it yourself using a disinfectant spray made of chlorine and water. The spray must be used carefully so as not to damage the internal components of the heat exchanger and the burner. You should wear protective gloves so that you don’t spray the chemicals directly into the eyes. You can spray the area in a circular motion to avoid leaving streaks. This may also help in keeping the lining of the heat exchanger clear and free from dust, which is a common cause of friction.

Cleaning of heat exchangers by furnace service technicians is often recommended by manufacturers as an additional measure to prevent loss of refrigerant gas and to keep temperatures constant. A clean line allows for easier access when maintenance is necessary and prevents potential damage to the heating system itself. The cleaning process can take place during the summer, at night, or on days when there is little else that should be done.

Central heating radiators are available in a wide variety of styles to match any decor and to meet any budget. Whether a radiator is new or old, its function should be the first thing to be considered before buying. The more that the space heated by the radiator is heated by electricity, the more efficient the unit will be. Radiators will also heat the entire room, which could be a major plus depending on your budget.

Biogas-to-Biomethane Conversion Technologies

Raw biogas contains approximately 30-45% of CO2, and some H2S and other compounds that have to be removed prior to utilization as natural gas, CNG or LNG replacement. Removing these components can be performed by several biogas upgrading techniques. Each process has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending on the biogas origin, composition and geographical orientation of the plant. The biogas-to-biomethane conversion technologies taken into account are pressurized water scrubbing (PWS), catalytic absorption/amine wash (CA), pressure swing absorption (PSA), highly selective membrane separation (MS) and cryogenic liquefaction (CL) which are the most common used biogas cleanup techniques.

biogas-biomethane

The Table below shows a comparison of performance for these techniques at 8 bar (grid) injection.

Table:  Comparison of performance for various upgrading techniques (result at 8 bar) (Robert Lems, 2010) , (Lems R., 2012)

  PWS CA PSA MS CL Unit
Produced gas quality*2 98 99 97-99 99 99.5 CH4%
Methane slip 1 0.1-0.2 1-3 0.3-0.5 0.5 %
Electrical use 0.23-0.25 0.15-0.18 0.25 0.21-0.24 0.35 kWh/Nm3 feed
Thermal energy use 0,82-1.3 kWth/Nm3 prod.
Reliability / up time 96 94 94 98 94 %
Turn down ratio 50-100 50-100 85-100 0-100 75-100 %
CAPEX Medium Medium Medium Low High  
Operation cost Low Medium Medium Low High  
Foot print Large Large Medium Small Large  
Maintenance needed Medium Medium+ Medium+ Low High  
Ease of operation Medium Medium+ Medium Easy Complex  
Consumables &

waste streams

AC*3/Water AC*3/amines AC*3/ absorbents AC*3/None AC*3/None  
References Many Many Medium Medium Very few  

*2 If no oxygen of nitrogen is present in the raw biogas

*3 Activated carbon (AC) consumption is depending on the presence of certain pollutants (trace components) within the raw biogas.

From the above Table, it can be concluded that the differences between technologies with respect to performance seem to be relatively small. However, some “soft factors” can have a significant impact on technology selection. For example, water scrubber technology is a broadly applied technology. The requirement for clean process water, to make up for discharge and condensation, could be a challenging constraint for remote locations.

Moreover, PWS systems are prone to biological contamination (resulting in clogged packing media and foaming), especially when operated at elevated temperatures. Without additional preventative measures this will result in an increase of operational issues and downtime.

Amine scrubbers are a good choice when surplus heat is available for the regeneration of the washing liquid. The transport and discharge of this washing liquid could however be a burden, as well as the added complexity of operation. With respect to cryogenic Liquefaction (CL) one may conclude that, this technology has a questionable track-record, is highly complex, hard to operate, and should therefore not be selected for small-medium scale applications.

Both PSA and MS provide a “dry” system, both technologies operate without the requirement for a solvent/washing liquid, which significantly simplifies operation and maintenance. Distinctive factor between these technologies is that the membrane based system operates in a continuous mode, while the PSA technology is based on columns filled with absorption materials which operate in a rotating/non-continuous mode.

Moreover, the membrane based system has a more favourable methane slip, energy consumption and turndown ratio. The biggest advantage over PSA however, is that membrane systems do not require any transport of absorbents, its ease of operation and superior up-time.

Main disadvantage of membrane systems are that they are sensitive to pollution by organic compounds, which can decrease efficiency. However, by applying a proper pre-treatment (generally based on activated carbon and condensation) in which these compounds are eliminated, this disadvantage can be relatively easy nullified.

Based on membrane technology, DMT Environmental Technology, developed the Carborex ®MS. A cost-effective plug and play, containerized (and therefore), easy to build in remote locations) biogas upgrading system. The Carborex ®MS membrane system has relatively little mechanical moving components (compared to other upgrading technologies) and therefore, ensures stability of biomethane production, and consequently, the viability of the biogas plant operation.

Moreover, its design for ease of operation and robustness makes this technological platform perfectly suitable for operation at locations with limited experience and expertise on handling of biogas plants.

Impression of a membrane system; Carborex ®MS – by courtesy of DMT

Impression of a membrane system; Carborex ®MS – by courtesy of DMT

Conclusions

Capture of biogas through application of closed ponds or AD’s is not only a necessity for mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, it is also a method of optimizing liquid waste treatment and methane recovery. Billions of cubic meters of biomethane can be produced on a yearly basis, facilitating a significant reduction of fossil fuel dependency.

Moreover, upgrading of raw biogas-to-biomethane (grid, CNG or LNG quality) provides additional utilization routes that have the extra advantage to be independent of existing infrastructure. To sum up, membrane based technology is the best way forward due to its ease of operation, robustness and the high quality of the end-products.

References

  • Lems R., D. E. (2012). Next generation biogas upgrading using high selective gas separation membranes. 17th European Biosolids Organic Resources Conference. Leeds: Aqua Enviro Technology .
  • Robert Lems, E. D. (2010). Making pressurized water scrubbing the ultimate biogas upgrading technology with the DMT TS-PWS® system. Energy from Biomass and Waste UK . London: EBW-UK .

Co-Authors: H. Dekker and E.H.M. Dirkse (DMT Environmental Technology)

Note: This is the final article in the special series on ‘Sustainable Utilization of POME-based Biomethane’ by Langerak et al of DMT Environmental Technology (Holland). The first two articles can be viewed at these links

http://www.bioenergyconsult.com/biomethane-utilization/

http://www.bioenergyconsult.com/pome-biogas/