Air Conditioner or Heat Pump: How to Make a Choice?

Is the summer getting intolerable for you? If so, then most probably you’re thinking of getting the best technology or device for your home or office space to deal with it.

It is very obvious that you’re facing a little dilemma on whether to go with a heat pump or an air conditioner; which one would be the best option to serve your purpose.

In this article, we will help you figure out just that. You will get everything you need to know about heat pumps and air conditioners starting from their basics to the pros and cons followed by a comparison.

Analyze them, know your priorities, and make the decision. Are you ready? Let’s get started!

air conditioner benefits

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is a technology that transfers the inside heat of the house to the outside or vice versa. Generally, a heat pump is used to eliminate the heat that is inside a house or building to the outside air in summer.

 

But in winter, the function of the heat pump just reverses. In cold weather, when you need heat in your homes, a heat pump extracts the heat from the outside air and transfers it to the inside.

Types of Heat Pump

Heat pumps are broadly divided into two major types. They are:

Air Source Heat Pump

This kind of heat pump uses the heat from the outside air in winter and expels the hot air from the inside to the outside in summer.

Geothermal Heat Pump

This type of heat pump utilizes the heat from the soil in winter to supply hot air into the house and expels the heat from the inside air to the soil or water in the hot weather.

Considering the design of the heat pumps, they are divided into two types. Those are as follows:

Split Type

This type of heat pump consists of two different indoor and outdoor units.

Packaged Unit

Such heat pumps contain all the components of the system combined within one single cabinet.

Heat Pump Components

The heat pump constitutes a good number of components. Each is required for different functions. The components that more or less all  heat pumps possess along with their functions are as follows:

Compressor: Transports refrigerant which is a compound responsible for heat exchange converting liquid to gas and absorbing the heat from the environment to transfer it somewhere else.

Coils: Condenser and evaporator coil for heating and cooling the air.

Reversing Valve: Changes the refrigerant flow.

Thermostatic Expansion Valves: Regulate the refrigerant flow.

Accumulator: To adjust with the season and the weather.

Air Ducts: To allow the hot or cold air released from the heat pump to flow throughout the house.

Refrigerant Lines: This component is applicable only for split-type heat pumps to connect the components from the inside to the outside.

Heat Strips: This generally comes with the packaged unit for providing extra heat on cooler days.

How does a Heat Pump Heat?

In winter, the reversing valve of the heat pump changes the system from cooling to heating. So that the heat from the outside air is extracted and pulled inside the house.

heating-radiator

Generally, a heat pump has the ability to heat up a house up to 70 degrees, but as long as the outside air is above 30 degrees. So, if the temperature goes below 30 degrees, the heat pump needs to utilize the additional heat sources.

Advantages of a Heat Pump

There are several advantages to having a heat pump. Some of the most mentionable are listed below.

  • Reducing the need to access natural gas or keeping a propane tank.
  • The home duct system of the heat pump ensures heat is distributed equally to every corner of the house without leaving any spaces cold.
  • As heat pumps don’t consume fossil fuels, they are more environmentally friendly.
  • The biggest advantage of a heat pump is providing two separate services in two different seasons, saving money for any other device or their maintenance.

Disadvantages of a Heat Pump

Even though heat pumps offer some very impressive benefits, there are few drawbacks as well.

  • In freezing winters, heat pumps won’t be enough to warm up the entire house.
  • In colder winters, you might have to use additional heaters or furnaces along with a heat pump to heat up your house.

What is an Air Conditioner?

The air conditioner does the same work as the heat pump in summer, that is, eliminating the heat inside the house to the outside air. But it also cools down the air inside by releasing cool air.

Types of Air Conditioner

There are different types and designs of air conditioners. The most usual and popular among them are listed below.

Central Air Conditioners: This type of AC packs the evaporator, compressor, and condenser in one single unit. The unit is connected by supply and return ducts that are installed in the walls of the houses.

Split-type Air Conditioners:  These air conditioners have two different outdoor and indoor units and the air supply takes place through the ducts.

Window Air Conditioners: This kind of air conditioner is ideal for a room as it combines all the components in one box that can fit a window.

Air Conditioner Components

The components of the air conditioner are somewhat similar to the heat pumps. This includes an outdoor unit consisting of the condenser, compressor, and fan.

 

The indoor unit has an evaporator and a fan. The refrigerant moves through the condenser and evaporator and the cool air produced moves through the ducts with the help of the fan.

AC components

AC Coils of HVAC systems require regular cleanup

Advantages of an Air Conditioner

An air conditioner bears some advantages compared to heat pumps. Those are as follows :

  • AC’s are very efficient for cooling down larger rooms and keeping the house cool for a longer period.
  • Air-conditioned rooms reduce dehydration.
  • AC improves the air quality of the room by removing allergens and is beneficial to patients with respiratory problems like Asthma.

Disadvantages of an Air Conditioner

There are some clear and obvious disadvantages of air conditioners. They are:

  • AC’s cannot produce or extract heat from the outer environment like heat pumps.
  • AC generally requires fossil fuel to run.

Comparison Between an Air Conditioner and a Heat Pump

To make it easier for you, let’s make a short comparison between heat pump vs air conditioner on some important factors to consider while buying them.

Purchase Cost: Generally, air conditioners are way costlier than heat pumps.

Installation Cost: Usually, the outdoor units of the heat pump cost more for installation than installing AC or indoor heat pumps.

Energy Efficiency: If you’re looking forward to improving your energy efficiency in the house, the heat pump should be your ideal option. Because heat pumps are more effective in saving energy than ACs.

Durability: If you’re not down for compromising the durability and longevity of your cooling device, then go for air conditioners. Because heat pumps don’t last more than 15 years.

Final Words

Do you still have confusion about which one to go for? Think about what matters to you more; saving money and energy or durability and longevity. Then choose wisely by evaluating heat pump vs air conditioner.

Hope this article was able to help you solve your dilemma. Thanks for reading till the end.

Everything You Should Know About Car Transmission System

A car transmission, also known as the transmission system, is the mechanism by which power created by the engine is transferred to the driving wheels. This part of the vehicle is the most important in determining the power and functionality of your engine systems. The two types of transmissions include automatic transmission and manual transmission.

A manual transmission requires the driver to complete extra steps of selecting and engaging the gear ratios. In contrast, mechanical efforts are minimized in an automatic transmission, and different speeds are obtained automatically.

If you are wondering how a car transmission works, it all depends on the type of transmission. However, regardless of the type, the answer to what a transmission does is to enable the gear ratio between the vehicle’s engine and drive wheels to adjust as the vehicle speeds up and slows down. When not in motion, the transmission disconnects the drive wheels from the engine. So let’s dive deeper into details on how manual and automatic transmission work.

working of car transmission system

All you need to know about manual transmission

A manual transmission is a manual gearbox or stick-shift or standard transmission class of transmission where the driver literally uses a stick shift to change gears. Changing the gears involves releasing the clutch disc through a third pedal located on the left side of the break. Then select the chosen gear and engage the clutch again. If the driver frequently engages the clutch slowly, the disc will wear out early. If the driver engages the clutch too quickly, the engine will stall.

Components of a manual gearbox

Narrowing down the various parts and components of the gearbox will help you understand the complex way a manual transmission works. Some significant features of a manual gearbox include

  1. The clutch and clutch pedal: Consisting of various small parts, the clutch transfers the engine torque to the transmission. The clutch pedal is a piece of gear that is hydraulically controlled. When you depress, it disengages the clutch.
  2. Flywheel: Normally circular in shape and used to send the engine torque to the clutch disc, which interacts with the smooth surface of the flywheel.
  3. Collar and selector fork: An arm-like-looking piece of gear that aids in moving the collars through the output shaft. By locking the collar to a specific gear, you can always select different other gears. This results in the transmission of torque from the layshaft to the output shaft.
  4. Synchronizers: Helps the collar and the gear engage with each other and importantly matches their speed if there is a difference.
  5. Output shaft and Layshaft: The output shaft’s gears mesh with the lay shaft’s gears when one receives the engine power first.
  6. Gears: Gear often comes in different sizes in a manual gearbox. Large gearwheels contain more teeth and offer more torque to reduce the car’s speed, whereas small gears provide less torque to your car so that it can run at a higher speed.

How a manual transmission works

  • Before switching the vehicle’s key on, you need to press the clutch pedal down to disengage the clutch. This cuts the power between the engine’s input shaft and the transmission and ensures that the engine is alive before powering the vehicle.
  • Shift the gearshift to the first gear so that the gear shift can move towards the latter one. The first gear has a connection to the layshaft, which is connected to the engine input file via another gear.
  • The synchronizer collar connected to the shifting fork helps the driving gear in the transportation of power to the output shaft and matches their speed if there is any difference.
  • You now need to apply slight pressure on the gas pedal and then take your foot off the clutch. This reconnects the gearbox and the engine making your vehicle start moving.
  • You now need to repeat the same process of changing the gear so that you can speed up or slow down the car.

 

car transmission system

Generally, bade-model vehicles are fitted with a 5-speed manual transmission, while pricey vehicles are equipped with a 6-speed transmission such as the rebuilt nv5600 transmission.

All you need to know about automatic transmission

With an automatic transmission, things are simplified as compared to a manual transmission. There is neither a clutch pedal nor a gear shift in an automatic transmission vehicle. Once the transmission is put into drive, all other things are automatic.

Components of an automatic transmission

To help understand what happens in an automatic transmission, let us look at the specific parts of an automatic transmission.

  1. Transmission casing: Houses all parts of the transmission.
  2. Torque Converter: Transmits to the transmission input shaft from the engine. It also helps in the multiplication of engine torque output
  3. Planetary gears: This allows automatic increase and decrease of the gear ratios.

How automatic transmission works

  • The engine dispatches power to the torque converter’s pump
  • The pump receives the power and, through the transmission fluid, sends it to the torque converter’s turbine
  • Through the stator, the transmission fluid is sent back to the pump
  • The stator multiplies power and sends it back to the turbine
  • The turbine is normally connected to the central shaft, which is also connected to the transmission.
  • The turbine then spins the shaft spins dispatching power to the first planetary gear
  • The planetary gear arrangements determine of power transmitted to the rest of the drive
  • Power from the torque converter will either make the ring gear, the sun gear, or the planetary carrier of the planetary gear system stay stationary or move.

Stages of automatic transmission

  • Park(P): Locks the transmission, restricting the vehicle from moving
  • Reverse(R): Puts the car in reverse gear, making the car move backward
  • Neutral(N): disconnects the transmission from the wheel
  • Drive(D): allows the vehicle to move and can accelerate through a range of gears
  • Low(L): allows you to lower your speed and move on middy or hilly areas

Now, as you cruise down the freeways and feel the car shifting gears, you will have an idea of what is exactly taking place under the hood. It’s all about the transmission, but if you need to get a new one it’s all about cheap online transmissions!

6 Safety Management Tips For Dam Owners

Humans have increasingly become dependent on electricity, which is due in no small part to the many advances in technology. From healthcare and commerce to the way people communicate with each other, everything that makes life livable now requires electrical power.

With all the growing demand for electricity, government and business leaders are continually pressured by the public to find ways to generate more power while keeping the planet safe. Renewable energy is the buzzword for finding the balance between power generation and giving the environment a much-needed TLC (tender loving care).

That said, water is one of the most common sources of renewable energy – it generates hydroelectricity, which makes up around 44% of renewable energy in the U.S. alone. Harvesting hydropower involves harnessing the flow of water. In other words, hydropower plants require dams to be built to hold and control the water that’ll turn the generators or turbines, generating electricity.

But hydropower is just one part of the equation. Water is essential for humans, without which life won’t even be possible. From hydropower to drinking water supply, dams will continue to be vital for humanity’s survival. Owners must manage their dams effectively to keep them safe and working. Doing so can prevent risks that may result in loss of life and property.

dam-safety-management

Challenges Posed By Dams

Most dams used for hydropower generation and water supply are man-made–they’re made up of concrete. Hence, there are structural and stability challenges that need to be solved. You don’t need to see a movie just to know what might happen if a dam is breached.

 There was a time when operators relied on visual inspection, photos, and interpretation by engineers to analyze a dam’s safety levels. Today, there are state-of-the-art monitoring tools to help dam operators. Hence, there are now advanced solutions that allow dam owners to keep the structural integrity in check.

Take the case of Hunter Water Grahamstown Dam in Australia. This dam is designed to provide a drinking water supply and recycled water service to an area with approximately 600,000 people. As a storage dam, it constantly presents challenges that can compromise its structural integrity.

Using modern dam monitoring tools, Grahamstown Dam owners can effectively manage the dam’s integrity in a remote setting. In turn, this allows nearby residents to sleep soundly at night. The secret lies in using AI technology, such as Rezatec’s Dam Monitoring solution, to remotely churn out geospatial data that tracks everything–from ground movements to moisture levels. Nothing is left to chance or open interpretation. Also, fewer visual inspections are now required.

Dam Safety Management Tips

Indeed, humans have completely changed the way water is stored–whether for drinking or generating power. In a study aimed at monitoring and taking a closer look at the changing levels of global freshwater sources, researchers used NASA’s satellite and found that humans are now responsible for 57% of the planet’s seasonal water storage, which is happening in reservoirs and dams.

With the ever-increasing world population, it’s logical for one to think that more reservoirs and dams will be built in the foreseeable future. Whether it’s for drinking or harnessing hydropower, dams are here to stay. Owners and operators must learn to manage their dams dynamically.

Taking a cue from what operators did in managing the safety of the Grahamstown Dam, here are some tips on how to keep dams safe and functioning properly for years to come.

1. Create A Dam’s Risk Profile

No dam is perfect. For one, there’s always a trade-off among costs, location, and capacity when designing and building dams. It’s left to the owners to make the best out of the dams they’re managing. In a bid to reduce risks, owners should always know the status of their dams. For one, they should define risk areas and be aware of the dam’s weaknesses.

By creating a dam’s risk profile, managers won’t be caught unaware should disasters occur. For instance, if a barrier was designed to withstand a 10-magnitude earthquake, then a reading of 11 on the Richter scale should put workers on full alert even if the dam isn’t breached. Emergency inspections and responses should also be triggered.

2. Effective Dam Monitoring In Place

Dams, like the one in Grahamstown, require continued monitoring. There’s no shortcut to knowing or tracking the structural integrity of a dam except via monitoring.

In the past, owners relied on photography and visual inspections. The problem was the data gathered could be biased and were open to misinterpretation. Hence, it would be best to adopt AI-based solutions to ensure accurate monitoring data.

3. Ready Access To Construction Documentation

Dams are big structures and they’re often made up of different segments and materials. Making things more complicated is the fact that no two dams are the same–each has its own design features.

When managing a dam, the people responsible for it should have access to the dam’s design and construction blueprint. By doing so, managers will be less likely to do things that can compromise the dam’s structure and functionality.

4. Prioritize Incident Reports

Dam workers must be required to report all incidents that occur, including emergencies and operational shutdowns. Such reports will keep the management in the loop and enable key players to recommend a plan of action to prevent such incidents from happening again.

dam safety guide

5. Operations And Safety Manuals At The Ready

Dams are run by different people working in various shifts. While training workshops are essential for new and experienced workers, people tend to forget what they’re trained for. It’s crucial to have operations and safety manuals readily accessible to ensure that everyone is on the same page while operating the dam. This way, workers won’t be left guessing on what to do in case emergencies happen.

6. Multi-discipline Management Approach

While new technologies allow remote, scalable, and cost-effective dam management, it’s still vital to have human operators and engineers tracking changes or investigating anomalies. Environmental sciences should work with soil engineering and other disciplines. AI should also work with good old-fashioned human insights.

By combining multiple disciplines, dam owners will be more confident in reducing risks and meeting regulatory requirements across different sectors.

Conclusion

Dams are vital for human survival. They can be harnessed to provide water supply and electricity. Due to this, expect that there will be more dams built in the foreseeable future.

With that in mind, owners and operators should learn how to keep dams safe and effective to prevent loss of life and property.

3 Reasons Why Your Business Should Invest in a Generator

Residents of Texas who recently experienced life without power for a significant time period will tell you it can be pretty debilitating. For business owners, the problems presented by power outages are manifold and can be catastrophic for the bottom line. One way to mitigate the risks associated with power outages is to invest in a good quality generator which can assist when trouble strikes.

Generators don’t come cheap, so it’s understandable that business owners will want to do their research before taking the plunge and making a purchase. If you find yourself on the fence when it comes to investing in a generator for your business, here are a few points that may help you with your decision:

energy-company

It Will Keep Your Business Running During a Power Outage

Anyone who has been out shopping or eating at a cafe during a power outage will know how inconvenient it can be. Often, you won’t be able to buy anything and operations will cease. If, however, the business were to have a generator that kicks in the moment the power goes down, then things will be significantly different.

Having a generator ensures that critical systems can continue to work and you won’t have to contend with disappointed customers. Be sure to investigate your options with a reputable supplier like Blue Diamond Generators who can advise you on the various models available and help find a model that is most well-suited to your business needs.

Generators Can Also Help During Brownouts

While the rise in the use of renewable energy is certainly a welcome development, one of the issues is that the power supply from these sources can be somewhat variable. Solar panels and wind turbines are being built at a rapid rate but they don’t always serve people when they need power most.

For example, wind power tends to be strongest during the spring and fall seasons but not necessarily during the summer and winter months when people actually need more power. Often when these systems become overloaded with demand for power, brownouts are implemented as a means of regulating the power supply.  Having a generator means that your business can remain environmentally-friendly but also continue operating should the renewable energy sources prove unreliable.

Investing in a Generator Can Be Cost-Effective in the Long Term

When you consider the amount of money your business loses as a result of a power outage or a brownout, then the cost of a generator doesn’t seem so bad. For example, in the catering trade, a loss of power results in food expiry, and these expenses are rarely recoverable. If you find that such events become regular then these expenses quickly build up. Owning a generator and fuel reserve could prove to be a long-term investment, especially if your business is operating in an area which is susceptible to storms of natural disasters.

If you’re able to find the funding,  then investing in a generator ultimately allows your business to keep running even when others can’t. Not only will this give you a comparative edge over other businesses, but you could potentially make significant savings in the long run, especially when you consider any potential losses and disruptions that could happen as a result of a power outage.

Industrial Ovens: Types and Uses

Industrial ovens are absolutely essential pieces of equipment in many industries, from the pharmaceutical industry to the world of manufacturing.

Able to operate at immensely high temperatures, well in excess of 250 degrees Fahrenheit, these ovens can make use of various power sources, including electricity, gas, and oil, in order to operate, being used for heat-treating parts, conditioning metals, and much more.

This guide will take a look at some of the many different types of industrial ovens and some of their common uses too.

industrial-oven

The Types of Industrial Ovens

There are many different types of industrial ovens, and new types are being produced by leading industrial oven manufacturers all the time. It’s therefore not possible to list every single variety out there, but the list below will cover some of the most common types, introducing their basic design and functionality.

1. Electric

An industrial electric oven, as the name implies, will make use of electricity as its primary power source. This allows it to reach high temperatures very quickly, as well as giving the user a lot of precise control over the interior temperatures, times, and settings. These types of ovens are useful when working with certain types of metal products and combustible items that aren’t suitable for gas ovens.

2. Gas

Gas ovens make use of gas to operate and are more affordable to use than electric ovens due to their lower energy costs. They can heat up very quickly and keep their temperatures high for longer than other oven types, making them useful for extended sessions of heating and treating. They generally make use of either natural gas or propane and are well-suited for jobs like automotive part manufacturing and powder coating onto the steel.

3. Drying

A drying oven, as the name implies, is designed to dry out the items that are placed inside it, removing any excess moisture. This can be very useful for sterilizing medical items, heat-treating metals, and so on.

4. Curing

A curing oven is designed to help powders and paints bond with metal surfaces. They’re great for processes like powder coating, as well as being useful for hardening substances like plastic and rubber, and they can have a range of different power sources, including electricity and gas.

5. Conveyor

A conveyor industrial oven is one that has a conveyor belt system on the inside which gradually moves the items along into different oven zones. There are usually multiple heating zones operating at different temperatures in a conveyor oven, as well as cooling zones too, and these ovens are hugely versatile, working with curing, drying, forming, and other processes.

6. Batch

A batch industrial oven is a very large oven that can take on big jobs, heating many items all at once. These tend to be some of the biggest industrial ovens around and they’re usually powered by electricity.

7. Tunnel

A tunnel oven is a long industrial oven with openings at either end and a belt in the center. Items move along the belt, through the tunnel, from one end to the other, being heated and baked in the center. These ovens tend to operate continuously, able to treat batch after batch of items, making them well-suited for baking and food preparation.

Uses of Industrial Ovens

There are many different ways in which industrial ovens can be used, for example:

  • Food – Just like commercial ovens you find at home or in restaurants, industrial ovens can also be used to bake food products, but on a much larger scale than a typical home oven. They’re essential for businesses that make large batches of food for sale and delivery.
  • Sterilization – Industrial ovens can play a key role in sterilizing medical items and accessories like scalpels, syringes, and so on. Their high temperatures help to kill bacteria and other germs, as well as eradicating other contaminants.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Another medical application of industrial ovens is for making pills in the pharmaceutical industry. These ovens can be used to essentially bake the coatings of pills into place and getting rid of any excess chemicals or contaminants.
  • Heat Treating – This process is when heat is applied to metals to create different effects, like strengthening or tempering the metals or aging them. This process can take days to complete but can result in much stronger and more durable metals for use in industries like aeronautics and automotive.

Final Word

In their many forms, sizes, and styles, it’s clear to see that industrial ovens play a vital role in the world around us.

How to Increase Welding Safety?

Welding can be particularly dangerous to those operating the equipment and others around the site if proper safety procedures aren’t used, risks aren’t considered, and safety standards aren’t met.

If you are reviewing how you can conduct welding tasks in a safer way, here are some major hazards to bear in mind and the personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to combat them.

Think about common hazards when welding

1. Welding in confined spaces

When operating in a confined environment, there is a serious risk that there could be a lack of oxygen that could result in an accident or injury.

dangers-of-welding

The gases which are used in welding, such as argon, CO2, and nitrogen, can displace the air within an enclosed space, creating a risk of passing out.

Consider whether the work can be carried out without needing to enter the space, and if this isn’t possible then use a safe system of work and establish a rescue plan.

2. Exposure to gases and fumes

As well as gases creating suffocation risks, other gaseous fumes can damage your lungs. The level of damage will depend on the gas, but occupational asthma, pneumonia, and even cancer are all associated with specific fumes.

3. Electric shock

This is potentially the most serious risk with arc welding. Both TIG and MIG welders carry a risk of electric shock when used improperly, as live electrical circuits are utilised to heat the metals for welding.

Whether through a direct shock or through touching part of the welding, it could result in serious injury or fatality. Certain conditions, such as wearing damp clothing or being surrounded by metal flooring, can increase this risk.

4. Burns

As you’d likely expect from working with high-temperature welding arcs and molten metals, severe burns can occur when welding. These can happen incredibly fast if you’re not careful and skip safety protocols.

5. Fires and explosions

In addition to burning the person welding, sparks generated can fly as far as 35 feet away from the welding area. Combined with the extreme temperatures created, this can start fires if given the chance.

Inspect for and remove any flammable materials from the nearby areas – this could be liquids like petrol, solids such as wood and paper, or gases including hydrogen and propane.

6. Excessive noise

Prolonged exposure to loud noises exceeding 85dB(A) can do permanent damage to your hearing, with welding being capable of reaching over 100dB(A). Without proper hearing defence, you could experience noise-induced hearing loss.

7. UV exposure and infrared radiation

When welding, the bloom of UV light which is produced can damage your eyesight. This is why welders need eye protection and welding curtains to prevent this. Long-term effects could lead to a loss of vision, cataracts or foreign bodies entering the eye.

Wear proper welding PPE for safety precautions

Employers have a responsibility to provide proper PPE to any employees tasked with carrying out welding tasks, helping to prevent bodily harm and keep people safe.

welding-gear

1. Welding helmets

This will shield you from all manner of hazards – UV radiation, debris, chemical burns, etc. Ensure your helmet is fitted with the correct lens to combat the type of work you’ll be doing and adjust the filter to get a balance between visibility and proper protection.

2. Respirators

Use the right form of respirator to protect your respiratory system from the oxides and fumes which will be generated by the work you will carry out.

3. Fire resistant clothing

As burns can occur quickly in a welding environment, fire resistant clothing is needed to shield you from heat, fire and radiation. This needs to cover any pockets and feature no cuffs where things could get caught inside. Do not roll up sleeves or the ends of trousers as the folds could trap molten metals.

4. Ear defenders

Make sure that ear protection is worn to protect you from noise generated in your workplace and use fire resistant earmuffs where there could be a risk of something entering your ear canal.

5. Worker boots and gloves

These need to meet the required standards for the workplace to provide adequate protection. Gloves need to be insulated and flame resistance to protect from shocks and heat, while boots should be rubber-soled and feature steel-toecaps to further insulate from electricity as well as shielding your feet from heavy objects.

Conclusion

By being aware of the potential hazards and what PPE is needed when welding, you can implement further safety measures that take these things into full consideration, whether you’re in an industrial environment or working at home in a workshop.

Summary of Biomass Combustion Technologies

Direct combustion is the best established and most commonly used technology for converting biomass to heat. During combustion, biomass fuel is burnt in excess air to produce heat. The first stage of combustion involves the evolution of combustible vapours from the biomass, which burn as flames. The residual material, in the form of charcoal, is burnt in a forced air supply to give more heat. The hot combustion gases are sometimes used directly for product drying, but more usually they are passed through a heat exchanger to produce hot air, hot water or steam.

Combustion_Moving_Grate

The combustion efficiency depends primarily on good contact between the oxygen in the air and the biomass fuel. The main products of efficient biomass combustion are carbon dioxide and water vapor, however tars, smoke and alkaline ash particles are also emitted. Minimization of these emissions and accommodation of their possible effects are important concerns in the design of environmentally acceptable biomass combustion systems.

Biomass combustion systems, based on a range of furnace designs, can be very efficient at producing hot gases, hot air, hot water or steam, typically recovering 65-90% of the energy contained in the fuel. Lower efficiencies are generally associated with wetter fuels. To cope with a diversity of fuel characteristics and combustion requirements, a number of designs of combustion furnaces or combustors are routinely utilized around the world

Underfeed Stokers

Biomass is fed into the combustion zone from underneath a firing grate. These stoker designs are only suitable for small scale systems up to a nominal boiler capacity of 6 MWth and for biomass fuels with low ash content, such as wood chips and sawdust. High ash content fuels such as bark, straw and cereals need more efficient ash removal systems.

Sintered or molten ash particles covering the upper surface of the fuel bed can cause problems in underfeed stokers due to unstable combustion conditions when the fuel and the air are breaking through the ash covered surface.

Grate Stokers

The most common type of biomass boiler is based on a grate to support a bed of fuel and to mix a controlled amount of combustion air, which often enters from beneath the grate. Biomass fuel is added at one end of the grate and is burned in a fuel bed which moves progressively down the grate, either via gravity or with mechanical assistance, to an ash removal system at the other end. In more sophisticated designs this allows the overall combustion process to be separated into its three main activities:

  • Initial fuel drying
  • Ignition and combustion of volatile constituents
  • Burning out of the char.

Grate stokers are well proven and reliable and can tolerate wide variations in fuel quality (i.e. variations in moisture content and particle size) as well as fuels with high ash content. They are also controllable and efficient.

Fluidized Bed Boilers

The basis for a fluidized bed combustion system is a bed of an inert mineral such as sand or limestone through which air is blown from below. The air is pumped through the bed in sufficient volume and at a high enough pressure to entrain the small particles of the bed material so that they behave much like a fluid.

The combustion chamber of a fluidized bed power plant is shaped so that above a certain height the air velocity drops below that necessary to entrain the particles. This helps retain the bulk of the entrained bed material towards the bottom of the chamber. Once the bed becomes hot, combustible material introduced into it will burn, generating heat as in a more conventional furnace. The proportion of combustible material such as biomass within the bed is normally only around 5%. The primary driving force for development of fluidized bed combustion is reduced SO2 and NOx emissions from coal combustion.

Bubbling fluidized bed (BFB) combustors are of interest for plants with a nominal boiler capacity greater than 10 MWth. Circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustors are more suitable for plants larger than 30 MWth. The minimum plant size below which CFB and BFB technologies are not economically competitive is considered to be around 5-10 MWe.

Role of Food Waste Disposers in Food Waste Management

Food waste is a global issue that begins at home and as such, it is an ideal contender for testing out new approaches to behaviour change. The behavioural drivers that lead to food being wasted are complex and often inter-related, but predominantly centre around purchasing habits, and the way in which we store, cook, eat and celebrate food.

food-waste-management

Consumer Behavior – A Top Priority

Consumer behaviour is a huge priority area in particular for industrialised nations – it is estimated that some western societies might be throwing away up to a third of all food purchased. The rise of cheap food and convenience culture in recent years has compounded this problem, with few incentives or disincentives in place at producer, retail or consumer level to address this.

While it is likely that a number of structural levers – such as price, regulation, enabling measures and public benefits – will need to be pulled together in a coherent way to drive progress on this agenda, at a deeper level there is a pressing argument to explore the psycho-social perspectives of behaviour change.

Individual or collective behaviours often exist within a broader cultural context of values and attitudes that are hard to measure and influence. Simple one-off actions such as freezing leftovers or buying less during a weekly food shop do not necessarily translate into daily behaviour patterns. For such motivations to have staying power, they must become instinctive acts, aligned with an immediate sense of purpose. The need to consider more broadly our behaviours and how they are implicated in such issues must not stop at individual consumers, but extend to governments, businesses and NGOs if effective strategies are to be drawn up.

Emergence of Food Waste Disposers

Food waste disposer (FWDs), devices invented and adopted as a tool of food waste management may now represent a unique new front in the fight against climate change. These devices, commonplace in North America, Australia and New Zealand work by shredding household or commercial food waste into small pieces that pass through a municipal sewer system without difficulty.

The shredded food particles are then conveyed by existing wastewater infrastructure to wastewater treatment plants where they can contribute to the generation of biogas via anaerobic digestion. This displaces the need for generation of the same amount of biogas using traditional fossil fuels, thereby averting a net addition of greenhouse gases (GHG) to the atmosphere.

Food waste is an ideal contender for testing new approaches to behaviour change.

The use of anaerobic digesters is more common in the treatment of sewage sludge, as implemented in the U.K., but not as much in the treatment of food waste. In addition to this, food waste can also replace methanol (produced from fossil fuels) and citric acid used in advanced wastewater treatment processes which are generally carbon limited.

Despite an ample number of studies pointing to the evidence of positive impacts of food waste disposer, concerns regarding its use still exist, notably in Europe. Scotland for example has passed legislation that bans use of FWDs, stating instead that customers must segregate their waste and make it available curbside for pickup. This makes it especially difficult for the hospitality industry, to which the use of disposer is well suited.

The U.S. however has seen larger scale adoption of the technology due to the big sales push it received in the 1950s and 60s. In addition to being just kitchen convenience appliances, FWDs are yet to be widely accepted as a tool for positive environmental impact.

Note: Note: This excerpt is being published with the permission of our collaborative partner Be Waste Wise. The original excerpt and its video recording can be found at this link

The Future of Gas Boilers – Hydrogen or Heat Pumps?

Due to the international crisis of global warming, the majority of western countries are now set on a course to become carbon neutral and at the Paris Accord, they agreed to achieve this by 2050. This is an impressive feat for countries still so reliant on fossil fuels for major industries like heating and transport.

Residential heating is one area that is currently in the spotlight, for instance, in countries like the UK, it is currently responsible for around one-third of carbon emissions. As a result and understandingly it is set to undergo major reform over the next 10 years.

What’s the problem with current heating?

Heating in the UK is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels, either directly or indirectly. For instance, the vast majority of homes are supplied with natural gas which is burned in fireplaces and gas combi boilers to provide homes with heat.

heating-radiator

The major issue is that burning natural gas releases carbon into the atmosphere, which is a gas that doesn’t leave the atmosphere, resulting in heat being trapped in the atmosphere, leading to global warming.

Therefore, the UK government is looking at low carbon heating alternatives as a route to transforming the current situation, which includes the likes of heat pumps, hydrogen boilers and solar.

As Heatable states, residential boilers have already been under considerable scrutiny and the government has banned non-condensing boilers, driving up the efficiency of boilers to above 90%, as well as a total outlaw on all gas boilers in new homes from 2025.

Yet, it’s important to note that most industry commentators consider replacing gas boilers with solar and heat pumps completely unrealistic. Major concerns include their expensive and disruptive installation, as well as their reliability when compared to conventional boilers.

As a result, replacing the fuel is seen as a much more realistic approach with the fuel of choice being hydrogen. This can be fed into the current infrastructure and used with hydrogen-ready boilers, which are almost identical to current natural gas versions.

Hydrogen Boilers vs. Heat Pumps

There are many issues when it comes to the transition from high to low carbon heating technologies. So much so, that the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) estimated that it would take almost 1,000 years to make the switch if the current trajectories continued.

Even worse, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) highlighted that it would cost on average £26,000 for each home to install a low carbon heating alternative, rending the whole idea completely unviable.

hydrogen-boiler

The only sensible solution is the adoption of hydrogen fuel as an alternative to natural gas instead. This fuel is able to make use of the current gas networks infrastructure which is already connected to the vast majority of properties.

From an environmental standpoint, hydrogen is also seen as highly desirable.

Why? When hydrogen is burned it produces only vapour and absolutely no carbon dioxide making it ideal for a carbon-neutral future.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

As well as that, there are also other issues with heat pumps, of which there are three main types: air source, ground source and hybrid. All of which works by sucking in heat from the surrounding air, ground or water and are able to supply heat to water and central heating.

Hybrid heat pumps are different in that they utilise a boiler to provide supplemental heat if the weather becomes severely cold.

The good point of heat pumps is that they only use small amounts of electricity to operate and combined with the fact that they absorb heat from the environment, they are extremely efficient. In fact, they can achieve energy efficiency ratings exceeding 300%, compared to modern gas boilers that are around 94%.

However, it’s not all positive sadly and heat pumps are unable to provide the same, consistent heat output that gas boilers are able to. For this reason, they are usually installed with oversized radiators and/or underfloor heating and only in properties that are extremely well insulated.

Conclusion

Heating is without a doubt going to change and countries like the UK are going to transition away from gas boilers, but what will win – heat pumps or hydrogen?

It seems that hydrogen has the advantage from a feasibility standpoint, but there’s little doubt that heat pumps will be part of the mix too.

It’s becoming more common for gas boilers to be installed with a hybrid heat pump system.

The first homes fitted with hydrogen boilers and appliances are going to be installed in Fife, Scotland from next year, so progression is certainly accelerating.

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.