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Information on future heating sources

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by by_the_fireside, Sep 18, 2008.

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  1. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    We don't use the design that Chernobyl used. That sort of chain reaction is not possible in a modern light-water reactor.

    Pebble-bed reactors can't even melt down. The design is such that nuclear physics will prevent a melt-down, even in a worst-case (total loss of coolant) scenario. The coolant is integral to the reaction, and removing it will (as a matter of physics) cause the reaction to fail. The decay heat of the fuel pellets is not enough to melt the carbon pebbles, so even a dead-dry reactor cannot melt.

    The ultimate in passive safety. Simple, and totally effective. You could go in there with a pickaxe, smashing valves and pumps and controls at random, and you could not cause a meltdown.

    Tidal and wind disrupt currents in the ocean and the atmosphere, with dramatic detrimental effects on the surrounding ecology. Hydro destroys entire valleys. PV requires semiconductors, the manufacturing of which involves major mining operations and lots of toxic waste. Solar thermal panels are not practical for dedicated heating use in much of the world.

    There are no "clean" energy technologies. There are some that are cleaner or dirtier than others, but none are zero-impact. Few are even vaguely clean, when you figure the whole lifecycle of the technology. Many of the "green" technologies are far, far from it.

    You could store all the nuclear waste humanity could produce in a couple centuries in less geographical area than even a moderate hydroelectric dam floods out.

    Not that nuclear is some sort of magic-bullet, either. But considering the whole lifecycle of the various technologies, nuclear is one of the cleanest things going.

    Joe

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  2. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

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    I can tell you how it works over here.
    Everyone is switching to GSHP here.The pellet market is losing a lot of costumers.
    The price for pellets have go up much the last years

    The usual GSHP installation cost rough around 15000 $. Then it`s a drill hole thats is around 500 feet and a 8kwh heat pump.
    The heat pump can go on a 16A 220volt fuse. The Cop for the new models are 5.When the output water is 35 degrees to the radiators and the fluid from the rock is 0 degrees.

    In the future i think we are going to see more heat pumps that are running on electricity from windmills and so on.

    I found a movie that show how the drilling works.The language is in unfortunately in Swedish
    http://www.tabrunnsborrning.se/filer/avantibergvarme.wmv
  3. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    So you ARE using hot water on the heating side! I've been waiting to see that evolution on this side of the pond for a while. Over here, the heat pump would have a fan coil to distribute the heat to the house thus creating a draft and using up more energy than a water pump, but it would give you air conditioning in the summer. I believe that you are going to do a lot more with 35C water than 35C air. If the house were built from the ground up with a radiant system, this could work very well. A COP of 5 seems to be the sweet spot for a high temperature refrigeration system.

    An 8kw air-air heat pump is about 2-1/2 tons and would sell for about $5000 installed with ductwork. The GSHPs I've seen start at about $4000 for just the unit and you still need a well. One well driller I spoke with charges $11 a foot so that 500 foot hole would add about $5500 to the project. This makes your $15000 quote in the right ballpark. Convincing people to make this investment is a big hurdle as most balk at $5000 for a high efficiency furnace. I couldn't convince my neighbor to spend the extra $600 for a condensing furnace! First cost plays a big part in decisions over here...

    I think a GSHP may be the best available technology around for people that want thermostatically controlled heat. Those that have installed them seem to be very happy with them, but they still account for less than 1% (a guess) of new home construction. I am starting to see an interest in the commercial sector, but still not much. All this depends on an adequate supply of electricity, thus the need for wind and nuclear, etc.

    There is no one right answer for everybody's situation, but heat pumps have their plusses, once you get over the fact that you are heating your home with a refrigerant...

    Chris
  4. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    I agree with you in many ways on both of the above statements. Ethanol, at least under current production technologies & gov't mandates, is a bad joke yielding little if any environmental benefits, and imposing silly costs and inequitable cost shifts.

    However, fission emerged as a power source only after immense gov't investments in R&D;.

    And, to this day, the operation of the entire nuclear power industry industry is dependent upon the fact that the government stepped in to offer liability containment [via the Price Anderson Act]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price-Anderson_Nuclear_Industries_Indemnity_Act
    on account of the fact that private insurers were unwilling and/ or unable to take on the potential scope of the risk.
  5. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Don't get me wrong - I'm a libertarian, not an anarchist. Government has a very important role to play in many things, not least national defense. It's a sad but unsurprising fact that an enormous percentage of technological advances throughout history have been the result of military needs. Nothing focuses the mind like the threat of being conquered.

    On a more mundane level, government needs to set the rules, and a democratic government operating under the restrictions of a good constitution seems to be as good a model as we've yet found. Benevolent dictatorships are more efficient, but it's hard to ensure ongoing benevolency..

    Apropos to this forum, we need government to set the rules for things that affect others, such as the amount, type, and toxicity of emissions that individuals and corporations can generate. Ideally, these would be some wholesome intersection of common sense and hard science. Once the rules are set, government is also necessary to monitor and ensure compliance, ideally in the least intrusive and disruptive way possible.

    We clearly can't have businesses or individuals 'doing their own thing' completely without restriction. OWBs burning trash and green wood in residential areas are clearly not OK, just as businesses dumping arsenic into the groundwater is not OK.

    We also need government because we need something that's insulated from the passion and fads that grip popular emotions and distort judgment. Ideally, governments deliberate, seek expert counsel, and ponder the long-term implications before acting. I know that might seem a fantasy, but that's how it's supposed to work. The idea of 'statesman' might covey the thought.

    Wood and biofuels done properly can be a significant player in th energy sources of the future. We need clear and logical regulations that spell out what's acceptable and under what conditions.We could also benefit from clear standards that allow consumers to compare criteria such as efficiency and emissions in a meaningful way so that they can make more informed choices.

    By the same token, nuclear can and should be a part of our energy portfolio. Once again, clear and logical regulations based on actual science would go a long way towards moving us forward. Businesses will step up to the plate and invest if they know in advance what the rules are.

    In the current environment, people can sue businesses and often win huge settlements even when the business did NOTHING wrong. Essentially, the courts make up the rules after the fact, too often based on emotions and without any factual or scientific foundation at all. Study silicone breast implants if you want a sobering example of this. The nuclear industry is justifiably terrified of spurious lawsuits. Without clear rules about what they must do to be safe, they'll do nothing.
  6. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    An average house in this climate typically runs at least twice that.

    220 feet of well per ton would definitely push the performance up, though. Never hurts to have more heat exchange area, except when it comes to paying the well driller...

    Water-water heat pumps are readily available, here...

    Calculate out what they'll spend on fuel for the next 30 years...

    Up here a typical homeowner will end up spending the value of their house on fuel, by the time they pay off their mortgage. "Give me $30k now, and I'll save you $250k over the life of the system" isn't usually a hard sell... I'm sure it's more difficult down in MD, as the equipment/installation cost will be a bit lower, but the fuel quantity used will be a lot lower. Still, when folks see those sort of numbers, they tend to be willing to think about it.

    Joe
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    -snip-

    "Convincing people to make this investment is a big hurdle as most balk at $5000 for a high efficiency furnace. I couldn’t convince my neighbor to spend the extra $600 for a condensing furnace! First cost plays a big part in decisions over here…"

    Therein lies the rub. I can count on one hand the number of customers that I have heard these words from........ "What's the best way to do it from an efficiency standpoint?"
  8. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    regarding GSHPs, there's a fellow I'm acquainted with locally who's a builder, and installed a GSHP in his "last" house that he recently built for himself and his family (i.e. the place that he implemented everything he wants in a "keeper");

    in his situation, he uses his single well, which has a sufficiently huge standing column of water that the post-heat-pump water is simply dropped back down the casing.

    not all wells have enough flow/ depth of standing water table, nor would codes allow it in some places, but in his situation, it works like a charm, and avoided the cost of a second well

    the other thing that strikes me is that in _many_ places, there are fairly abundant shallow aquifers only 20-50 feet down (the things people used to rely on back when wells were dug not drilled). while those are too shallow to be viewed as a good idea for potable water in modern times, they seem like they'd be plenty deep enough to serve fine for heat pump purposes-- thus avoding the huge costs of drilling really deep wells for the HP
  9. SteveT

    SteveT Feeling the Heat

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    You sure about that statement? Guessing at a $200K "typical house" and a 30 year mortgage, that's $6,666 per year for fuel.
  10. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    The issue with "surface water" is the quality, and the potential for fouling of the heat exchanger. Those heat exchangers are expensive, and you don't want to damage them with contaminated water. Realistically, if you can't drink it, you probably shouldn't use it for an open-loop heat pump.

    And, of course, there's the "what if everyone did it?" problem with open-loop systems - if everyone is removing water and dumping it, they'll get the best possible efficiency for their heat pumps, but they will deplete the aquifer. Putting it back into the same well is better, in that regard, but reduces the efficiency of the heat pump.

    Yup, I'm pretty sure of that. Average is 800 gallons of oil per year. Oil averages 8-10% increase per year. Let's call it 8%, to be generous, and let's use the 2007 average price ($2.856 per gallon) to avoid the current spike that we're seeing. Given $2.856 to start, and 8% increase per year, the 30-year cost of oil is $304,366. That assumes a steady increase per year, so you can't use it to predict next year's price, but over the decades, it will be fairly accurate (and is probably very conservative).

    Oil is only going up, in the long term. I doubt it will stay steady, either. Probably going to spike sometime in the next 20 years.

    Joe
  11. SteveT

    SteveT Feeling the Heat

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    Not to quibble but there a couple of points that are misleading.

    First, I don't think there has been anywhere near 8 to 10% increase in oil price for a protracted period. Maybe there will be from here on but nobody knows for sure. Certainly, with the great increase year-over-year for the past few years you can get there for the recent past. But using a few years history to project 30 years into the future is, at best, tenuous. (As an example the reason that many houses in New England built in the early 1940's were not insulated because it made no economic sense. Oil was 5 cents/gallon. It would be much more than $4.00 or so if escalated at 8% for 65 years or so).

    Also your are using constant 2008 dollars in your calculation. If you used inflation-adjusted $ it would give a far different result (i.e., calculate the NPV, not the total dollars at today's value).

    The bottom line is that I don't doubt that there is very good ROI for putting in high efficiency systems. It just doesn't compare well with the value of the house itself.
  12. sweetheat

    sweetheat Member

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    nofo and joe please read the price anderson nuclear indemnity act. link provided by pybyr. investors are not going to accept the risk. they will never be built. they can't be safe. much to complicated, over engineered machines that are bound to fail because of the corruption, and lack of over-site necessary to produce a quality nuke machine that will last several generations. the act has been criticized by environmental groups stating it will indemnifies the DOE and contractors even in cases of gross negligence. the question was by herts of the uk asking about future heating sources. the only one i saw was from Hansson about drilling and GSHP's, to expensive and a compromise of the ground water everyone relies on. wood technology, solar, wind, tidal,and hydro are our alternatives. sweeheat
  13. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    The safety and reliability of nuclear plants worldwide is quite impressive, despite sensationalist stories to the contrary. We've got a fleet of reactors running way beyond their initial design life with an almost unbeatable safety record.

    Ignore the 'extrapolated mortality' - these are hypothetical deaths based on a seriously flawed model of biological response to radiation. Actual deaths due to all nuclear power related accidents comprise a very small number. Chernobyl stands at 57 as of the first 20 years after the accident according to the WHO, and it's by far the worst.

    In comparison, coal is estimated to cause 10,000 deaths per year. While that number may be sensationalized as well, it's pretty hard to argue that nuclear has a track record that's bad compared to other options, especially on a per-kwh basis. How many people die each year in logging accidents? How many people fall off roofs installing solar panels? What's the risk from hydropower dam failures?

    The problem is that we have been conditioned into an irrational fear of radiation that leads us to poor decisions when it comes to evaluating the actual risks of nuclear power.
  14. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    That figure is based upon the last three decades of oil price numbers. Feel free to verify it with the Feds, if you like.

    The calculation is based upon percentage change per year, effectively eliminating inflation in the past, since year-to-year inflation is small.

    The effect of future inflation is to make my numbers more conservative, not less. Only deflation would make the future numbers higher. I don't think we'll see deflation unless you plan on overthrowing the government sometime in the near future...

    Investors wouldn't accept the risk of shoddy construction. The P-A act is the cause of shoddy construction and accidents.

    Look at heating systems. Code compliance is easy. UL and W-H listings are hard, because those standards are set by the insurance companies, who actually have to pay out.

    You can get anything insured, but only doing it safely will be cost-effective. If UL were put in charge of nuclear safety, the standards would exceed anything the Feds might require.

    Which shows that you don't actually understand the subject. Pebble bed reactors are not complicated. They are elegantly simple. Most modern designs are. Worst case is that you damage the plant beyond repair. That's the worst case. Short of hitting the plant with an tactical nuclear weapon, you are not going to have any significant release of radiation, and if you nuked the plant, the plant would not be the issue, now would it?

    A major hydro dam is more dangerous than a nuclear plant. By several orders of magnitude.

    I would suggest putting down that axe you are grinding, and actually studying these issues objectively. I doubt that will happen, given the phobias that folks have around nuclear power, but please try. Research pebble bed reactors. Count up the number of operating reactors, and the number of injuries and deaths resulting from their use. Count up how many of these "complicated" machines are being operated by students at engineering schools. Just in our neck of the woods, both MIT and WPI operate research reactors. Cambridge and Worcester don't seem to be suffering from radiation leaks and reactor meltdowns, now do they? And those facilities are operated by students...

    Looking at lifecycle pollution levels, there really isn't anything as clean as nuclear.

    Wind and tidal destroy ecosystems. So does hydro, with the added "benefit" of creating better targets for terrorism than even nuclear reactors. The production of semiconductors is a very dirty process.

    Biomass is the cleanest of the alternatives you listed. However, the use of power tools (chainsaws and equipment) to cut wood would generate more pollution than nuclear, to produce the same amount of power that nuclear does.

    The question is not whether we will damage the environment to produce energy. The question is where the damage will occur, and how extensive it will be. There's no one solution that will fit all areas and fill all needs. The only certainty is that no one wants the damage to happen in his own back yard.

    Joe
  15. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Like it or not, nukes are going to play an increasing role in the energy future of the USA and likely the rest of the developed world. It is virtually the only technology currently in place and scaled to deliver the kind of KW that will be needed within the next 10 years. The only other viable option is coal despite what T Boone Pickens would have us believe. Not saying he's incorrect but ramping up wind and natural gas to take the place of coal fired electricity and liquid fuel for vehicles is pie in the sky thinking. We could buy and erect every wind generator made in the next 10 years and not come close to providing the KW needed. The infrastructure to handle diverse output from alternating locations is just not there. I have watched with interest the construction of two 2.5MW windys about 10 miles from my house here in Northern Lower Michigan. They started the process over 4 years ago and while they are close to complete at this date, they still haven't made even a tickle of juice.
    I have an acquaintance who is an engineer in a nuke plant in Wisconsin. The plant he works in is upwind of me placing me right in the path of the fallout from a meltdown. I don't lose any sleep over it. From conversations with him regarding the operation of the plant and the double and triple redundancy built into virtually every system in the place, I don't think I will ever have to worry about it either. A dental x-ray exposes a person to many times more radiation than is present right by the reactor. Workers who have had recent MRI's at a hospital set off alarms in the plant days after the test. As NoFo has alluded to, the newer type reactors are practically impossible to meltdown and my reactor engineer friend has said pretty much the same thing.
    Another friend of mine has a 24 year old son in the Navy. He and others his age are running the reactors on the USS Reagan. The oldest guy on the engineering staff is 29 from what he told me. The technology has gotten simpler not more complicated. The boat carries a 30 year supply on board so I don't think there are issues in handling and storing the glow in the dark stuff. I doubt they would use it in close quarters like a ship if there were.

    All that being said.........

    The answer is; Conserve first, Reduce second and re-use third. Then and only then can we think rationally about increasing production.

    AFA alternate heating sources that may carry high initial cost due to higher efficiency and difficulty of installation, I think that a $15,000 to $20,000 system will look exceedingly cheap when compared to energy costs in the very near future. Our fearless leaders in DC have probably just lit the fuse on the biggest round of inflation this country has ever seen. They basically just flushed the American dollar down the toilet due to firing up the monopoly money printing press at the Dept of Treasury. Unless I miss my guess, $150/barrel will be the good ole days within a year or two and $200 -$300 will be the normal range. I pray that I am wrong because prices in that area will basically shut down the economy of the whole world, not just the US.
  16. pybyr

    pybyr Minister of Fire

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    at times I risk becoming a contrarian among contrarians, and although I threw Price Anderson out there as the ULTIMATE example of a situation where gov't intervention is the only thing that got an industry off the ground, I AM intereested in learning more about these inherenrly meltdown-proof 4G reactors that people like Nofo and Joe are mentioning

    but, and in response to some of the other messages down the thread from this one I'm replying to, I still have questions about what even an inherently-failsafe-meltdown-proof reactor generates for waste.

    I've worked in private sector with some big corporate honchos, I've worked in government, and I've consistently seen in both settings that even when the investments are high, the stakes are significant, and the risks of error are significant, human individuals and institutions don't have a particularly good record (especially when you throw in greed, self-interest, incompetence, and politics, which have existed since time immemorial, and unfortunately are unlikely to be banished any time soon), the net results are not always ideally rational or optimal:

    see, e.g.
    http://www.35wbridgecollapse.net/

    if we can't maintain major bridges less than a century old (or usually younger) from falling into structural problems where they fail unexpectedly in the midst of use by the general public (and there are many more out there that aren't too close behind, and need constant watching)-- and the technology of bridge design and maintenance is NOT rocket science compared to any form of power plant, even a coal plant,-- then how will we, as a society, do at properly stabilizing/ encapsulating, and storing any sort of mid to high level rad waste that may still pose hazards on a scale of millenia, when some poor shmo of a future civilization may bumble upon it just like we from time to time bumble upon ruins from the ancients that we didn't know were there until we ran across them, like this
    http://news.yahoo.com/story//afp/20080908/ts_afp/afghanistanculturebuddha_080908163926

    I'd have been an engineer if I'd had the natural aptitude and quick horsepower under pressure at math. I didn't and instead, ended up in a career dealing with the conflict points among and between people and institututions and money and politics. It's convinced me that with some things, it's NOT about the TECHNOLOGY, it's whether we, as individuals and institutions, and nations and cultures, have the ability to deploy certain technologies in a sustainably safe and responsible manner-- and too much of what I see (see bridges, above) suggests to me that we tend, as individuals and as a species/ culture, or whatever, to over-state and over-rate our abilities to do so.

    I'm not aiming to just flame away here. convince me that the 4g or whatever reactors, or some other process, don't yield a lot of high level rad waste, or that we can really somehow manage the byproducts in a way that is safe from bungling and greed (last I knew, wer're still gridlocked as a nation on where to put any of the high-level stuff for the long haul), and I'm quite open to possibly changing my points of reference.

    My "axe" of my worldview is basically that everything fails sometimes, sooner or later, whether the unforeseen problems leading to the failure are in the technology or humans/ institutions running it. So I tend to prefer things that leave relatively small, relatively short-duration craters.

    PS- I really appreciate the consistently high level of both knowledge and civility here in the boiler room- this seems like a place of a lot of smart and active minds who can disagree without becoming disagreeable, and that's invaluable not only to the advancement of technologies, but our survival as a species in these increasingly challenging energy/econonmic/ political times that we seem very obviously thrust into
  17. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    The intervention certainly did allow the industry to get off the ground... with designs that were rudimentary.

    Limited by the need for private insurance, designs would have been matured before being brought to production.

    There's some basic info about the Generation IV reactors on Wikipedia.

    Passive safety is the buzzword. In order for a reaction to take place, a certain amount of neutron flux must be present. Too little fuel in one place, and the neutron flux is not sufficient. That's why uranium ore does not "melt down," but a concentrated pile of enriched uranium can. You make the coolant an integral part of keeping the neutrons bouncing back into the fuel, so any loss of coolant allows the neutrons to escape the fuel pellets without being returned, thereby killing the chain reaction.

    You further design so that the heat of decay does not exceed the melting temperature of the graphite blocks that carry the fuel, and it is literally impossible to melt-down, as a matter of physics. The chain reaction will self-cancel, and the decay heat is insufficient to melt the core.

    All reactors generate waste. It's very dangerous stuff. Pebble bed reactors are nice because each pebble contains multiple layers of containment for the fuel pellet, and you dispose of whole pebbles. So raw, spent fuel is never handled. The reactor has no fixed core to wear out, and you can refuel "on the fly," so there is no major maintenance overhaul with an exposed core. The waste still needs to be dealt with, but each pebble can be used to its fullest extent, so less waste is generated (as opposed to a fixed-core design, where you take even the half-spent fuel out, because refueling is such a big deal).

    In any case, the waste is dangerous, but the quantity is tiny. The amount of land destroyed by flooding to make a single major hydroelectric plant is more than enough to store all the nuclear waste we'd generate in centuries, and have room to a comfortable safe zone around it.

    Nothing is perfect, but having the waste contained and concentrated is a lot better than spreading the damage all over the planet with airborne pollution and such.

    Bury it deep, and put some wells all around it, and we can generate geothermal energy from the waste heat of the decomposing nuclear material!

    I joke about that, but deep-well geothermal is probably where we're going to be getting much of our power, in 100 years. Technology like that and space-based solar arrays will take decades to bring to fruition. Nuclear is not the ultimate answer, because it relies on a non-renewable fuel source. But nuclear is something we have now, which can carry us until we are able to develop the technologies that are necessary to future energy production.

    Joe
  18. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Now that we have solved all the problems with nuclear energy ;-) , back to the heat pump and efficiency discussion.

    There are a couple different ways to use a water source heat pump. The method that Hansson was referring to is a closed loop system that doesn't involve ground water at all. The open loop systems (what I call pump and dump) aren't going to work on a large scale for the reasons noted. If you happen to have a plentiful source of ground water, or even a large body of water like a pond, you can use this water in a once-through system as long as you have an environmentally friendly way to dispose of it. You can't reinject it into the ground in most areas and dumping it in a stream will lead to thermal pollution of that stream. If everyone did it, there would be big problems.

    Trevor, your friend the builder has what I think of as a hybrid GSHP by using well water and reinjecting it back into the same well. There is a (small) risk of ground water contamination with such a setup, but it is going to be thermally equivalent to a closed loop system. Electrically, it will consume more energy as the well pump is going to burn up more KW than the circ pump of a closed loop system. Can we call this a poor man's GSHP? Pay me now or pay me later...

    Heaterman: I run into the price vs. efficiency debate daily and have to justify the use of high efficiency equipment on a regular basis. I usually bang out some ROI numbers before I get asked to "value engineer" out the high priced stuff. The $600 furnace upgrade was a small example. How about a $6000 device that would save $50,000 a year? I've seen it happen...

    Joe: Convert some more of the numbers in Hansson's post to English and be even more amazed. 500 feet may be a lot, but it adds to efficiency. What I found MORE amazing was that they are heating with 95F water! Those houses must be very tight and have hot water circulating through everything. I would also argue that the house is probably a lot smaller than the majority of homes in the US. We have 2 bedroom townhomes around here that only have 1-1/2 tons of heat pump. The climate makes a difference to an air source heat pump, but not much to a GSHP.

    I'd appreciate a link to a water-water heat pump. Every time I punch "heat pump" into Google, I come up with a lot of noise and not much signal. My parents have a spring that is dumping 4 GPM of 55 degree water year round and I think I can do something with it.

    Chris
  19. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

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  20. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    And to installation cost, at least here in the Granite State. Anything subterranean costs a pretty penny, here.

    The climate makes a difference in terms of demand. You can heat identical 2000-square-foot houses here and in MD, but one is going to consume a lot more BTU's...

    I'm aware why European homes take less energy, aside from that issue. Americans like space. We would consider average European housing sizes to be poverty-line or below. They consider our houses to be pointlessly large and wasteful. It's a cultural difference, but the technology isn't going to erase it.

    Climatemaster and Waterfurnace are two brands that spring to mind.

    Just make sure you have a low-temp way to do something with the water - in-floor radiant is the best way to use it.

    You also need a buffer tank (like thermal storage for a wood boiler, but smaller) to prevent short-cycling under times of low demand. Make sure the tank is rated for chilled water, if you intend to use the system for cooling, during the summer.

    Joe
  21. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2007
    Messages:
    3,406
    Loc:
    Addison County, Vermont
    As humans we all tend to make the same mistakes. It's easier to see when others are making them than when we make them ourselves. This is a wood heat forum, so we can all be wise and smug when we see clueless public officials banning all outdoor wood burning appliances because someone smoldered a load of green wood in an old-style OWB.

    We're smarter than that. We know that there are better technologies and better techniques. We know that wood can be a safe and clean energy source. We know better than to lump all wood burning technologies together and judge them on the basis of a poorly operated OWB. We would never make such a mistake.

    Until we start talking about nuclear power.

    There are technical problems to be resolved to bring 4th generation reactors to production. However, the most critical issues are political, and most of those are based on fear and misunderstanding.

    Nuclear waste disposal is a good example. As it turns out, a lot of current waste could serve as fuel for some of the 4th generation reactor designs. Anything else could be encased in glass and dropped into a seafloor subduction zone (where a tectonic plate is being driven underneath another plate). A properly designed container would bury itself in the seafloor, where it will then over time be reabsorbed beneath the earth's mantle, melted into magma, and not reappear for millions of years - well beyond the time required to be safe. Subduction zones are deep, and the technology to retrieve items buried in the seafloor at those depths does not exist and certainly would be far beyond the reach of terrorists and/or rogue states. Also, impossible to do without being observed.

    That's just one possible solution.

    If your mind is open to learning new things, here are a couple that might surprise you:

    1) The 'Linear No Threshold' (LNT) model for calculating the risk from low-level exposure to radiation is questionable. Data for US popuation shows lung cancer risk DECREASES with increased radon levels by zip code. Original studies are here - (links at the bottom of the page). They take a while to download. The language is mathematically complex, but the graphs are relatively easy to understand.

    2) Apartment buildings were built in Taiwan with steel heavily contaminated by radioactive Cobalt-60. People lived in these apartments for 20 years. Cancer and genetic mutations among residents and their children were both about 95% LOWER than the general population. A good synopsis of the study is here.

    3) The abstract of a Japanese study of cancer mortality in a spa town with extremely high radon levels.

    4) Google 'radiation hormesis' for some interesting reading.

    There are literally hundreds of these out there. You won't hear much about them. It isn't exciting or scandalous, so it doesn't make good news. Scientists are rightly very skeptical about data that contradicts what 'everybody knows', and it will take time for this to be absorbed and reflected in public policy.

    However, I think it's safe to say that we don't really understand all there is to know about low-level radiation, and there's very solid evidence that our current thinking vastly overstates the risks of low level radiation exposure.

    It's fascinating that a very high percentage of locations that have been historically health spas have extremely high background radiation. Perhaps over generations, people noticed that the residents of those areas lived longer and were healthier.
  22. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    391
    Loc:
    Sweden,Leksand
    I believe the avrege Swedish house is 150 squarer meters. avrege !

    The new building's are getting bigger.And the new building's laws are so hard that it`s impossible to build a house that are heated whit only electricity.You got to have a heat-pump or bioenergy.
    If you build a new house and heat it whit electricity the limit are 55 kWh/m2..
    55 kWh/m2 includes water for shower
    You need a heat pump
  23. sweetheat

    sweetheat Member

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Messages:
    230
    Loc:
    MDI/ME
    what will erase it is our over consumption. We will be there soon enough joe. we do not see any prescribed exposure to radiation if a person is well. I know sunlight works well for my psoriasis. what are GWHP's doing to your ground water in sweden? sweetheat
  24. Hansson

    Hansson Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    391
    Loc:
    Sweden,Leksand
    Well I dont now.I some towns they have placed the drill holes to close to other holes.
    Then the cop drops.And it have been some cases whit polluted water.

    Now you have have a permit for drilling.

    In other towns it`s not allowed to have GWHP's.
    You must have the district heating that's heated whit waste and bio fuel.

    It`s really popular whit GWHP's here.
    Everyone is switching to it.

    Except me.I like my boiler :)
  25. oilbegone

    oilbegone New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    62
    Loc:
    Cape Ann MA
    Anyone looked into the possibility of harnessing some of the energy from our wood gasifiers to power a micro combined heat and power device?
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