What does the future hold?
As we look to the coming decades, it’s clear that our current fuel sources will have to evolve.
These are some of the ideas around potential future sources of fuel and energy…
Jelly Fish – A Nano Power Source?
Jellyfish that glow in the dark contain the raw ingredients for a new kind of fuel cell. Their glow is produced by green fluorescent protein, referred to as GFP. A team at The Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden placed a drop of GFP onto aluminum electrodes and then exposed that to ultraviolet light. The protein released electrons, which travel a circuit to produce electricity.
The same proteins have been used to make a biological fuel cell, which makes electricity without an external light source. Instead of an external light source, a mixture of chemicals such as magnesium and luciferase enzymes, which are found in fireflies, were used to produce electricity from the device.
These fuel cells can be used on small, nano devices such as those that could be implanted in a person to diagnose or treat disease.
The Hotspot – A simple idea to save energy on your geyser.
To find out more on the Hotspot and where to get one for your home, click here.
Simple , effective and CHEAP.
Many people believe that the only way to reduce your energy consumption on your geyser is to install a solar geyser , solar retrofit or a heat pump.
A decent solar system or heat pump will easily set you back around R14000-00.
In these times with petrol increases and the cost of living skyrocketing, no one has a spare R14 000 to use to cut down on their hot water usage and save money every month.
Now, Saving Energy has created a simpler and MUCH cheaper way to do this using 4 simple products to deliver around a 40%-50% saving on your hot water energy costs.
“Quattro for geysers.”
There are 4 products in this package. all proven to save electricity consumption on geysers.
1) The Geyser timer – proven and effective in controlling geyser operation times- saving around 18%-22%
2) The geyser blanket – proper insulation prevents water heat loss and saves electricity- saving around 8%-10%.
3) The Energy/water efficient shower head – by reducing water flow to 9 L per minute, this saves hot water (and electricity) as well as cold water- saving around 8%
4) The Hotspot – a new innovation developed in SA. This geyser element sleeve funnels hot water to the top of the geyser making it available faster and saving more than 20% energy usage when used with a timer! See more on Hotspot here..
Quattro for Geysers now available- Just R2990 per geyser excl VAT.
These 4 proven devices combined could save you upwards of 40% on your energy costs this cold season and reduce the ESKOM Tariff Increase impact on your pocket.
Solar Thermal Air Conditioning Systems-The Technology is gaining ground.
The post below was published on January 2nd in the Guam Daily Post and it shows how the solar thermal air conditioning systems are being used across the globe to reduce energy costs on air conditioning.
This system is also available in South Africa and you can see more on solar thermal here.
Tapping into the sun’s heat to reduce air-conditioning costs
On a tropical island where air conditioning provides a measure of comfort from the heat, cooling costs account for a significant portion of a residential, commercial, industrial and government utility bill.
For an institution such as the Guam Department of Education, operating and maintaining nearly 3,000 air-conditioning units across schools and offices puts a dent into the department’s monthly energy bill.
GDOE spends about $12.3 million on power, according to the Bringing Energy Savings To Schools study, which was funded by the Guam Power Authority.
The study provided several recommendations to reduce GDOE’s power consumption. GPA General Manager John Benavente recommended tapping into solar-assisted thermal air-conditioning units, which he said would use a block of about five or 10 units to cool the school, “almost like central air.”
Lynn Scott, chief operations officer at Green Energy Solutions Inc., broke down the basic elements behind solar-assisted thermal air conditioning. GESI is the solar thermal dealer for the patent holder on Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.
Solar Thermal technology
Scott showed a prototype of a solar thermal collector – a proprietary system consisting of 20 glass cylinder tubes each lined with thin solar heat-conducting film. Inside the cylinders are high-pressure copper coils that serve as a heat exchanger. The tubes are in a rack made from corrosion-resistant aluminum.
“Solx Energy out of Great Britain owns the patent for solar thermal technology for refrigeration and air conditioning. One of their products under that patent is called Thermx, a solar thermal collector. What it does is it helps the AC’s compressor run less,” he said.
While the setup resembles a solar water heater system, the solar thermal system is designed for refrigerants, according to Scott.
“You don’t see a lot of electrical wires, not a lot of moving parts. It is a very simple setup,” he said.
The anticipated life span of a solar thermal collector system is at least 25 years, according to Scott. “You will end up replacing your aircon three or four times long before you lose the use of your solar thermal.”
Practical application for solar thermal.
According to Scott, the compressor is basically the major energy consumer in an air-conditioning unit. He said a typical compressor has two primary functions — to heat the refrigerant freon gas and to push the gas through the system.
While a typical compressor uses electricity to perform these functions, the solar thermal collector uses the sun to heat the refrigerant gas and kinetic energy to push the gas around the coils.
According to Solx Energy, the collector can be integrated with cooling and heating systems to reduce energy consumption by an average of 30 to upwards of 50 percent with minimal space requirements. Scott said the technology can be used for schools, government buildings, and commercial and industrial facilities.
The solar-assisted thermal technology also can be combined with other systems to optimize its benefits.
To illustrate the potential energy savings, Scott provided an example of a GESI project that combines solar-assisted thermal technology for a warehouse facility on island. For the project, GESI is installing a 60-ton VRF (variable refrigerant flow) air-conditioning unit attached to the solar thermal collector, LED lighting and photovoltaics.
“With everything combined for that project – lights, changing to VRF, adding the solar thermal and adding solar PV – they should be able to reduce their energy consumption by around $9,000 a month,” Scott said, adding, “Their power bill is usually $13,500 a month. When we are done, we should see around 80 percent reduction in their power bill.”
The technology also could work for the GDOE school system, according to Scott.
“The schools are great. The reason for that is, with a VRF multisystem, the classrooms are just right in a row, so the installation is quite simple,” Scott said. “The majority of the schools on Guam also have nice flat roofs that are single story, so the collector can be tucked up in a roof and you won’t even see it.”
A VRF multisystem consists of a single outdoor condensing unit, which is connected to several indoor cooling units. “Solar thermal works with all brands of VRF because it is a modulated compression system,” according to Scott. A modulated compression system is a component in an air-conditioning unit that regulates capacity based on the cooling demands of the space.
The cost of installing a solar thermal collector depends on several factors, including the location of the setup and the type of air-conditioning units, among others.
For more on Solar Thermal Air Conditioning systems in South Africa – click here.