SpinOffs

   

Is the Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Market Reaching Critical Mass?

by Dr. David Schowalter on May 11, 2018 9:13:25 AM

There is obviously a huge amount of interest in Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (sCO2) within the energy industry. One reason is because sCO2 Brayton power cycles operate in the same way as other Brayton cycles, but with a much higher power density. This has the potential for greatly reducing the size and cost of equipment. Additionally, efficiencies can reach as high as 40% for an sCO2 system, compared to about 33% for a typical heat recovery system. 

Ground Source Heat Energy Storage for Power Generation

by Francis A. Di Bella, P.E. on Nov 15, 2017 3:28:25 PM

Have you ever been to the beach on a very hot day? Then I am sure you noticed that the sand is very, very hot, uncomfortably so. Congratulations, you have had first-hand experience with ground source energy storage! Now, as you were hopping across the burning sands, seeking out tufts of grass to cool your burning feet, did you ever wonder how to harness the energy stored in the sand? I have, because it’s too hot for me to read on the beach and sand is a great place to draw diagrams and write equations.

 

Who has not dreamed of living on an island? You’re getting away from it all, walking alone along a secluded beach, as the ocean gently laps at shore…ahhhh. Excuse me – I have to go search for vacation packages!

 

OK, I’m back. Ironically, the very thing that attracts people to islands is the same thing that makes them a nightmare to live on when disasters strike - being “cut off” from the mainland. A recent example is Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria roared through with 190 mph winds that completely wiped out the power across the island. Well over a month later, most of the island is still without power and clean drinking water is in short supply. It will take years for the island to recover.

 

We Are All Being Robbed!  Some Thoughts on Energy Heat Recovery

by Francis A. Di Bella, P.E. on Sep 27, 2017 10:12:54 PM

There are not many people who would argue that if you only received 30% of a commodity that you need to purchase every day to enable you to have your share of “…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, then you should have some recourse to get the rest of your order or some money back. However, each day, everyone in the United States and throughout the world purchases energy. The availability of a ready source of affordable energy is one of the criteria for a country’s industrial economy and the prosperity of its citizens. Every engineer learns very quickly that not all the energy you pay for can be transformed into useful form. The engine in the transport vehicle that brings you to work is likely to have an efficiency as low as 25%. The hot water for the lavatories in your office building has been heated with a much more respectable efficiency of 80-90%, at least according to the First Law of Thermodynamics.  However, if your office building is heating water to only 105-110°F, using a fossil fuel-fired furnace, then the Second Law of Thermodynamics can be used to determine the second law efficiency to be only 15%. In contemporary engineering thermodynamics terms, you’ve increased the entropy of the universe. In contemporary layman’s terms, you’ve been robbed!

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