| research and regulation
Waste Heat Drives
Heat Pump Cooler
Engineers at Oregon State University have
designed a heat-pump cooling system that
runs off the waste heat from an internal combustion engine. The U.S. Army hopes to add the
unit to stationary diesel generator sets, where exhaust
heat could drive air conditioning for electronic
equipment or living quarters. The strategy could
improve cooling efficiency by 20 to 30 percent.
The system, based on microchannel heat-transfer
technology developed jointly by OSU and the Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory, should be demonstrated this summer, according to Richard Peterson,
a professor of mechanical engineering at OSU.
The first prototype will be a 5-kilowatt cooling
system, a little larger than an automobile air conditioner, Peterson said. Eventually the new heat-driven
cooler might replace most automotive air conditioning, making good use of heat energy that’s now being
blown out the tailpipe. The integration of a generator
into this technology might allow it to also produce
electricity instead of air conditioning, depending on
what was needed.
A chiller could also be driven by moderately concentrated solar energy to provide a building’s air
conditioning on hot, sunny days.
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Industries Hit Energy
Goal One Year Early
The Green Power Market Development Group,
a coalition of 15 large corporations organized by
the World Resources Institute (WRI), announced
in April that it has achieved its initial goal of
replacing 1,000 megawatts of utility power with
on-site, clean energy sources.
The group, founded in 2000, reached the
ambitious 10-year goal in nine years, displacing
enough power to avoid construction of a large
utility plant. Participating companies are Alcoa,
Dow, DuPont, FedEx, General Motors, Georgia-Pacific, Google, IBM, Interface, Johnson & Johnson, Michelin, NatureWorks, Pitney Bowes, Staples
The WRI also worked with Apple, BT Americas,
HP, Intel, J.P. Morgan, Toyota, Wal-Mart, Wells
Fargo and Whole Foods to complete renewable energy projects that contributed to meeting the goal.
In achieving the goal, companies learned that
several mature technologies are cheaper than util-ity-purchased power in most states. These include
geothermal heat pumps, large wind turbines and
solar water-heating installations. Photovoltaic arrays
and small wind turbines are still more expensive
than average grid power, but the gap is closing.
The WRI released a new report, “Harnessing
Nature’s Power: Deploying and Financing OnSite
Renewable Power.” See wri.org/publication/
Schüco Designs a
Schüco has redesigned its photovoltaic (PV)
modules to help them stay cool. As they heat up
in the sun, today’s silicon PV cells lose about one-half percent of their power for every degree Celsius.
Schüco engineers used the FloVEN T computational
fluid dynamics (CFD) software from Mentor Graphics Corporation Mechanical Analysis Division (
formerly Flomerics) to model energy absorption and
reflection and to simulate heat flow out to the aluminum frame and surrounding air. By optimizing heat
flow, Schüco gets a cooler, more powerful module.