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Hidden Power Stations

Posted Jan 17th, 2018

Hidden Power Stations SAMANTHA ZEITZ 

One thing most modern technology has in common is that when in use, it will generate heat. Researchers are now think they can use the wasted heat as hidden power source. 

According to Phys.org, a science, research and technology news service, The Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF) wants to create “urban power plants” from facilities that produce excess heat. Spaces like freezers and IT server rooms could be transformed and used to heat entire housing estates. In order to distribute the heat, it’s sent into a low-temperature district-heating grid. This model is already being used as part of new housing projects. 

There are three main benefits of using a lower temperature heating distribution system. For starters, it’s a way to put wasted heat to good use that would otherwise go unused. The process could also increase generation capacity and help increase efficiency of renewable heat sources that are already put in place, like solar and heat pumps. Finally, it’s a cheaper option with lower installation and running costs. 

A few years ago, a mini-supermarket was introduced in Trondheim, Norway that incorporates the system. They use 30 per cent less electricity than four similar locations in the capital of mid-Norway. Senior scientist Armin Harfner of SINTEF Energy Research says this store could be the most energy-efficient example in Norway currently. 

The project manager has reported that two main areas are focused on to help reduce energy consumption in the store. For starters, they looked at lighting control to see where they could save energy. The store is on an automatic system that switches lights off when it’s bright enough outside to light the store. A transparent aerogel insulation material was installed to help distribute natural light, thus eliminating the need for expensive sun-blinders. They are also took full advantage of ventilation, refrigeration and heating systems. When needed, the store uses surplus heat that’s already been stored in tanks to help control temperatures in the store. The building features four 170-metre-deep energy storage wells that can be used for air-conditioning and dehumidifying throughout the summer and then used as a heat source in the winter. The end result –the store doesn’t rely on direct use of electricity for their heating. 

Energy auditing authorities say there are plenty of examples of business operators discovering creative ways to find hidden power and in the long run, save money. Since each business operation is different, a comprehensive review of energy use is paramount to the process. Knowing all energy demands, including those that are not so obvious, helps establish needs and allows energy experts to recommend the best possible solutions.

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