Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fjärrvärme-Distance heating Phase III

Phase I - Heating my home with distance heating - source Gärstad

Phase II - Examples of the distribution network (piping) that makes it possible for hot water (100 C) from Gärstad to reach my home and most homes and buildings in Linköping

Phase III - Introduction to Gärstad
     The green arrow shows the location of the photographs I took at noon today, 16 February 2013 at Gärstad. 58.43341, 15.65811 GPS coordinates
 To the north is farmland and a large lake Roxen. E4 (European Highway 4 crosses from west to east).
South of E4 you see the northeastern part of the city of Linköping (Lower left corner) and suburbs northeast of the city (Lower right corner).

When my distance heating was installed about 10 years ago only the red-brown building in the background was present. That is the original Gärstad municipal waste incinerator, described in my now out-of print text book Environmental Geology 2d edition. I hope to add material here from that book but not today.

Since Linköping has been growing fast, the original incinerator could not meet the needs of the system, so a new facility was built - the gray building at the right above and shown here from a different vantage point.

As you can see, the entire exterior is glass so if you visit you can see the entire interior of one of the most technologically advanced incinerators anywhere.

I close today by making a comment on thinking in my part of the USA, New England. There, in New England is an ngo, Clean Water, of which I am a member. Clean Water illustrates the American dilemma, if we may call it that. Clean Water is unalterably opposed to incineration, presumably because some time in the past it saw incinerators that were perhaps like the Baltimore incinerator I used to see when I was at Johns Hopkins.

Eventually I will try to get Clean Water to review my blog and, when I am in Westport, MA in June I will make a point of talking with a Clean Water representative to try to learn why the organization cannot move into the 21st century.

That's all for today but maybe some pictures at my Facebook (maybe even here) of the landscape I then went to in order to ski ,talk with my beloved oak trees, and study animal tracks on the frozen Götakanal.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fjärrvärme-Distance Heating Phase II

In Phase I (14 February 2013) I showed you the ultimate destination of the hot water produced at one of the incinerators run by Tekniskaverken here in Linköping, Sweden. The destination was the heat exchanger that is keeping my radiators warm

So here in Phase II I show you the installation of a new set of distribution pipes where the diameter of each pipe gets smaller and smaller the closer that pipe is to an end user.

 Here you see a welder working on a
new set of pipes that are now buried beneath the Long Distance Bus site in Linköping. Hot water moves out from the incinerator and not so warm water returns to the incinerator in the return line to be heated once again.

Here you see the same pipes waiting to be connected to the next smaller pipes that were to be placed where the two vans are located.

Finally, the parking lot was excavated so that these smaller diameter pipes could be put in place.

New apartment complexes have been going up at what to me is with amazing speed. Since every such complex is heated by this system the underground pipe system stops growing.

In a few days - perhaps - I will be able to show you the above ground indications that there is a feeder pipe buried under my front yard. We have had so much snow on the ground since December 4th, that the heat rising from my feeder line has never been enough to melt the snow to create a line on the ground.

Now we are having a few days of high temperature (0 to + 2 C) so maybe that line will appear.

Phase III will be to show you where the waste trucks discharge the waste, which is then fed
into the incinerators to heat the water that will flow through these pipes.

Now it is TGIF time on a Friday night in Sweden.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Today the NYT had a short and simple story telling us that Mayor Bloomberg wants to ban styrofoam cups (turns out they are not really styrofoam, but you get the picture). The very first commenter wrote that you have to ban them because you cannot burn them - toxic and all that.

Since the room in which I am writing this is heated by burning municipal waste, maybe even styrofoam, I posted a comment. I got Emails shortly after so here is Phase 1 of Imagine if You Gave Up Your Oil Burner.

I will begin at the final destination of the hot water that was heated to 100 C at a municipal waste incinerator here in Linköping. In the next day or two I will take you back to the incinerator itself. Ett steg i sänder, one step at a time.

Here in a clean room in my basement is a small white box about 35 inches high (writing this for Americans where cm do not yet rule). The room used to be filled with an oil burner and an oil tank big enough to get us through the Swedish winter (70 days of snow on the ground so far).

The oil burner was like most I had in America, a pain. Same with the tank. So one fine day I booked installation of fjärrvärme (distance heating) and soon there was this box in a room that could now be used.

So we take off the cover and see that there is a pipe that feeds the hot water into the box and a pipe through which the somewhat cooler water can return to the incinerator. Down in the right corner is a small pump - perfectly quiet - and there are two heat exchangers.

We can take a look at one of them. You can see the copper object in the background. That is one of two devices where the incoming hot water can heat water in a closed system in the house. This one heats the water that flows to all the radiators on three levels. I confess I think it is amazing that this 12 inch long device can accomplish this much heat transfer, but it does.

There is an even smaller exchanger that heats the water that goes to the bathrooms and kitchens (3 and 2 respectively). Even more amazing is that this heating takes place on demand, none of the hot water tanks that often had to be replaced when I lived in Rochester, New York.

So this is phase I showing what I, the 100% satisfied person (with renters above), have instead of that oil burner.

As I noted in my Times comment, I would never return to the USA if I had to move into a house or apartment heated by an oil or natural gas burner. Not for me.

Silent, fume free, and fire-hazard free wins every time, especially when you get an entire basement room as part of the bargain.

Will be back tomorrow to show you part of the distribution system. Stay tuned.

2013-02-14 kl 14:12 Eastern Standard Time USA

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Never in New England-Only in Sweden

It is snowing here in Sweden and it snowing a lot harder in the states where I grew up and lived in the USA - RI, MA, CT, VT, NY. (Added note: Blogspot formatting is a problem today but the story gets told anyway. My Gmail address is next to the post in case you want to communicate)

NOTE ADDED 11 FEBRUARY 2013 15:30 Central European Time As a result of reading even more NYT comments and replies, I realize that one of the most helpful contributions to discussion of this subject would be to be able to find out, for a given region, where the weakest links are. For example, here in Linköping, I do not recall ever seeing any exposed wires even fairly far out into the suburbs. What I do not know is where the main distribution lines are. Then it would be of interest to have the historical record showing what the weakest links were when there were significant failures. Since my two cities, Linköping, Sweden and Burlington, Vermont are the same size and both experience months of winter weather one could learn something if one had the data. I have often thought that perhaps the very large scale dairy farms northwest of Linköping may storms best, assuming that the gigantic wind turbines that dot that landscape function throughout. A farm that had ground-source geothermal and its own large-scale wind turbine (never seen any that large in Vermont) might do quite well. END OF NOTE. REST FILED 10 FEB.

Therefore since 5 AM Swedish time (23.00 yesterday in those states above) I have been following the Great Snowstorm in the Northeast.

This led me to file a familiar comment on the sad practice in America of hanging residential power lines from wooden or other poles creating a gigantic tangle if you could see it from above.

The good news is that, for the first time, many other NYT readers are delivering the same message I have delivered many times. Just go to the Times (2013-02-09), find the main story about the big storm and go the comments and then Reader Recommendations. There you will find American Mom in first place with her right-on-target comment. Read it and recommend her.

In the Times comments I noted that it is hard to illustrate the situation here in Sweden since if everything is underground, what's to see. Then I looked out and saw that the streetlights were turning on and Eureka, that is what to see.
Apelgatan kl. 16.00 9/2 2013
So here we are looking down Apple Street (Apelgatan in Swedish).
 Nice streetlights, no wires. Where are the wires? Underneath my feet of course.

No wires to the red house but there is even more to (not) be seen.

The picture below is the front yard of my neighbor at Apelgatan 9. There is something else buried beneath the snow next to his flagpole. The something else is a 120 meter borehole, the key element of Ground Source Geothermal that heats his house and provides hot water as well. 
Ground source geothermal
Apple Street
Look no wires
No oil tank, no oil truck, no fumes, no nothing.
 Just 24/7 renewable energy. My front yard looks
 just like his, and there is something buried
under  my front yard also. That something
 is a pipe through which hot water flows 
24/7 to a heat exchanger where the water
to my radiators is heated and to 
another heat exchanger that 
heats the water 
for bathrooms and kitchen. 
No oil tank, no hazardous 
natural gas pipeline  .