June 12, 2014: Vol. 13, No. 24 Advancing HVAC&R to Serve Humanity
And Promote a Sustainable World  



 

 

 
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Industry News

DOE launches Online Geothermal Data System
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has officially launched the National Geothermal Data System (NGDS), an online open-source platform that facilitates the discovery and use of geothermal data, enabling researchers to speed geothermal energy development. This online tool will allow the industry to access quantifiable, technical data in digital format. The goal of the NGDS is to accelerate research and development to drive down the cost and improve the accuracy of subsurface exploration, while encouraging investment in geothermal energy production. The public data platform encompasses thousands of databases, geologic maps, and reports.

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Decentralization of Electricity Grid Leading to 'Personal Power Plants'
FORT COLLINS, Colo.—A medium-sized city north of Denver is ground zero for one of the most ambitious energy agendas of any municipality in the United States. Fort Collins, Colo., population 150,000, is trying to do something that no other community of its size has ever done: transform its downtown into a net zero energy district, meaning it will consume no more energy in a given year than it generates. And the city as a whole is aiming to reduce its carbon emissions by 80% by 2030. To make that happen, engineers are preparing to deploy an array of advanced energy technologies, including combined-cycle gas turbines to replace aging coal-fired plants, as well as rooftop solar photovoltaics, solar gardens, wind turbines, thermal and electricity storage, and microgrids. The local utility, like utilities all over the world, is dealing with the dissolution of the traditional regulated-monopoly model of electricity production. An article in engineering magazine IEEE Spectrum cites Fort Collins as one case study of a growing trend of decentralizing the electricity grid, enabling businesses, factories, campuses, and households to provide their own electricity for much of the day and most of the year.

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GSA Launches Data Program to Save Energy in Federal Buildings
WASHINGTON—The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will use Green Button technology to save energy costs across the federal government's building portfolio. Green Button is an industry-led effort that allows electricity customers to download building and household energy-use data in a user-friendly format. A December 2013 presidential memorandum set a new target for federal agencies to increase their consumption of renewable energy to 20% of their total amount of electric energy use by 2020. GSA, along with the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, launched a Green Button pilot program to demonstrate the efficacy of integrated Green Button energy analytics.

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Nanoparticle Innovation Could Make Solar Panels More Affordable
TORONTO—Researchers say a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticles could make solar panels cheaper, lighter, and more flexible. The nanoparticles are called colloidal quantum dots, and researchers at the University of Toronto's Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering think they could, aside from improving solar cell production, help developers create improved infrared lasers, gas sensors, infrared-light-emitting diodes and more. Colloidal quantum dots rely on two types of semiconductors to operate: n-type, which has a wealth of electrons, and p-type, which has few electrons. Normally, this bifurcated setup has unintended results when the dots are exposed to air, with the n-type fusing with oxygen atoms and relinquishing all its electrons. However, the researchers were able to develop a new type of colloidal quantum dot that avoids this pitfall.

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Temperatures and Tempers Heat Up in India
NEW DELHI—Angry protests broke out in India’s capital this week over power blackouts as summer temperatures soar, fueling concerns of a repeat of the electricity crisis of two years ago that blacked out half the country and left more than 600 million people without electricity. Residents took to the streets at around midnight June 10 in New Delhi’s northeast, attacking vehicles as frustration mounts over the power cuts. Riots have also erupted in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, with residents storming a power substation near the capital, Lucknow. Recent temperatures in New Delhi have reached 45°C (113°F). The New Delhi government announced emergency-power saving measures on June 8, including cutting electricity at the city’s shopping malls, turning off street lights and ordering government offices to switch off air conditioners at certain times. Overloading in the system resulted in the power cuts beginning in early June, when peak demand in the city reached 5,600 MW. Damage to some transmission lines during a recent major thunderstorm in New Delhi, home to more than 16 million people, has added to the problems.

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In other news...

DuPont Says 50% of U.S. Vehicles Will Use HFO-1234yf by 2018
International Code Council Releases 2015 Codes
Clothes Dryers Added to Energy Star Program
New York, New Jersey Get $1 Billion for Climate Change Resiliency Projects
Commanding Officer of Nuclear Sub Gives Dire Account of 'Catastrophic' AC Failure
ABB, University Partner on Electric Vehicle Fast-Charging Stations
Swegon Acquires Vibro-Acoustics

Feature of the Week

VAV Reheat Versus Active Chilled Beams & DOAS
By Jeff Stein, P.E., Member ASHRAE; and Steven T. Taylor, P.E., Fellow ASHRAE
Dedicated outdoor air systems (DOAS) plus active chilled beam (ACB) systems are often compared to variable air volume reheat (VAVR) systems in terms of energy efficiency, first cost, air quality, etc. The ASHRAE Golden Gate Chapter held a head-to-head competition to see how the systems stacked up against each other. Three mechanical engineering firms provided a Design Development (DD) level design for a real office building currently in design at the UC Davis Medical Center in Davis, Calif. One firm designed an ACB+DOAS system, another firm designed a VAVR system, and the third designed a hybrid combination of these two systems. A fourth engineering firm simulated each of the three designs using the EnergyPlus energy simulation program. This article presents the results of the tests in real and "what-if" scenarios, and declares a winner.



This article originally was published in May 2013. Click here to download the article. It will be available here through June 26.

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Product News

Chiller From Carrier
SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Carrier introduces the 30XA AquaForce outdoor, air-cooled chiller with Greenspeed Intelligence. The Greenspeed Intelligence technology adds variable speed condenser fans and variable speed screw compressors to enable the chiller to match load conditions and deliver improved part-load performance. Also, the chiller features the company's new Touch Pilot controls, which allow users to easily monitor and log trend data, access the unit through a Web browser, and regulate the chiller while accurately maintaining fluid temperatures.

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Dehumidification System From Munters US
AMESBURY, Mass.—The DryCool Dehumidification System (DDS) from Munters US features the Munters desiccant dehumidification module, consisting of an active desiccant wheel, a reactivation heat source, and supply and reactivation fans. Additional features include double-wall construction, enclosed insulation, easily removable panels, component flexibility and an FRP pultrusion frame that minimizes thermal bridging. Also, preengineered energy recovery, cooling, heating and filtration modules can be added.

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BAS Communications Interface From Industrial Control Communications
MIDDLETON, Wis.—The PicoPort from Industrial Control Communications is a customizable module that allows OEMs to network-enable their products. The field-upgradeable 0.9 in.2 (580.6 mm2) module features free drivers including BACNet® and Modbus, a USB interface, and eight GPIO channels.

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