May 01, 2014: Vol. 13, No. 18 Advancing HVAC&R to Serve Humanity
And Promote a Sustainable World  



 

 

 
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Industry News

Machine Makes Drinking Water From Air
TEL AVIV, Israel—An Israeli start-up company has developed a device that extracts drinking water from air. Water-Gen's Atmospheric Water-Generation Unit is already being used by the military, but the company aims to market it for civilian use, particularly in developing countries where potable water is scarce. Central to the system is the company's "GENius" heat exchanger. Air enters the heat exchanger, where it is dehumidified, and the water removed from the air is collected in a collection tank inside the unit. There, the water is passed through a filtration system that removes possible chemical and microbiological contaminations. Finally, the purified water is stored in an internal water tank. The company says the system produces 250 L to 800 L (65 gallons to 210 gallons) of potable water a day depending on temperature and humidity conditions. It would use only two cents' worth of electricity to produce a liter of water.

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Planned Arizona Solar Tower Would Be Tallest Structure in North America
SAN LUIS, Ariz.—Solar Wind Energy Tower (SWET) has won approval from an Arizona city to develop a $1.5 billion project that would use ambient desert heat to create a draft to generate electricity. The solar tower would also be the tallest structure in North America. The 2,250 ft (686 m) project, which resembles a nuclear plant’s cooling tower, would be capable of generating at an average rate of about 435 MWh over the course of a year. In July and August, the plant could produce more than 1,200 MWh. The project, which doesn’t yet have financing or a customer for its electricity output, would use technology created by Solar Wind. In the dry desert air, water would be injected in a mist near the top of the tower, causing the air to cool and gain density. The draft created by the sinking air would exceed 50 mph (22 m/s) as it is forced through a ring of turbines at the tower’s base, generating electricity.

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Obama Presidential Library Planned as 'Living Building'
PORTLAND, Ore.—The foundation charged with building Barack Obama's presidential library would like to build it according to the Living Building Challenge. The Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for possible siting locations submitted by the Barack Obama Foundation lists core principles of the project, including that it "embodies principles of biomimicry to create a living building." Living Buildings must meet performance requirements, including net zero energy, waste and water, over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy.

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Robot Prints Building Designs on Ground of Construction Sites

SEOUL—A South Korean architectural designer is developing a robotic machine to allow architects and contractors to print digital CAD plans onto the ground. The "Archibot" has sensors designed to detect where building features such as doors and walls need to be built and will print construction documents in a 1-to-1 scale directly onto the ground of the site. Human errors associated with interpreting information from construction documents could be reduced significantly with mistakes becoming easily detectable in the life-sized diagram. The Archibot has recently been granted a patent and inventor Han Seok Nam is collaborating with industry experts and academics to develop and mass-produce the machine.

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EU Funding Nanotechnology Research to Monitor Air Quality
The European Union will fund a new nanotechnology project that would allow people to gauge air quality real-time at home, work and in cars with low-cost, small sensor systems. The project, called IAQSENSE, aims to develop nanotechnology-based sensors to monitor the composition of air in terms of chemical and biological contaminants. The gas sensor systems would be placed in fixed locations, connected to a network of wireless sensors that would detect gas molecules, one of three patented technologies the project would use. Applications for cars and smart phones also are planned. France, Bulgaria, Germany, Switzerland and Spain are collaborating in the research and development of the project. Testing is expected to end in September 2016. The European Lung Foundation estimates that respiratory illnesses in Europe costs about $141 billion each year in work absences and inefficiency. The foundation also believes that levels of indoor pollution may be ten times higher than levels outdoors.

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In other news...

Berkeley Lab Updates EnergyIQ Commercial Building Benchmarking Tool
N.Y. Teen Invents Solar Panel Made With Inexpensive Aluminum
CDC Director Says E-Cigarettes Do 'More Harm Than Good'
Phaseout of R-22 Threatens Ice Rinks
Chicago Mayor Demands AC in All Classrooms Within Five Years
Intel, Kohl's Lead EPA's List of Top U.S. Organizations Using Renewable Energy
Ohio Bill Halting Energy-Efficiency Requirements a Matter of National Security?

ASHRAE News

New Annual Conference Track Focuses on GSHPs
The Technical Program of the 2014 ASHRAE Annual Conference features sessions that address broad topics in the application of technology to practice, specific applications in ground source heat pumps, operations and maintenance and indoor environmental quality, as well as new reports on research taking place worldwide. New to the Technical Program is the "Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) State of the Art: Design, Performance and Research" track. "The track addresses the entire design and installation process from site evaluation to commissioning and system operation. In addition, GSHP systems are inherently energy efficient, but poor choices in the design can compromise this inherent efficiency. 'What not to do' is also addressed in the track," said Jeff Spitler, Member ASHRAE, who helped design the track. The track was organized by ASHRAE, the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), the International Ground Source Heat Pump Association (IGSHPA) and the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO). The Conference will be held at the Sheraton Seattle and the Washington State Convention Center June 28–July 2. The technical program begins June 29.

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Feature of the Week

Moving Air for Comfort
By Edward Arens, Ph.D., Member ASHRAE; Stephen Turner, P.E., Member ASHRAE; Hui Zhang, Ph.D.; and Gwelen Paliaga, Associate Member ASHRAE
According to the authors, air movement can be an energy-efficient alternative to air cooling. This article describes findings of studies of occupied buildings that provide evidence that large percentages of occupants prefer more air movement than what they currently have, and small percentages prefer less. This is true in all conditions that occupants perceived as warm, thermally neutral, and even slightly cool.


This article originally was published in May 2009. Click here to download the article. It will be available here through May 15.

After May 15, access to the article from this eNewsletter will no longer be available. It will remain available for free download by members here and for purchase by nonmembers in the ashrae.org online store.

Product News

Axial Fan System From ZIEHL-ABEGG
KÜNZELSAU, Germany—ZIEHL-ABEGG offers the ZAplus fan system for use in applications such as supermarkets, hotels and refrigeration. The compact axial fan is made of a high-strength composite material in which the motor and controller are integrated. The composite material permits new shapes, which have a positive selective influence on airflow.

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Chiller From Trane
LA CROSSE, Wis.—Trane offers the Stealth Model RTAE helical rotary air-cooled chiller in capacities from 150–300 tons (528 kW to 1055 kW). The chiller features the company's AdaptiSpeed technology, which improves efficiency through the integration of a direct-drive compressor, variable-speed, permanent magnet motors and the Trane third-generation Adaptive Frequency drive (AFD³).

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Building Automation I/O Components From Metz Connect
BLUMBERG, Germany—Modular I/O components for building automation systems from Metz Connect are compatible with protocols including BACnet®, LonWorks, and Modbus. The devices' compact DIN rail housing allows for adding points in a distributed system. Additional features include removable terminal blocks and a bridging system for power and bus connections and front-mounted switches including manual overrides and LEDs.

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