Sources of Heat, Life, and Everything

Same procedure as every summer: Science and tech blogging comes to a halt, and the daring 'internet artist' is summoned. But also unorthodox avant-garde art is rooted in down-to-earth engineering. In summer elkement leaves the programmer's cave (a bit) and sees the sun. The local elkemental microcosmos is a fully functional biosphere-2-like ecosystem with lots … Continue reading Sources of Heat, Life, and Everything

Cooling Potential

I had an interesting discussion about the cooling potential of our heat pump system - in a climate warmer than ours. Recently I've shown data for the past heating season, including also passive cooling performance: After the heating season, tank temperature is limited to 10°C as long as possible - the collector is bypassed in … Continue reading Cooling Potential

Data for the Heat Pump System: Heating Season 2016-2017

I update the documentation of measurement data [PDF] about twice a year. This post is to provide a quick overview for the past season. The PDF also contains the technical configuration and sizing data. Based on typical questions from an 'international audience' I add a summary here plus some 'cultural' context: Building: The house is … Continue reading Data for the Heat Pump System: Heating Season 2016-2017

Mr. Bubble Was Confused. A Cliffhanger.

This year we experienced a record-breaking January in Austria - the coldest since 30 years. Our heat pump system produced 14m3 of ice in the underground tank. The volume of ice is measured by Mr. Bubble, the winner of The Ultimate Level Sensor Casting Show run by the Chief Engineer last year: The classic, analog … Continue reading Mr. Bubble Was Confused. A Cliffhanger.

Where to Find What?

I have confessed on this blog that I have Mr. Monk DVDs for a reason. We like to categorize, tag, painstakingly re-organize, and re-use. This is reflected in our Innovations in Agriculture ... ... as well as in my periodical Raking The Virtual Zen Garden: Updating collections of web resources, especially those related to the … Continue reading Where to Find What?

Ice Storage Hierarchy of Needs

Data Kraken - the tentacled tangled pieces of software for data analysis - has a secret theoretical sibling, an older one: Before we built our heat source from a cellar, I developed numerical simulations of the future heat pump system. Today this simulation tool comprises e.g. a model of our control system, real-live weather data, … Continue reading Ice Storage Hierarchy of Needs

Frozen Herbs and Latent Energy Storage

... having studied one subject, we immediately have a great deal of direct and precise knowledge ... of another. --Richard Feynman Feynman referred to different phenomena that can be described by equations of the same appearance: Learning how to calculate the distribution of electrical charges gives you the skills to simulate also the flow of … Continue reading Frozen Herbs and Latent Energy Storage

How Does It Work? (The Heat Pump System, That Is)

Over the holidays I stayed away from social media, read quantum physics textbooks instead, and The Chief Engineer and I mulled over the fundamental questions of life, the universe and everything. Such as: How to explain our heat pump system? An astute reader suggested to create an 'animation' of the gradual evolution of the system's … Continue reading How Does It Work? (The Heat Pump System, That Is)

Economics of the Solar Air Collector

In the previous post I gave an overview of our recently compiled data for the heat pump system. The figure below, showing the seasonal performance factor and daily energy balances, gave rise to an interesting question: In February the solar collector was off for research purposes, and the performance factor was just a bit lower … Continue reading Economics of the Solar Air Collector

Heat Pump System Data: Three Seasons 2012 – 2015

We have updated the documentation of monthly and seasonal measurement data - now including also the full season September 2014 to August 2015. The overall Seasonal Performance Factor was 4,4 - despite the slightly lower numbers in February and March, when was the solar collector was off during the Ice Storage Challenge. Edit: I have … Continue reading Heat Pump System Data: Three Seasons 2012 – 2015

Having Survived the Hottest July Ever (Thanks, Natural Cooling!)

July 2015 was the hottest July ever since meteorological data had been recorded in Austria (since 248 years). We had more than 38°C ambient air temperature at some days; so finally a chance to stress-test our heat pump system's cooling option. Heating versus cooling mode In space heating 'winter' mode, the heat pump extracts heat … Continue reading Having Survived the Hottest July Ever (Thanks, Natural Cooling!)

Ice Storage Challenge: High Score!

Released from ice are brook and river By the quickening glance of the gracious Spring; The colors of hope to the valley cling, And weak old Winter himself must shiver, Withdrawn to the mountains, a crownless king. These are the first lines of the English version of a famous German poem on spring, from the … Continue reading Ice Storage Challenge: High Score!

The Ice Storage Challenge

The more we enjoyed our spring-like winter, the more we were worried if we will ever see much ice in our underground water tank this heating season. So we did what I had announced - we switched off the solar collector completely: Since February 1st our heat pump has been extracting heat energy from the tank … Continue reading The Ice Storage Challenge

More Ice? Exploring Spacetime of Climate and Weather.

I have become obsessed with comparing climate data for different regions in the world and in different years (space + time). Finally I have found the tool I was looking for; now I can compare average Ice Days quickly - days with a maximum temperature < 0°C. In the first quarter of 2014 there were: 5 … Continue reading More Ice? Exploring Spacetime of Climate and Weather.

Cistern-Based Heat Pump – Research Done in 1993

One of the most recent search terms on this blog was: 'cistern for water source heat pump'. I wanted to double-check and searched for this phrase myself. This was the first Google Search result: Cistern-Based Water-Source Heat Pump System Design ... a research paper that had been available for download at the website of Iowa … Continue reading Cistern-Based Heat Pump – Research Done in 1993