Solei Water is expanding.
We will be adding new members to our team. Stay tune for our updates as we moved closer to our very first project with All Saints Home.
A post i recently read entitled ’ Why Google’s So interested in Wind Energy ’ got me thinking about a need for “System-FOR-System”.
People who know me well know how much i have been talking about Google trying to take over the world. Starting from being a Search Engine Provider, to laying fiber optic cables and wanting to be a ISP. And now, Google is moving into renewables. Not exactly a new thing that the Year-Old Investing arm of Google - Google Ventures is investing into renewables. They, in fact have been doing that for quite some time. See $38.8 Million on Wind, Solar and Geothermal . That goes to show the potential of this industry.
Michael Quah, Principal Fellow at the ESI (Energy Studies Institute) had always been emphasizing on a need of “System OF System” approach in the current world. For those who are not familiar with this term.
“System of systems is a collection of task-oriented or dedicated systems that pool their resources and capabilities together to obtain a new, more complex, ‘meta-system’ which offers more functionality and performance than simply the sum of the constituent systems.”
It does not simply refers to integrating systems together but also relates to the general study of designing, complexity and systems engineering. This brings to the forefront the additional challenge of design.
The term “System of Systems” coined so often by Mike inspired me into coming up with “System For System”
Onward to the discussion on a need for “System-FOR-System”, it was quoted in the
Google-Wind Energy Article:
But it’s not just about harnessing the wind in the most effective way possible. It’s also about getting that energy into homes, the crux of wind energy. In short, you can have the most efficient turbines and capture more wind power than anyone else, but that won’t matter if you can’t effectively direct that energy into the local grid to be used in homes.
I believe this is not just relevant in the field of wind energy but in the entire field of Energy & Renewables. The age of renewables is definitely dawning on us and there needs to be an efficient system of control for these forms of energy. There are so many companies globally focusing on the cheapest way to harness 1kWh of energy (wind, solar, geothermal) and let’s face the truth, how many companies are able to compete with these big boys in terms of cost-effectiveness? Put in the cost of labour and material cost in China and BOOM. there you get your cost of system components free-falling. But of course, it would be another story if you possess breakthrough technology that can take the world by storm.
While the whole world focuses on coming up with new ways to harness Renewables in the cheapest manner possible, has it come across that the management of that 1 kWh of energy is just as important as the means to capturing that amount of energy? In all honesty, i do feel there is still much wastage in the field of energy.
Take Solar Thermal for example, the amount of solar heat that you try so hard to capture in the day is simply dissipated back to the environment if unused. Let’s say you capture 10 kWh of energy and use that amount to heat up the 100 litre centralized water-heating drum BUT only use 60 litres of it (which is something very common). The remaining hot-water effectively goes to waste. So much for trying hard to harness that amount of solar energy.
This is where i see a need for “System-FOR-System”. There has to be a control for the management of energy, a System. Energy that you spent so much time and effort harnessing should not be wasted and CAN be planned for use efficiently. There are so many cleantech companies with innovative ways to generate and capture energy but there aren’t any prominent ones that made energy management their priority. In my opinion, they are just as important. What’s the point of harnessing large amounts of energy and only able to effectively utilize 60% of it?
It is ultimately in my opinion that in the field of energy and renewables, the need for a S.O.S (System-for-System) is just as important as the technology that harnesses the relevant renewable source. Let’s see how we can go about doing that. :)
Thanks Clayton (http://www.buildopt.com/)for supplying this link - http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/major-solar-panel-firms-are-misleading-consumers-1953587.html
I had this conversation with clayton a while back when we first met. “Are green firms over-projecting their cost savings and benefits to the consumers in order to hit sales targets?” I believe there are plenty of firms out there doing that and many often made use of the “green hype” as a selling point for their products. Just take a look at the Solar PV Panels erected at the Sentosa IR Resorts, a whopping 43 years of payback. Yes it does cut down the electrical reliance from the grid, but next comes the question, is it cost-efficient? And if not, why are you still implementing? I believe the crowd needs further education that, don’t dive into something just because it’s new and it’s cool. In another words, keep a clear mind when accessing technology. Please do not fall too much in love with the technology.
Coming as a green firm at Soleil Water, one headache we had was on projecting the cost savings that we could bring about by implementing our technologies. For this, i have to speak up for the Green Firms in the market. There is always a need for projections and estimates to go around when presenting to people and as the words literally mean, “projections and estimations” - you will not know of the true savings until you try them. But at Soleil Water, we have a different approach: We believe in speaking and quoting realistically. Test-bedding our technology in commercial spaces will definitely help build a successful case referral as well as providing true savings figures for our future sales leads. This is what we are doing at Soleil Water.
Different establishments have different energy profiles, usage patterns and of course, cost savings will vary from one building to another. So, how can you still be honest and at the same time draw the attention of your prospective customers? Over-projecting your cost savings (well, a lower payback period) is definitely one strategy to drawing the crowd’s attention but i believe that to thrive in this business, being ethical is of utmost importance. Making that sale may be significant in the short run but over the long term, it is the branding and reputation that ensures the survivability of the firm. It will only be sooner or later before your customers find out that they are not saving as much as projected and calls in to complain.
I can imagine a conversation like this.
Customer: Hi, your system was said to cut $200 off my electrical bills every month but i have been using it for 2 months and all it did was $50 a month.
Firm: Sorry Sir, the $200 savings was merely based on projections and it varies from buildings to buildings.
Do you think that the consumer will still return to the firm or even push this product to other people?
I believe in this business, or rather, no matter what business you do. Be ethical and realistic. Do not bother building sandcastles in the air because it is only a matter of time before people start digging out the truth behind the technology. :)
Came across this article, or rather, paper online that studies on hot water consumption in domestic households. A study was conducted over 14 days in 10 households.
The flow trace analysis method was employed in the study. In the flow trace analysis, there are 3 types of water use events: trickle event, primary event, super-event. A trickle event is a very small outflow of water, most often a leak. A primary event is the most common and important type of water use event. super-event is one that begins and ends at a non-zero baseline while a primary event is occurring. This is the case when a second water use begins while another is still in progress such as a toilet flush while someone is taking a shower. The super-events are treated as separate water uses having their own flow characteristics.
Using these analysis methods, flow rates (litres/second) were calculated from which, the amount of hot water usage was derived. These are findings from the paper.
Table 2 provides information on daily hot water use by end-use on a per capita and per household basis. Faucet use is the largest hot water end use, followed by showers, baths and clothes washers. While dishwashers are the only appliance to use 100% hot water for their operation, they consume a relatively small fraction of the total hot water use (3.6%).
And yes, some results on the water consumption pattern retrieved from monitoring the main flowmeters as well as individual flow meters installed at the sites of interest.
Ping me at deschutz (at) gmail (dot) com if you want a copy of the paper. :))
i was just doing some search on how to measure flow rates, and thus, water consumption at different sites within the house. came across the GPI flow meter and here’s a video on the flow meter and how to install the flow meter. easy as ABC. :)
that should be the way good products are. making it as idiot-proof as possible. i remembered telling quite a few people why i think the iphone is a fantastic product - IT IS JUST TOO IDIOT-PROOF. even my 2 year old nephew knows how to play games with it, not to mention the 50/60 year old auntie/uncles i see on the train using the iphone. hah.
Some fundamentals of water heating and of course, facts in water heating.
Do you know?
There are in fact many ways to provide water-heating facilities. Fuel Boiler systems for large establishments such as hotels and hospitals. Solar Flatplate/Evacuated Tube Panels for homes. Electrical Instant Heater for home use. Centralized tank-based water heater. Heat-pump Water Heaters.
Heat-Pump Water Heaters
Quantum’s one of the more established brand names in Singapore using heat-pump based water heaters. This is how it works:
Effectively, electrical energy is used to run the compressor and in comparison to conventional electrical instantaneous heaters, this technique is able to reduce electrical consumption by 30%.
However, such systems are costly and commands a higher payback period. Other players in the market currently includes GE, Calorex and a couple others.
Electrical Instant Heater
The most ineffective of the lot. Every 1kWh of electrical energy used to run the system only yield less than 1 kWh of heat energy. This is basically due to heat loss that occurred in the process. Other than that, to produce instantaneous hot water, a very high current is required and this results in the killer electrical bills every month. In comparison, a centralised tank-based water heater has higher efficiencies as only a low electrical current is required. But tank-based heaters often have to deal with the problem of heat loss to surroundings.
I believe this is where Soleil Water started off. Quoting Mr Lim Teck Yong from EDB (whom we previously met for a presentation). Electricity shouldn’t be wasted on water heating facilities and should be used for more meaningful purposes such as powering the laptop or projectors. We should be focusing on how to harness recyclable and renewable sources of energy for electricity-replaceable matters such as water heating.
I have been saying that to almost everyone we met up with during introductions and we still stand by that at Soleil Water. :)
While doing research on how to convert air-cooled condenser units to water-cooled condenser units (i.e. chiller units), i stumbled upon a couple of articles comparing the two.
This is the standard air-cooled condenser unit. Probably the same ones you see at home. Yes, those you see spinning outside your window when you turn on the A/C. In a nutshell, this system absorbs heat from the room via refrigerant/freon as a medium and then dissipated the heat to the surroundings via condensing coils and an operating fan. This cools down the refrigerant, which can then be used to absorb heat from the room and ‘pump’ it out of the system (essentially why A/C systems are also known as heat-pump systems)
Water Cooled Condensers are different when it comes to the condensing portion of the entire A/C Systems. Instead of it being wind/air cooled, the superheated refrigerant is cooled by water. The key elements of the unit include multiple low-pressure water nozzles that spray a mist of water over the condenser coils to remove heat after the refrigerant is compressed. Water temperature can be maintained at about 10° F over wet bulb via heat absorbed through evaporation, which is then removed via a fan on top of the unit.
Chillers systems were previously used only for larger establishments such as hospitals and commercial buildings due to the higher initial capital investments required.
However, efficiency of chiller systems beat air-cooled A/C systems hand down as water removes heat from the condenser coils far more efficiently than air. The heat transfer and evaporative process is increased via a fan on top of the condenser. A switch to chillers systems could easily reduce the cooling bill by 15-30%. In recent years, water-cooled A/C units are becoming more popular and affordable in the residential market with companies such as Freus. Inc. who are offering such systems. Residential and small commercial models are available from 2 to 12 tons. The dimensions of the evaporator unit are comparable to a 3-5 ton conventional condenser unit. How well a water cooled A/C condenser would work in your area depends on the relative humidity / dewpoint. If you live in Singapore where the humidity can run over 85%, you might only see a 5% savings. If you live in a dry area like Las Vegas, you might see over 40% savings. From that, i would see water cooled A/C systems gaining popularity in the countries such as China instead of the SEA region due to the high level of humidity in the region. Also, just thinking out loud, can the water that was heated in the process of refrigerant-cooling be used for other meaningful purposes?
However, efficiency of chiller systems beat air-cooled A/C systems hand down as water removes heat from the condenser coils far more efficiently than air. The heat transfer and evaporative process is increased via a fan on top of the condenser. A switch to chillers systems could easily reduce the cooling bill by 15-30%.
In recent years, water-cooled A/C units are becoming more popular and affordable in the residential market with companies such as Freus. Inc. who are offering such systems. Residential and small commercial models are available from 2 to 12 tons. The dimensions of the evaporator unit are comparable to a 3-5 ton conventional condenser unit.
How well a water cooled A/C condenser would work in your area depends on the relative humidity / dewpoint. If you live in Singapore where the humidity can run over 85%, you might only see a 5% savings. If you live in a dry area like Las Vegas, you might see over 40% savings. From that, i would see water cooled A/C systems gaining popularity in the countries such as China instead of the SEA region due to the high level of humidity in the region.
Also, just thinking out loud, can the water that was heated in the process of refrigerant-cooling be used for other meaningful purposes?
yes . 629,000 kWh of solar energy a year.
yes. enough to power 108 typical 4 room flats.
yes. 342 tonnes of carbon emission a year.
but. did was it mentioned that it has a payback period of 43 years ?
makes me wonder if the implementation of such green technology is just a ’green hype’ / ‘marketing tool’ or is it truly beneficial in cost reductions and cost efficient.
Just as i was thinking how to store solar energy efficiently so that we can “retrieve” and “take them out” as and when required, i stumbled upon this concept of storing solar energy which has been implemented in the west of the city of Ecija, in Andalusia, Spain. It is also known as the Solar Tres Power Tower. Solar CPV (Concentrated Photo Volatic) techniques are used to reflect and focus solar radiation onto a single point. This method of Solar Harnessing is able to raise temperatures of molten salt to more than 550 Degree Celsius, which is then stored in thermal storage tanks. Molten Salts are then pumped out (as and when required) for the heating of water into steam. At more than 500 Degrees Celsius, the steam is then used to drive turbines which produces electrical energy.
What can i say, wow. But i’m sure there are still many considerations of implementing this technology.
The Solar Two tower implemented in California, Bigger and Meaner than the original Solar One in Spain.
Well, who knows. Soleil Water may be constructing the Solar Three/Four/Five in the southern islands of Singapore someday. Hah. Singapore has plenty of Solar Radiation + Sea Water to cool the molten salts. So, Why not? :)
i wonder if they do anything useful to the waste steam generated from driving the turbines.