Efficient Data Center HVAC

The Problem

Data centers consume a huge amount of energy and that number is increasing due to the increased production of data centers. A main component in the use of electricity is heat rejection. Typically, CRAC units are installed in the servers to reject heat to an chilled water loop. The problem is through redesign of data centers and different aging of equipment, the design might not be optimal for real world applications and heat rejection may not be occurring optimally.

The Solution

Vigilent utilizes artificial intelligence to optimally control the CRAC units to provide cooling to the space.  It automatically identifies hot spots in the server rooms and adjust the CRAC unit output accordingly to effectively eliminate the hot spot. Power is monitored for Measurement and Verification purposes and as a way to monitor the hot spots in the rooms.

Stakeholders

  • Building owners
  • Building operators
  • Management companies
  • Control Companies
  • Utility Companies

Deployment

Work with existing control companies and to install at their customer sites and integrate into the existing controls. Get rebates from the utilities.

Company Website

Vigilent

A greenhouse that lets you produce crops and electricity simultaneously

  1. Sustainability Problem: Food production will continue to be an exigent issue tied with population growth. The development of greenhouses has been revolutionary, but they are expensive to install and operate. Soliculture provides a sustainable solution that creates clean energy and optimizes growing practices.
  2. The LUMO technology commercialized by Soliculture and Solaria Corporation utilizes the Wavelength-Selective Photovoltaic Systems (WSPVs) to enhance light quality by converting green light to red light. The optimized light spectrum enhances power production from the solar panels and facilitates plant growth. Other features are as follows:
    • Reduces capital cost of installation – from solar energy incentives and grants
    • Offsets electricity bill with sustainable solar energy production
    • No harm on plants and energy production – positive effects on plant growth
    • Land use efficiency – co-producing crops and electricity
    • Energy monitoring with user-friendly online software

Sources:

Soliculture | Innovative Technology

http://www.soliculture.com/

This solar greenhouse could change the way we eat | UCSC NewsCenter

https://news.ucsc.edu/2016/05/solar-greenhouse.html

Solar greenhouses generate electricity and grow crops at the same time, UC Santa Cruz study reveals | UCSC NewsCenter

https://news.ucsc.edu/2017/11/loik-greenhouse.html

  1. Stakeholders:
    • Citizens around the world
    • Urban farms
    • Agriculture industry
    • Energy Markets
    • Energy Industry
    • Building contractors and architects
    • Groceries and supermarkets
  2. Next steps:
    • Do a feasibility study and engage with stakeholders to improve relations
    • Reach an agreement on costs and economic outlook
    • Initiate pilot-scale project through government funding

 

By: Timothy Wiranata

UNI: tw2618

Comment on Conserving water, one shower at a time.:

“This is an innovative technology that building contractors should really think about when equipping shower heads in accommodation units. The technology does not only saves water but also saves money through savings on water/utility bill. The website even has a feature to count your annual savings!”

Fossil-Fuel Free Power Plants

Sustainability Issue: Air Pollution from Coal Burning Power Plants
In the United States, coal burning power plants emit 1.7 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere and are primarily responsible for climate change.  Burning coal is the top source of CO2 emissions globally and a leading factor in smog, acid rain, as well as toxic air pollution.

Sustainable Technology Solution: Fossil-Fuel Free Power Plants
A power plant in the northwest of Stockholm, Sweden has committed to only burning renewable and recycled fuels in an effort to combat CO2 emissions that lead to global warming.  Sweden is hoping to phase out fossil fuel use by the end of this decade and one method is by converting coal burning power plants to biofuels and garbage.  The aforementioned plant, which is located in Vasteras, Sweden has started to work with the Swedish-based clothing store H&M who by law, must discard any clothing that has been contaminated with mold or does not meet the countries strict restrictions on chemicals.  In 2017, the plant used 15 tons of discarded clothing from H&M.  Although, most of their garbage-based fuel is supplied from the 400,000 tons of trash from neighboring towns and trash that is imported to the plant from areas in Great Britain.  The plant currently provides energy to 50,000 households in Sweden and at its peak in 1996 it burned approximately 650,000 tons of coal.  But, just last week, the last coal carrying ship came to Vasteras to supply the plant with just enough to last until 2020 when they will completely phase out their fossil burning furnace.  They also recently added a wood-fired boiler to supplement the biofuel and trash burning units on the plant’s site.

Technology Stakeholders:

  • Power Plant Owners and Operators
  • Multinational Clothing Company
  • City Waste Management Agencies
  • Air Pollution Federal Agency
  • Air Pollution Non-profits

Implementation: 

  1. Create a sustainably-minded Public-Private Partnership between City and Multinational Corporation who manufacture clothing
  2. Collaborate with Aging Power Plant looking to incorporate new technologies
  3. Model system after plant in Vasteras, Sweden by phasing in biofuel and trash burning options with the addition of a wood-fired boiler on site.
  4. In first year of implementation set goal of 20 tons of discarded materials from the clothing manufacturer and 100 tons of municipal trash.
  5. If successful, set a goal of 10 years for full phase-out of fossil fuels.

Comment on Other Blog: https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/24/commercial-electric-plane/#comment-1478

Sources:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-24/burning-h-m-rags-is-new-black-as-swedish-plant-ditches-coal
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/coal-and-other-fossil-fuels/coal-air-pollution#.Whh9n7Q-dQI
https://inhabitat.com/this-swedish-power-plant-is-burning-hm-clothes-instead-of-fossil-fuels/

Building IQ BMS Analytics

The Problem

Buildings typically operate on set schedules. Calculations and a lot of effort is done to optimize these schedules, but they don’t respond well to actual conditions. This can result in spaces that are over-ventilated, under-ventilated, too hot, or too cold at times. Additionally, building components performance drift over time and set points need to be adjusted accordingly.

The Solution

Building IQ takes the building management data and uploads it to a cloud based server. From there, analytics are performed to optimize the setpoints and operating parameters of the system. This not only reduces the amount of energy used in these systems, but also increases the life time of the equipment as they are operating only as fast as necessary.

Stakeholders

  1. Building Owners
  2. Building Operators
  3. Control Companies
  4. Utilities

Implementation

Work with control companies to find a platform of customers to develop pilot programs for installation. Get the utility companies to approve Measurement and Verification process to establish savings estimates. Next, have the utility companies issue prescriptive rebates for this type of installation. Finally, work with the controls company to install and run Building IQ at the sites.

Website: Building IQ

UNI: #bmb2189

Comment to “Floating Nuclear Power”

“I spent 8 years in the Navy operating Nuclear Power Plants on an aircraft carrier. I love this idea. The biggest issue is getting the power from the plant to the shore, but if they can do it with wind turbines, they can do it with nuclear power.”

50-Qubit Quantum Computer

IBM Raises the Bar with a 50-Qubit Quantum Computer

IBM has developed a quantum computer that can handle 50 qubits per second. The computer IBM developed is still unstable, only preserving its state for 90 microseconds.

Quantum-Computer-06-goog

 

Sustainability Issue:

Category: Energy

The world generates 2.5 exabytes of data every day [0]. With the explosion of data being generated and preserved combined with billions of devices connecting to the internet, an issue the world will face is the ability to power all the machines and devices on a modern world.  Rolf Landauer calculated and demonstrated that each bit operation of a computer requires a minimum amount of energy.  With the amount of data being generated and saved, researchers are predicting the world will encounter energy issues to power all of our devices by 2040[1]. The world’s fastest computer processes 33 Petaflops per second, which consumes 17.8 megawatts[2].

  • energy requirements of computers and devices will outpace ‘reasonable’ supply
  • volume of data requiring more processing time
Technology Solution:

Traditional computers store information in the form of a 1 or 0.  As a result, traditional computers require energy and generate vast amounts of heat to perform complex calculations and operations.  IBM’s development of a 50 -qubit quantum computer is 100 million times faster and consumes less energy than traditional computers.   Quantum computers are able to store information as 1 and 0 simultaneously, vis-a-vis a feature of quantum mechanics known as superposition. The key feature of quantum computers is they can perform complicated calculations beyond the reaches of today’s computer while consuming less energy.  Today’s computers can take days and weeks to calculate factors with hundreds and thousands of digits, which consumes vast amounts of energy.  With IBM’s 50- qubit quantum computer, factors with 555 digits can be calculated within seconds.

Qb_bits

  • Revolutionize  computer architecture
  • Development in new materials
  • Increase encryption for devices / communication networks / etc..
  • Improvement in artificial intelligence (particularly deep learning)
  • Climate models can be more complex

QbBits

 

 

qb_explain

Stakeholders:
  • Inventors: IBM, Google, Facebook, Intel, Rigetti, etc..
  • Consumers: change the world
  • Energy companies: utilities will see lower demand as servers and server farms consume less energy
  • Telecommunication / internet companies: cryptography will be improved dramatically.
  • Researchers / scientists / physicists / climate scientists / etc.. – complex calculations will be able to be performed faster
Next steps:
  • Ongoing research – develop a stable state system (companies listed below)
  • Continue funding – Intel, IBM, Google, Facebook, Rigetti, & universities
  • IBM QX – 20 qubit cloud computing system continue to beta testing.  March 2017 rolled out python API and SDK.
  • Once stable state system is developed then likely to be deployed in large institutions  (governments/ research centers / data farms/ etc.)

Sources: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/609451/ibm-raises-the-bar-with-a-50-qubit-quantum-computer/

[0] https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2017/09/05/how-quantum-computers-will-revolutionize-artificial-intelligence-machine-learning-and-big-data/#6633a79e5609

[1] http://www.wired.co.uk/article/quantum-computing-explained

[2] https://www.theverge.com/2016/6/20/11975356/chinese-supercomputer-worlds-fastes-taihulight

Comments Other Posts:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/35950343/posts/1666372559

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/35950343/posts/1667215472

Repowering Existing Wind Turbines to Achieve Longer Lifespan and Better Performance

Link: EIA
UNI: js5079 (Joshua Strake)

Sustainability Topic: Energy

This article touches on an important principle of ‘smart’ management of capital and resources within a generation blend, best exemplified by the classic saying, “if it ain’t broke… you still might be able to fix it.”

Summary

  • The EIA presents the value to be achieved in ‘repowering’ turbines, which is to say, upgrade them with newer, cheaper and more efficient technology while keeping the same turbine location, foundation, frame, etc.
  • This extends the life of the turbine by up to 20 years and can boost their efficiency by 25% (on average)
  • This is incentivised by the extension of the PTC (Production Tax Credit) for renewables, which applies to not only new renewables construction, but also renewables projects where at least 80% of the value is new construction: repowering often falls into this tranche so companies will elect to upgrade their wind fleet while saving on taxes.
    • GE has repowered up to 300 turbines for clients, and was recently awarded a contract for up to 700 more. Growth in this area is expected.

Stakeholders

-Wind Power Installers and Contractors
-Turbine Owners
-Regions and ISOs with wind power presence
-Consumers of electricity served by repowered turbines

Deployment Steps

1 – Continue to repower turbines with the most efficient modern turbine technology

2 – Look to incentivize all turbine owners to repower and claim PTC benefits, perhaps by raising awareness of the program.

3 – Look into writing specific policy to further incentivize repowering, such as state tax credits and rebates for contractor fees.


Comment on Another Post: Offshore Wind Power
This is a great writeup of the benefits of offshore wind farms compares to onshore. One thing I would add is that there is a two-way street in terms of aesthetics and landscape: while less homeowners may object to the wind turbines being near their homes, there is still strong pushback from ocean life activists regarding sea floor damage, as well as people who oppose the sight of wind turbines in the ocean – this is why the Cape Wind project from a million years ago has still not gotten construction underway.

Turning SkyScrapers into Solar Farms

1) Sustainability ProblemEnergy Use
70% of Electrical Production relies on fossil fuels and the USDA has predicted that by the 2030s electrical demand will increase by 40%.  Currently, buildings use 40% of the electricity generated in the United States and this is expected to increase.  Currently, photovoltaic technology, which uses sunlight to create energy, is gaining momentum as a form of renewable energy yet in order to harvest enough energy to run a commercial building, a huge swath of land must be employed.  Roof-installed solar panels are not sufficient as their limited size also limits the amount of solar energy they can absorb.

1) Sustainable Technology: Solar Windows
Solar Windows Technology, Inc. has created a solution to energy production that would create acres of vertical solar farms in cities by installing solar paneled windows on skyscrapers and tall towers.  They claim that this innovative technology would eliminate the need to use vast acres of land as a 50 story building could generate the same energy production as a 6-acre solar farm and allow for both electrical generation and energy banking.  Solar Windows Technology, Inc is targeting towers and skyscrapers which consume about 40% of the energy generated for electricity in the United States.  They claim that financial models show that these windows could save building owners 30-50% per year and installation would have a simple payback of 1 year.  According to a recent article in Newsweek, “Researchers say transparent solar cell technology that harvests invisible wavelengths of light could meet nearly 100 percent of energy demand in the United States.”  While there are still issues with efficiency of solar panels, and these windows are not immune to this problem, researchers are seeing improvements and they believe that approximately “5 billion to 7 billion square meters of glass surface in the United States could be used to meet 40 percent of the country’s energy demand, or “close to 100 percent” if energy storage is improved.”

3) Technology Stakeholder

  • Sustainable Investors
  • Large Building Onwers
  • Solar Windows Technology Inc.
  • City Agencies

4) Implementation

  1. Identify a large city that has a sustainable energy problem they want to address.
  2. Create a public-private partnership between the chosen city, sustainable investors, and Solar Windows Technology, Inc.
  3. Create a multi-year timeline to roll-out solar window technology in 5 city-owned and operated buildings that have been monitoring their energy use for at least 5-10 years.  This is essential to create baseline measurements.
  4. Install in 2 buildings over first 6 month period.
  5. Compare savings every 3 months after installation to the baseline measurements ensuring that the comparison covers the same period of the year (i.e. February compared to February).
  6. After the first year, if energy savings are 30-50% as expected, roll-out to remaining 3 buildings.  If the model is successful, create a policy for new construction and building retrofits for all city-owned buildings.

5) Comment on Other Blog Post: https://makeasmartcity.com/2017/11/09/the-benefits-of-waste-to-energy-technologies/comment-page-1/#comment-1368

Sustainable cement technology reduces energy and water consumption

 

StackedPavers-RESIZED

  1. Sustainability category: Energy, Water

The cement industry accounts for approximately 5-7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and the traditional cement curing process is highly water intensive. As cement is the second most utilized product in the world (after water), improving its manufacturing processes can have a significant impact on global sustainability.

  1. Sustainable Cement: http://solidiatech.com/
  • Solidia technologies has developed a new way to produce concrete and cement that reduces the material’s carbon footprint by up to 70%, and water consumption by 60-80%.
  • The technology uses a lower kiln temperature for manufacturing of cement, which reduces energy consumption, GHG emissions, and costs.
  • The concrete is cured with cO2 rather than the traditional curing process using water, reducing the process’s water use.
  • The resulting material is not only more durable and higher performing than traditional concrete, it is also less expensive to produce.
  1. Stakeholders:
  • Building and contracting companies
  • Local Departments of Building
  • Private developers and homeowners (building new buildings/homes)
  1. The first 3 steps in deploying technology:
  • Insert Solidia cement into local building codes as a mandatory material (banning traditional cement).
  • Seek investments to build additional factories and ramp up production capabilities.
  • Create licensing deals and training programs with existing cement companies, allowing them to produce Solidia Cement.
  1. Comment on “The Compost Professor: A Smart Composting System” by JM4202

As someone who tried home composting for a while (on the roof of my building), I think this is a very good idea, but still has some issues, especially for composting in urban areas.

One of the biggest problems I faced was lack of dry material to add to the compost. In suburbs, homeowners usually have lots of dry leaves they can use from their yards, but that is usually not the case in cities. It seems that this technology is geared towards suburban dwellers, it would be interesting to find a technological solution for home composting in cities.

Advanced IoT controls for commercial real estate

1) Sustainability Problem:

All businesses have to aggressively control costs but a huge business such as Chase Bank  with multiple retail and corporate locations (and their accompanying large real estate footprints) spend millions of dollars on facility fees such as utilities. Some locations have advanced lighting and intelligent building mgt systems, but this is inconsistent across the fleet of properties.
Last year Current by GE began a partnership with Chase to install LED lighting in 5000  branches across 25 million square feet.”Current estimates that, once completed, the project could reduce the branches’ lighting-related energy use by more than 50 percent – equal to taking nearly 27,000 cars off the road.”

This July, in Phase 2, Current incorporated data and technology like Smart Irrigation technology from Weathermatic and other partners into an IoT platform called Predix. The new sensors and controls will allow for reductions in water usage from irrigation systems by 20 percent. In addition, electric and gas consumption will be reduced by 15 percent.

The overall system provides visibility into HVAC and energy usage, giving facilities managers tools to measure performance against expectations and adjust quickly.
Category: Energy & Buildings

2) Technology Summary:

Article: JPMorgan partners with GE’s Current to reach lofty environmental goals
Website: CNBC
Link: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/06/27/jpmorgan-partners-with-ges-current-to-reach-lofty-environmental-goals.html
Tags: #energy efficiency #IoT

3) Organizational stakeholders

  1. Client: Chase Bank
  2. System Aggregator: Current by GE
  3. Partner: Weathermatic
  4. Municipality (clearing municipal ordinances)

4) Steps in deploying this technology

  1. Establish parameters/governance for technology buildout
  2. Ensure supply chain in place for very large order
  3. Retain local resources to install sensor technology in retail locations across whole service area
  4. Aggregate/Test/QA data streams coming from all discrete locations
  5. Establish measurement and evaluation protocols so learnings can be fed back into future facility operations decision-making

Related Resources:

Equipment providers: 

Uni: jz2805

SaltX HeatBoost for heating hot water

Sustainable Problem: Energy Efficiency

Hot water is used in residential applications for washing dishes, clothes, and humans. Typically, there is a natural gas or electric hot water heater that heats a 30-50 gallon tank of water, maintaining the temperature around 120F before being delivered to its final purpose.

Technology Solution: SaltX’s HeatBoost Gas Powered Heat Pump

SaltX is a company from Sweden whose founding product is a salt crystal used for thermal storage. They also make a gas-powered heat pump used to heat hot water. They claim to be able to save 500 Euros per year with each installation with a simple payback of 1.5 years. It is clear from the company’s website, this solution is made for residential hot water heating.

The problem:

The thing that first caught my attention is the claim for 50% increase in efficiency. It doesn’t say over what, though. Most hot water heaters, especially those being sold now, are already 90-95% efficient, not leaving much for improvement. The second issue I have is the claim of 500 Euros savings per year. That would mean a family would have to spend at least 60 Euros per month just heating water. I’m not too familiar with the utility usage of Europe, but in the US, typically families only spend $10-20 per month heating water.

My job is being an Energy Engineer and all the time, we have to sift through new technologies. These are simple questions that get brought up as part of our job and are addressed before supporting a product. We would need to verify the claims of savings and determine how the technology works. Without talking with the company, it seems like these are dubious claims.

Next Moves:

This company is working with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and Rheem to break through the US market. It’s a good strategy. If they can get the recommendation of the utility company, getting trust in the public is easier. If they are going after the residential market, it will be much more difficult to market to all of the different people buying hot water heaters. A good solution is to market to Energy Services Companies, which have customers interested in energy efficient products. Some commercial applications, schools, universities, etc have higher hot water uses, but again, the efficiency of these systems is over 90% and I would wonder if SaltX makes a HeatBoost large enough to meet those demands, certainly not at 750 Euros.

Organizational Stakeholders:

Homeowners, Utility Companies, Building Owners, Energy Services Companies, Mechanical Contractors.

Links:

SaltX Website

Article on Business Wire

Comment:

Article – “World’s first “negative emission” plant”
Great find! I’m so interested in the cost aspects of this and how it compares to energy efficient measures, renewable energy, and other carbon capturing technology. The article states their goal is $100 per metric ton, but can go as low as $30. That would be great and definitely worthwhile. Also, I wonder how a localized plant would be able to have an affect on a global issue…