Tuesday, December 12, 2017

india one drone video

Sharing this wonderful aerial view of the India One solar concentrator.

India one - Solar Thermal Power Plant from Freysteinn on Vimeo.

The application is a solar thermal power plant at an institution, Brahma Kumaris.

There is 16 hours of heat storage at the focus of each concentrated beam and all are joined, all 700+. The reflectors are made on-site.

For your interest.


Another video shows construction.

Friday, December 01, 2017

refrigerator 5

INDEX to the series

I have a new refrigerator! Actually, a friend's three year old model since she was wanting to upgrade. I feel like it is a new fridge (new to me!)

It is like new clean, full of food, and has been working steadily (and hopefully efficiently!) for the last two weeks. It is quiet and seems to be using less energy.

We had some concern as we had to lay the fridge on its back for the short ride here (about 5km) but I let it sit overnight before plugging it in. There is lots written on the web about this question of how to safely transport a refrigerator.

Mine did trip out after reaching temperature and the temperature inside rose for several hours but it came back on by itself and rapidly got to the prescribed temperatures (about zero F for the freezer and about 40F for the refrigerator.) The control (actually there is only one!) is at mid point. I have big clunky heavy mechanical industrial thermometers that I know to be accurate inside each compartment.

Readers will know that I had been controlling the old fridge use of peak power with a timer. Basically the fridge was OFF during peak power billing periods. The fridge would come ON at the end of peak power.

Even with the old fridge, I was able to cruise through the hottest summer day without loosing any ice cream. I was surprised given the condition at the bottom of the old fridge door seal which was torn but not really visible until it got moved out.

With the old fridge, I had done an experiment to add insulation to the outside of the freezer compartment of the old fridge. The added insulation did not make as much of a difference as I had hoped. The graph is a quick look at the data for fridge performance with changing ambient temperature. The blue dots are the insulated fridge, the red dots are with insulation removed (on July 13). I would have expected two parallel best fit lines. I did not plot the best fit for the red. I don't think I have enough data for the uninsulated case but all the red dots clearly land to the left of the blue dot cluster so there was a difference, just not as much as I had hoped.

I will have to wait until the furnace is no longer required next Spring to gather date using the same method but I added a plug in energy meter to the fridge so I will have another way to know the energy use.

On Aug 1, I had installed a plug-in power meter in line with the fridge timer. So I have two plug in devices in line with my refrigerator. One to measure (the first one in the wall) and another to control run time. I also have the same two devices in line with the freezer. I have been reading and then resetting the power meters at the beginning of each month.

So today I got my first look at a comparison. There was no fridge at that outlet for three days and then the new fridge took over about Nov 10. I am pleased to see that the very first reading of energy used with the new fridge was about one third of the months previous. That is probably optimistic. The freezer also seems to have done better this month compared to the previous three. The ambient temperature of both the basement and the main floor has dropped significantly with November now hovering around 15-20C rather than 20-25C of October which was a warm month.

Fridge40394014*16 << GOOD NEWS!

* Updated Jan 1: The November number for the fridge is mixed data. The first week is the old fridge. When the new fridge arrived, it was off for three days. The old fridge ran on another outlet until food was transferred and the old was unplugged. The new fridge usage was the balance of November from Nov 10.

That the new fridge uses MUCH less energy, LESS THAN HALF is shown with the December usage which was entirely on the new fridge.

This is a comparison of the old and new ENERGUIDE labels (the new is on the right) The new fridge is almost half the usage of the old. Close enough and nice to have this confirmed with my own data. The new fridge should make a big difference to lower my kWh use. The freezer has now become my highest usage refrigeration and my next target.

Thanks for your interest,

George Plhak
Lion's Head, Ontario, Canada

INDEX to the series

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

radon testing

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that may accumulate in a home. Radon is colourless and odourless; it can enter a home anywhere there is contact with the ground, such as basements. Testing is the only way to know if it is present. 

I have begun two long term radon gas tests in the basement of my old house. Radon gas in a dwelling or at work is a possibility in most parts of Canada and the US. We should test for radon in the places we spend the most time ie have the most exposure.

There are excellent web references and tons to read. I have never done a test for Radon.

I was excited to have a "free" kit offered by local Grey Bruce Public Health. I also purchased a long term test kit (SKU 3616930 $43 with tax + $40 analysis report fee in six months) from Scott's Home Hardware to compare. My plan is to run both tests for six months (from today will be May 21 2018).

I have had most concern about where to place the test modules for the duration of the test. The kits and online info provide guidance. But if I followed it all, in my case, there would to be no place better than the middle of my living room on the main floor except it is adjacent to the kitchen which is a no-no. According to most instructions, I am to test in the lowest "lived-in" room in the house. A basement if it is finished and someone spends some amount of time down there.

I am probably erring on the side of excessive caution but I'd rather know if the room was safe BEFORE I put someone's living quarters down there. Unfinished and probably will never be except perhaps for some insulation. There is still a chance of a "water event" in my basement although things have been improved and it has been pretty dry down there the last couple of years. I wanted a worst case type of reading.

Other negatives, I am not to test in a furnace room although the furnace is across the room. I am to be away from walls and floors.  I built the little test stand to keep the modules safe and dry, about 2 foot off the concrete floor sitting under the open stair well.

Today I cut open the sealed bags. Both modules look the same, a black top hat module about 3cm in diameter with identical markings (but different numbers) just like they had been made in the same factory. Same air desiccant bag inside the plastic.

The one from the Public Health comes with paperwork from AccuStar Canada (with address POB Cap-Rouge Office Quebec. There is a plastic bag and a postage paid return envelop addressed from the Cap-Rouge Office to ACCUSTAR LAB 11 AWL STREET POB 158 MEDWAY, MA. I am supposed to mail the Public Health module together with the completed AccuStar Datasheet in this envelop. No additional charges mentioned. There is a statement in their instructions which states that test devices must be sent to the US address, not AccuStar Canada.

AccuStar calls the test "Long Term Radon Test Kit for Radon in Air (Alpha Track)". I had read that I could not measure for the presence of radon with a Geiger type counter since the radiation is alpha which is not detected by a Geiger tube. I need an alpha transparent window, like a mica window to make an active detector.

Passive radon detectors like these rely on a small piece of sensitized plastic film. It has to go back to a lab for reading. A one shot device. Time is a key input to determine an exposure range. These long term detectors should be exposed 90 days to one year and the exact period recorded on the datasheet.

The Public Health package includes a booklet "Radon: A Guide for Canadian Homeowners". Good basic information. I notice that you can get a pdf copy here if you submit your email.

The package from Home Hardware, a Pro-Lab "Long-Term Radon Gas Test Kit, product number RL116 contained an envelope made out to Pro-Lab with address in Woodbridge, Ontario, a short "information sheet" to be filled in and on the other side instructions. The standard Lab results are obtained by sending back the detector and test info sheet together with check or money order for C$40. They also take Visa, MaterCard, AMEX or Discovery cards. A phone number is given.

So now we wait for six months...

Thanks for your interest.
George Plhak
Lions Head, Ontario, Canada

Radon Cancer infographic
Radon - Canada.ca.