Electratherm Green Machine
Electratherm's closet-size device is the first machine to power generators with waste heat of as low as 200ºF, a temperature given off by common boilers or chillers in office buildings. (Industrial waste-heat recyclers require 1,000º blazes.) The heat boils refrigerants into a pressurized gas that spins two small, screw-shaped rotors. From $128,000; electratherm.com
The Green Machine will change global "industry" as we all know it.
Another perpetual motion machine. You cannot get something for nothing! If you take heat off the process, you must add more heat to keep the process going. They would be better off insulating the process equipment so there is not so much heat loss. You might as well burn the gas directly in an engine and use that waste heat for the process. I am in the industry and we see these kind of things every few years and then they die a slow, quite death.
In some processes heat is actually a waste, which you need to remove. This would generate energy from this heat, which otherwise would just heat some air or water.
I think you are misunderstanding the technology behind this product. It uses no fuel, and creates no emissions. Its runs off the waste heat that comes out of stationary engines, coal-fired power plants, etc. It uses that waste heat to create electricity.
To truly understand how it works, check out http://www.electratherm.com/technology.html
According to the US Dept of Energy, there is more waste heat available from US industry than all energy currently produced renewable sources combined (7 Quadrillion BTU). It's about time we utilize it!
The process needs to run at a certain temperature, normally higher than ambient. To maintain this temp energy must be put into the system. Look at your enthropy laws: The first statement of the 2nd law of thermodynamics is that heat flows spontaneously from a hot to a cold body. So the heat necessary to make electricity is flowing from the source to the atmosphere and it must be replaced to keep the process moving. Again, the energy savings from properly insulating the process to hold the heat loss in would be much more than using that same heat in a process that is less than 100% efficient to generate electricity.
Now there is the case where true waste heat would be available, like cement off the kiln or the cooling of AL or steel after processing or the heat generated in a landfill from decomposition or the condensing steam heat off a power plant that might be a candidate for a device like this. Channeling/concentrating that heat might be a challenge. But the investment on $128K and all the peripheral equipment and maintenance costs vs the low level of KW this will produce will have an ROI of decades, not years. The user would be better off directly using this heat in a secondary process. I ask what the thermal efficiency of this beast is? How many thermal KW in vs electrical KW out? I'll bet it is pretty low.
Sure, it is "green" to say we will recover this energy, but it will cost you more energy & carbon to get it than it will ever replace. Kinda like the tree huggers travelling across the country to protest wasting energy!
I still say these things come up every few years, like Freon 113 for transformers or room-temperature superconductivity, grab a few suckers to buy them, and then just as fast they disappear leaving the unsuspecting with a boat anchor. Oh, and the disposal cost in $$ and carbon.
If this is still around when I retire in a little over 10 years, look me up and I'll buy the beer!
ayrungaray, I understand how it works. And this is not supposed to be a place for the mfrs to advertise.
Readers, the stars are self-imposed by the authors, so don't put any weight on them.
Just leveling the field...
Hi there, Electrical, I'm am not an engineer, though I do have some lay level exposure to industry (cut my teeth in the linen supply business 30 years ago) You're of course right in that insulation for heat that can recycle into a primary process is the cheapest way to save energy/improve energy efficiency. In linen supply we used to pre-heat water with waste from the washers and there wasn't a pipe or tank that didn't sport an inch of insulation - in those days asbestos. I don't think this machine would have helped us much. However, at my church I've gotten to know an engineer in waste water treatment and another non-engineer who works in a lumber mill. Both these guys have to cool liquids - in the sewage plant it's before ejecting water into the environment, though I don't know the specifics, and at the saw mill they seem to have a lot of hot oil left from cooling processes of some kind (likely saws?) and they need to drop the temp before re-using. Don't you think this type of machine can help meet their cooling requirements while making some electricity in the process? Seems the payback would be as much a function of the cost of electricity in their areas. The sewage guy has researched this machine quite a bit and thinks it shows some promise, then his cooling requirements are now govt mandated, so he's motivated. BTW Which industry are you in?
As a mechanical engineer, I think you are right about this being a waste of money to use on a boiler, however as Hurricane 101 said that there are processes that this machine can be useful for. For a boiler, there are going to be losses due to heat transfer across the system boundary. How the ElectraTherm is actually implemented directly impacts its benefit. You claim lengthy ROI's for a machine with this use, however if you calculate the ROI it is much less than a decade. Making the assumption, of course, that you are truly using the machine for its designed purpose and extracting WASTE heat. We will then calculate the break even time. The following are the parameters: Initial cost~$128,000 Output~50 kW-hr Average Cost of electricity~$0.11/kW-hr (DOE website)
This is the cost of energy per hour of operation.
$128,000/($5.50/hr)=23272 hours=969.7 days=2.66 years
This is the break even time.
The ROI will depend on the length of time required by the machine life cycle. I am willing to bet that even with some maintenance (which I am not really sure how much quality control has gone into these) the break even will not exceed 6 years.
Now to understand how it is useful Hurricane 101 gave some good examples of where there is a large amount of wasted heat. It is all about the application you use it in. You wouldn't use a toaster to cook your steak would you? Food for thought.
One more assumption I forgot is that the machine would be running for 24 hours a day, which for any large industrial application is likely.
This should work for any place with a cooling tower throwing off steam. Like coal fired or nuclear power plants. I always wondered why they were throwing all that energy away.
For a boiler it's useless but for a chiller on a large commercial complex it could have some applications. And 128k is nothing when you put it in perspective with the cost of the equipment it would be used in conjunction with. The Variable Frequency Drives that were hooked up to large industrial fans where I work cost over a million dollars to get installed.
I am outraged that entropy laws and the 2nd law of thermodynamics are impeding the greening of America. If the laws are getting in the way, then we need to change the laws. Where is our do-nothing Congress ? They talk and talk about climate change, but what have they done about these laws ?
Maybe with the new administration coming in, and with Democrats holding the majority in both houses of Congress, things will change. The Democrats are good at not letting things like laws of thermodynamics get in the way of progress. But if they get gridlocked, there's always a chance that the new administration can put more open minded judges on the Supreme Court, and they can issue rulings to make the laws of thermodynamics unconstitutional. While they are at it, they could do away with Kepler's laws of planetary motion, Newton's laws of gravitation, and Einstein's laws of relativity. Then it would be much easier to realize the dream of Star Trek.
Sometimes it seems we have a world which was designed and constructed to waste energy. When we had cheap inexhaustable fuel supplies, thermal efficiency was not the top concern. Retrofitting the current world with efficient supplies of the latest and greatest is simply not economically feasible, so we insulate the wasters and now we can utilize the Green Machine to capture and use that which we waste today.
Waste heat recovery will not increase the fuel requirements of the primary source, just recover wasted energy. Just as a the addition of HRSG equipment to a gas turbune system to create a combined cycle co-gen plant will not effect the thermal efficiency of the primary gas turbine, the Electratherm product will utilize energy currently going to atmosphere for the production of electricity.
This is not perpetual motion. This is not getting something for nothing. It is utilizing some of the heat currently being wasted. If I warm myself in the winter by standing in the exhaust flow of a room housing a boiler, do I reduce the efficiency of the boiler? If I cook a grilled cheese sandwich on the exhaust manifold of my car, do I reduce my MPG?
If I judge this product for what it is, I can only commend the manufacturer for coming up with a method of capturing localized wasted energy and converting it to electricity.
I respect the thirty year engineer but I would like to be at the bar when he has to buy. Valid points are articulated regarding insulation but but I disagree with the contention it will cost you more energy & carbon to get it than it will ever replace. In so far as the ROI is concerned it is totally dependent upon the application. Speaking in such generalities and poo pooing the technology lacks the constructive nature that I have come to know and appreciate from engineering types and is an amateur like me can see these poorly thought out criticisms and can also see the lack of foundation so will others of greater understanding and science........Let's try and look at the glass as half full than half empty
Hallo there guys! My name is kris kuehl. And i have built a perpetual motion device that generates free electricty. It is sooooooo simple, and only costs about 650.00 USD to build. I HAVE VIDEO EVIDENCE of it. You can see it at www dot silvermix dot us. Anyway, it's simply a generator that one might find in a portable generator but instead of using a gasoline motor, i simply jumpstart it from the wall, and it chases it's tail ummmm....forever. for real. All it takes is another electric motor to turn the gliding generator axle about 3600 rpm's. Well, two simple electric saws turn about 5300 rpm's. I line them up like an air conditioning component on a car, and jump start it all by plugging the first one in to the wall. Then, the second one is PRE-ORDAINED in an "on" position, whilst plugged into the back of the generator. Motor no.2 simply takes over. Then we unplug and play....free lightbulbs!
minstrel001 at gmail dot com