Friday, April 15, 2011

Heathrow to use solar earth charging!

15 April '11: I am ecstatically happy to see that the Guardian prints a lead story about Heathrow and Solar Earth Charging (or UTES as Nic Wincott calls it, or IHT as ICAX call it). I don't know who the company advising them is (I would guess it is ICAX) but all health to them! This is either a case of 'great minds thinking alike', or more likely, 'an idea whose time has come!' 
   The idea of solar earth charging has gone from 'rubbish' (as said by one of my colleagues) and 'a malicious hoax' (as said by one of the more malevolent moderators on the Navitron forum), to a great energy-efficient and safety-providing idea being adopted by one of the world's leading airports. Heathrow may be the first airport to try this - excellent!
    I have written on here before about the principle of charging the ground without needing a heat pump, eg, for defrosting water tanks on farms, or for defrosting roads, where a heat source with a starting temperature of about 12-13 degrees is enough to defrost, without any more energy consumption than the cost of a circulating pump. All of the summer cost of the pump can be met with PV power.
   ICAX have pioneered the idea of collecting summer heat from dark tarmac and storing it under a well insulated building (so it can't escape far), and my working system with vertical boreholes has provided so much additional efficiency to the heat pump that we can feed the entire annual requirements of the GSHP from the electrical capture of a 4 kW Photovoltaic (PV) array - making our house carbon zero.

With a mere 4 sqm of black panel inside our Sunboxes, we have managed to keep our deepest ground temperature above 10 degs throughout the winter, even at the end of December 2010. An airport is a secure location with acres of free space, and the budget to pay for the laying of underground pipes and cables. It can lay out acres of solar panel to charge up the earth, sufficient to deliver liquid at above freezing temperatures throughout the winter. These do not need to be mounted on buildings, they can be low lying land structures that do not obstruct visibility, and are 'sacrificial, easily rebuildable' in case a plane rolls of the runway and crushes a few. It can also justify enough PV panels to cover the pumping costs throughout the summer and into the winter. For the 'stands' like the ones pictured above, there are acres of roof on the terminal buildings which can contain solar panels.

1 comment:

  1. good info...when I went to Broome western Australia, most of the hotels there are powere with Solar energy...I wonder if solar-powered A/Cs are affordable or not


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