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Eco-Holdings Engineering (F-7395)

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Waste Heat

Helping with Basic Energy Understanding

We can go from (1) Basic (air leaking around a window) to (2) Complex (conservation of Mass & Energy).


(1) Thermo-Graphic Imaging of Waste Heat 

I took this image of a Tesla showing it's very low waste heat compared to the 'red' and white heat emitting from adjacent cars. 


We use thermo-graphic images as a simple tool to find energy leaks and poorly insulated area insulation.


Thermography can also be used to show water/moisture presence, electrical hot spots (before they short) and vampire watts, etc. 


Such infrared imaging helps answer questions like - 

  • How can I reduce my energy bill? or
  • Where can I save more energy?, etc. 







(2) Fuel Cell Application

Consulting on mass and energy (mass/energy in must equal the mass/energy going out (electricity and waste heat).

This fuel cell waste heat example came from some real heated conversations with a major net zero building developer.  

They had not considered the waste heat implications of adding a fuel cell inside of a building.  Their 50% efficient fuel cell would convert the natural gas BTUs into 50% electrical energy, but the other 50% into waste heat.  


This means a 50% efficient fuel cell will use 200 kW of natural gas fuel energy to produce 100 kW of electricity PLUS 100 kW (350,000 BTU) of heat.  This is like a propane shop heater constantly running at full blast.


Fuel cells are not magic - they follow the mass/energy balance like every other energy device. The mass-in of natural gas and air is converted by the fuel cell into electricity, plus waste heat and mass flowing out (water vapor, CO2, and other gases along with heat).

This can be acceptable within a building envelope only if it is planned for. As fuel cell efficiency increases, from current 50% to possibly 80%, the waste heat output will decrease from 50% to 20%.

(3) Residential Energy Performance

Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) House showing 46.2 F (colder) exterior indicating less heat energy leaking through walls

Tradition Brick Wood Frame New House showing 54.8 F (warmer) exterior indicating more heat energy leaking through walls

Tradition Stucco Wood Frame New House showing 54.1 F (warmer) exterior indicating more heat energy leaking through walls.  Note 'hot' windows compared to the other homes 

A Stucco 'Green' House we engineering with a 48.7 F exterior indicating less heat energy leaking through the walls. 



Some of of my non-work infrared images


Various Thermographic views of James Turrell's Twilight Epiphany Skyspace at Rice University

My Honda Pilot brake/wheel heat (front wheel drive)

My glass of beer outside Rice University's Vahallah Grad Student Bar (they'll sell anyone beer) 


Alien Christmas Lights