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thermodynamics Archives - Michaels Energy

Turbulence, Tribes, and Climate Change

By Energy Rant No Comments
The topic of climate change is fascinating to me because I love to learn why people believe what they believe. I wrote last week that climate change policy is firmly and forever intertwined in political warfare. Does anyone stand alone on an island isolated from their tribe on anything?  Maybe five out of one hundred on an issue or two, but for the most part, no. This is where I come in – I love stirring the pot. A few months back, a friend forwarded a link to Global Warming for the Two Cultures, by Richard LIndzen, Professor of Meteorology,...
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Dig Some Wind – Blown Away by Inversions

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
As children, some engineers liked to take things apart to see how they worked – and maybe even put them back together. That was too much work for me, but I was curious. I would intently watch my Mom as she accelerated the 1970s Ford Galaxy 500[1] down the road. What was she doing to make it shift gears? I had to know! Of course, it was an automatic transmission. Today, I see some scientific claims, and I can’t help myself but to dig in and find the big lie, er, the big why. This week’s adventure started two months...
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Excess Power

Electricity Storage by the Other NWA; Chum v Beluga

By Energy Rant No Comments
Energy storage is easy and cheap. Grid-grade electricity storage is complex and expensive. Definitions of energy storage vary. Some consider hot water, chilled water, or ice to be stored energy. It’s really storing the benefits of energy consumption. For phenomenal refreshers and mental strolls down memory lane, see Storing Energy v Storing Benefits and Something Old, Something Old. Why is grid-scale electricity storage so expensive? To answer this question, let’s consider the forms of storage and the hurdles that must be overcome to make it cost effective. Electricity Storage Challenge #1 = Inefficiency First, we have the storage of potential...
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Why Energy Efficiency? – Five Findings

By Energy Rant No Comments
This year ACEEE published a three-part series on why people and companies invest in energy efficiency. First, they provide some guesstimates of energy efficiency investment in the United States. Their researched estimates vary from $60 billion to about $120 billion, annually. Is this a reasonable guesstimate? According to their State Scorecard, program spending on natural gas and electric demand-side management programs held steady at about $7.5 billion in 2016. Check. The International Energy Agency pegs worldwide investment at $231 billion and about $40 billion in the U.S. Check. As a laugh test, $100 billion is a measly 0.5% of the...
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Climate Change IV – Diverse Thought, Anyone?

By Energy Rant One Comment
Last week, we discussed themes of the 2017 International Energy Program Evaluation Conference, known as IEPEC for short. One of the positive themes included how the industry is beginning to have a constructive approach to fixing climate change, the subject of this post. Liberals have softened their rhetoric on climate change and are moving toward a truce with conservatives, with figurehead Bob Inglis and his founded organization, RepublicEn, making the first move. Free Expression of Thought? Dr. David Barker with American University, stated in the closing plenary that liberals are less tolerant and more hostile toward views of the other...
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Lily

Evaluating Custom Efficiency – The 4D Dysfunction Report

By Energy Rant One Comment
A disturbing trend with custom efficiency is sweeping the industry, and guess what, I’m going to rant all over it like black on my little spazoid Labrador, Lily, aka, Blacky. Michaels is packed to the rafters with engineers who know a thing or two about energy, thermodynamics, heat transfer, and fluids – all the building blocks of being an expert in custom efficiency. We know this because our job candidates get an eclectic, off-the-wall quiz when we interview them. Candidates have to leave their props and crutches on the table or in their pockets, exposing only their brain and how...
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Efficiency by Baby Steps and Giant Bounds

By Energy Rant 2 Comments
This post features concepts everyone can use to identify terrific savings opportunities, even if you did not take beloved calculus and thermodynamics. Let’s review a general hierarchy of typical energy efficiency families: 1. Shut it off 2. Slow it down, set it back (temperature, etc.) 3. Reduce waste 4. Retrofit or replace with efficient equipment Those are all wonderful and probably capture over 98% of portfolio savings. Even newer programs like behavioral, retro-commissioning, and strategic energy management merely pursue these items. What’s left? Smart design. I.e., 5. Don’t be stupid Or for the glass half full message, it would be...
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Power Factor Cures for Toenail Fungus

By Energy Rant One Comment
This post ends with a quiz and more than 49 $5 Starbucks card winners for correct answers. Why the quiz for this post? Because the subject is power factor. Most descriptions of power factor remind me of riding the NYC subway many years ago before passengers buried their faces in their smartphones, which did not yet exist. Instead, choices included looking at the floor or the ceiling, like riding an elevator. God knows you don’t want to make eye contact with the person sitting across from you. At the ceiling were ads for the most socially undesirable products imaginable: cures...
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Distributed Energy Resources – Messing with Near Perfection

By Energy Rant One Comment
A couple years ago at an AESP conference, we had a fascinating speaker and topic. It was one of those that had me thinking deeply and philosophically. The subject was technology and the future. The takeaway: every problem is either a technical problem or one of human flaw. As for technical problems, there is nothing short of violating the laws of physics, including the second law of thermodynamics, that humans can’t and won’t someday solve: cancer, heart disease, failed or destroyed body parts, and of course, energy, and even aging. As we say at Michaels, (although we are not yet...
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Climate Change 1, Things Untold

By Energy Rant 3 Comments
Of fourteen categories of Rant topics, Climate Change scored a solid seventh place for subjects readers want to read about. I am certain you will find information in this post that you’ve never seen before. As “settled science”, it sure is difficult to find unbiased information on this subject. In science we have laws, which are held to be true because nobody can prove otherwise. These include the law of gravity.  Gravity on a planet or star is proportional to its mass. Others include the first law of thermodynamics (energy can change forms but never increases or decreases), second law...
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