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Methods and apparatus for transferring thermal energy

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20120298328 patent thumbnailZoom

Methods and apparatus for transferring thermal energy


Municipal waste water systems can be a significant renewable alternative energy source for heating and cooling of buildings. Waste water flow rate and temperature data is collected over a period of time and locations within the waste water system that can act as a thermal energy source or sink are identified. Candidate buildings proximate the locations are identified. Thermal energy transfer apparatus can be used to transfer energy between an identified location and building.

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Inventors: Alan W. Cibuzar, Peter Nelson
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120298328 - Class: 165 47 (USPTO) - 11/29/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > Structural Installation

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120298328, Methods and apparatus for transferring thermal energy.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

This application claims benefit to Provisional Application No. 61/479,617, entitled METHODS AND APPARATUS FOR TRANSFERRING THERMAL ENERGY, filed Apr. 27, 2011.

BACKGROUND

The present disclosure relates to methods for transferring thermal energy with waste water systems and related apparatus.

It is well recognized that municipal wastewater systems consume significant energy during operation. Large initiatives have been addressed and funded regarding reduction of energy consumption in these systems.

SUMMARY

Methods for heat transfer and related apparatus are disclosed herein. In various aspects, the methods may include the step of identifying a thermal energy target location within a wastewater system using flow rate and water temperature, and may include the step of locating a thermal energy transfer apparatus at the identified thermal energy target location. The methods may include the step of transferring thermal energy between the thermal energy target location and a building using the thermal energy transfer apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates by photographic overlay a map of a waste water drainage system including surrounding geographic features.

FIG. 2 illustrates a plot of water temperature as a function of time at a location within the drainage system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a plot of water temperature as a function of time at another location within the drainage system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 illustrates a plot of water temperature as a function of time at yet another location within the drainage system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 5 illustrates plots of temperature drop in ° F. as a function of flow rate in gallons per minute (gpm) for selected rates of thermal energy extraction.

FIG. 6 illustrates a plot of Average Flow (GPM) as a function of time of day at a location within the drainage system of FIG. 1.

FIG. 7 illustrates by frequency chart the number of occurrences of a flow rate for the data of FIG. 6.

FIG. 8 illustrates heating and cooling energy values available at a location on different dates.

FIG. 9 illustrates a system that uses heat extracted from waste water to provide a portion of the energy needed to heat a building.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Methods for transfer of thermal energy with a waste water drainage system are disclosed herein. In various aspects, the methods may include identifying a thermal energy target within a drainage system. The thermal energy target may be a location within the drainage system having a sufficient combination of water temperature and water quantity for thermal energy transfer. The methods, in various aspects, may include identifying a user of sources and sinks for thermal energy and may include identifying a user of thermal energy sources or sinks that is located generally proximate the thermal energy target. The methods may include locating thermal energy transfer apparatus proximate the thermal energy target. The methods, in various aspects, may include transferring thermal energy with the thermal energy target. Thermal energy may be transferred with the thermal energy target by extracting thermal energy from the thermal energy target or by ejecting thermal energy into the thermal energy target. The methods may include providing thermal energy extracted from the thermal energy target to the identified user. The methods may include ejecting thermal energy from the identified user into the thermal energy target.

“Waste water drainage system”, as used herein, includes storm sewers, sanitary sewers, and combined sewers, as, for example, may be found in an urban setting. The drainage system may be generally placed below grade and covered with earth so as to be buried, in some aspects. The earthen covering of the drainage system may insulate the drainage system thereby preventing loss of thermal energy from the drainage system to the external environment. The covering may create insulation or in other a heat sink and in others a heat source. The geology surrounding the sewer pipe will govern the rate of heat exchange between the material around the pipe and the sewage. In some aspects, the drainage system may be formed, at least in part, as a conduit that may be made of concrete, reinforced concrete, masonry, clay tile, cast iron, combinations thereof, and so forth. In some aspects, various pumps stations, weirs, spillways, valves, gates, and other facilities may be provided at various locations about the drainage system. Various data collection apparatus may be provided about the drainage system, for example, to measure the flow at various locations, in various aspects. Various control systems may be provided about the drainage system to regulate the drainage system, in various aspects, and the control systems may be operably connected to the pump stations, valves, gates, and so forth, in various aspects.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120298328 A1
Publish Date
11/29/2012
Document #
13458822
File Date
04/27/2012
USPTO Class
165 47
Other USPTO Classes
International Class
24D17/00
Drawings
10



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