Having Survived the Hottest July Ever (Thanks, Natural Cooling!)

July 2015 was the hottest July ever since meteorological data had been recorded in Austria (since 248 years). We had more than 38°C ambient air temperature at some days; so finally a chance to stress-test our heat pump system's cooling option. Heating versus cooling mode In space heating 'winter' mode, the heat pump extracts heat … Continue reading Having Survived the Hottest July Ever (Thanks, Natural Cooling!)

Solar Energy, Batteries, and Autonomy

This is the third post in my series on our photovoltaic generator. It had been a part of previous post with the data for the first month, but I cut and saved it as the other post was so long already. I am now also able to present data for two months of operations: Below … Continue reading Solar Energy, Batteries, and Autonomy

Solar Power: Some Data for the First Month.

On May 4, 2015, we started up our photovoltaic generator. Here are some numbers and plots for the first month - and what I plan to do next. Our generator has a rated power of 4,77 kWp (kilowatt peak), one module has 265 Wp. The generator would deliver 4,77 kW of electrical power under so-called … Continue reading Solar Power: Some Data for the First Month.

Two Weeks After Lift-Off

After a little delay our photovoltaic generator went online - we had been waiting for the delivery of this sophisticated addition to our office decoration: People on G+ had very cool suggestions, such as a rotating alien-fighting device throwing darts. Closest to the truth were: fuse box and fire alarm. The box containing two knobs … Continue reading Two Weeks After Lift-Off

We Have Come a Long Way: Rooftop Solar Power Now!

We had considered it already a few years ago - when we decided to live and work in the middle of a dusty and noisy construction site for a few months: The upper part of the roof is inclined by 30° - which is the optimum angle for photovoltaic panels - whereas the windows in … Continue reading We Have Come a Long Way: Rooftop Solar Power Now!

“An Unprecedented Test for Europe’s Electricity System”

And we will not be able to contribute - by a hair. We have just ordered our photovoltaic generator, and installation is planned for April. It is the (partial) Solar Eclipse on March 20 that made Europe's Transmission System Operators (TSOs) release an announcement: Under a clear morning sky on 20 March 2015, some 35000 … Continue reading “An Unprecedented Test for Europe’s Electricity System”

Cistern-Based Heat Pump – Research Done in 1993

One of the most recent search terms on this blog was: 'cistern for water source heat pump'. I wanted to double-check and searched for this phrase myself. This was the first Google Search result: Cistern-Based Water-Source Heat Pump System Design ... a research paper that had been available for download at the website of Iowa … Continue reading Cistern-Based Heat Pump – Research Done in 1993

Art from Plastic and Wood

After the musings on Life, the Universe and Everything you deserve a break - and a post with not too much verbiage. I am borrowing some images from a series of posts the Chief Engineer is currently running on our German blog. (My job title is Science Officer, but we don't have a Captain). This … Continue reading Art from Plastic and Wood

Lost in Translation – an Overdue Update

In this post I try something new: I will keep it short. This is actually an update long overdue. Months ago I have written a post on how to control the four elements that is how to harvest energy from ambient air, solar radiation, the freezing of water, and ground here. A loyal reader told … Continue reading Lost in Translation – an Overdue Update

Controlling the Four Elements. Or: Why Heat Pumps Are Cool.

Despite my attempts to post mainly geeky and weird stuff peppered with (very often not down-to-earth) physics, I got involved in some serious discussions on renewable energy, sustainability, heat pumps, and the pleasures of Building Your Own Stuff. So I will describe what I am actually working on / playing with when I am not … Continue reading Controlling the Four Elements. Or: Why Heat Pumps Are Cool.