Nothing Better Than A Natural Gas Shortage To Illustrate The Importance Of Energy Efficiency

KNUTSFORD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 20: Details of equipment for 12 inch high pressure gas pipeline … [+] which passes through the Cheshire countryside on September 20, 2021 in Knutsford, England. Rising natural gas prices in the UK this year have put several utilities out of business, with other industries warning of aftereffects, such as the production of carbon dioxide, which is widespread in the food and beverage industry. (Photo by Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

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Supply chain disruptions, shortages of storage, and a recovering global economy are causing natural gas prices to skyrocket – now at $ 6 per million BTU in the US and $ 25 in Europe. In addition to trying to discover new deposits and expand the infrastructure, other steps can be taken. What are you?

The most practical approach is energy efficiency, which includes everything from upgrading heating and cooling equipment to installing modern equipment and lighting systems. In this way, natural gas stoves and water heaters can be modified to capture the high temperature heat lost, which is then used to generate electricity. Although this feature increases the cost of the stove and heating, it produces electricity for less money than centrally generated electricity. It’s also less CO2 intensive. The amortization occurs within 5 years.

“This could be the next industry standard,” said Tony Pan, CEO of Modern Electron in Seattle, in an interview. “It’s a lot more efficient. It essentially converts heating stoves and water heaters into miniature power plants. We recover wasted energy in heating and turn it into electricity – a process that always takes place when the heating is on or the hot water boiler is in operation. Eighty percent of the world’s electricity is now generated from heat in central power plants with massive engines and turbines. But this type of combined heat and power has never existed for one’s own home. ”

If the heat is not immediately captured and reused, it will be degraded and worthless. Over long distances it becomes less efficient and the technology has to be used for self-generation. In some cases, the so-called “thermionic converter” – an integral part of the process – can be added to existing systems. Modern Electron’s partners are the heating, air conditioning and ventilation manufacturers who install these converters in new devices.

Grid-based electricity is around 51% efficient, while combined heat and power units – similar to Modern Electron’s technology – can reach 75%, says ICF International. Industrial companies have long been using “combined heat and power”: 82,000 megawatts of this output are now available in almost 4,000 of these plants across the country, says ICF. That’s 8% of the U.S. electricity generation base and prevents 1.8 quadrillion BTUs of fuel consumption each year – a remarkable statistic during a natural gas shortage. And now home users have access to some of these tools.

Freeze blackouts

AUSTIN, TX – FEBRUARY 17, 2021: People wait in long lines at a HEB grocery store in Austin, Texas … [+] on February 17, 2021. Millions of Texans are still without water and electricity as winter storms persist. (Photo by Montinique Monroe / Getty Images)

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About half of all US households use natural gas for heating. And this number is at least the same in Europe. So if natural gas prices rise this winter, households around the world will feel it. Consider the 2021 winter frost in Texas: Millions of heat and electricity lost. But if its heat had been recovered and used to generate electricity, it could have saved lives and alleviated pain. Unfortunately, Texas does a comparatively poor job of implementing energy efficient solutions.

“A hundred people froze to death,” says Tony Pan. “Pipes are frozen and burst. The irony is that there is a lot of energy in the oven. But it’s wasted. It will harm the poorest among us. When you have an energy crisis it shows the importance of energy efficiency. If the heat were captured and reused, it could provide the electricity we need. If you are in short supply of natural gas, you can use this gas much better in houses and buildings for combined heat and power.

“Modern Electron enables heating stoves and hot water tanks to provide combined heat and electricity using a new technology that captures the wasted energy,” he adds. “It turns it into electricity for houses and buildings. Electricity is more valuable than heat. That’s why we humans save money. It’s also a benefit for the environment. That’s why we do it for large industrial companies. And this is a novel technology that gives the average joe the same skills industrial companies have had for a century. It is strange that it takes an energy crisis to make people aware of energy efficiency, ”which can also reduce CO2 emissions.

All of this is in line with a new study from E4TheFuture, which advocates clean, efficient, and safe energy solutions, and E2, comprised of business leaders, investors and professionals who advocate green business solutions. Their latest research shows that low-income families and households of color spend 8% of their household income on energy. This corresponds to a national average of 2%. With additional insulation, this energy load can be reduced by 25%, for example.

To shed light on the extent to which energy efficiency makes a contribution to achieving the 2030 climate goals, the study published yesterday examines the retrofitting of houses with everything from insulation to modern home heating and hot water tanks: it concludes that such an undertaking would cost 1 million could create new jobs while also saving households $ 66 billion in energy and preventing 242 million tons of CO2 from being released each year.

“Energy efficiency saves money, reduces emissions, improves air quality and public health; it also makes us less dependent on energy – in combating climate change and creating jobs. It is an energy source that we need to invest in, ”reads the paper“ Energy Efficiency Jobs in America ”published by E4TheFuture and E2.

As the global economy recovers from the coronavirus blues, it will need more energy to fuel expansion. The world now lacks natural gas, making it more expensive than it has been in years. Rely on energy-efficient technologies that can reduce both energy costs and emissions. What is new is the ability for homeowners to access some of the same tools industrial companies have long used – an innovation underscored by the current energy problem.

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