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(AP News)   Germany is building one helluva big honking hot tub in Berlin   (apnews.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Natural gas, Fossil fuel, Wind power, Coal, Greenhouse gas, Carbon dioxide, Energy, Temperature  
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989 clicks; posted to STEM » on 04 Jul 2022 at 5:15 AM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



8 Comments     (+0 »)
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2022-07-04 6:39:03 AM  
Wouldnt it be better to have a hugeass slab of rocks with pipes between them since rock holds heat better than water does?


Almost like a geothermal plant....
 
2022-07-04 7:47:44 AM  

Concrete Donkey: Wouldnt it be better to have a hugeass slab of rocks with pipes between them since rock holds heat better than water does?


Almost like a geothermal plant....


Holds heat "better" is relative.

If they have a large enough mass of water that they dont intend to exceed 200F or so while storing all the enegry they need, then it doesn't really matter. Also, they can just pump the water to where it's needed, rather than some more more complicated heat exchanger with the rock. EZPZ.

What I'm curious about is... how much energy is that exactly and how much is it really going to help. I mean, 15 million gallons sounds like a lot? But over an entire city...?
 
2022-07-04 9:31:57 AM  

Ecliptic: What I'm curious about is... how much energy is that exactly and how much is it really going to help. I mean, 15 million gallons sounds like a lot? But over an entire city...?


I would expect there used to be a power plant that provided electricity and local hot water.  They aren't that uncommon. They would mostly heat nearby apartments and other high density housing.
 
2022-07-04 11:09:23 AM  

Concrete Donkey: Wouldnt it be better to have a hugeass slab of rocks with pipes between them since rock holds heat better than water does?


Almost like a geothermal plant....


Maybe. Are there rocks underground there or will they be shipping them in?

It's a good idea and it's nice to see it get a tryout rather then dismissed outright for lack of being the perfect solution.
 
2022-07-04 11:21:11 AM  
This might actually be one of the times where you want to spend the money insulating the tank with aerogel too. Anything else would be a waste of money
 
2022-07-04 5:09:59 PM  
Jesus farking christ - this is IRL Frost Punk...
 
2022-07-04 8:16:35 PM  
It is great to see that this article got some attention eventually.

Water is excellent thermal mass considering that it can be pumped and moved around. I seem to recall rocks are better, but not hugely better, and they entail other problems. One could also think about surface area. Pipes would not perfectly fit between rocks, so heat transfer is not great. You could then say "sand" but there are going to be problems there too.

This is a great idea. They used available materials and are doing it in a hurry, so they are not digging, they are building UPWARD. It is one huge thermal mass.

It is better than a battery because the thermal roundtrip efficiency is going to be better than the electrochemical efficiency of a battery. But you can use it as a battery by "banking" cheap or waste heat from a power plant, or solar panels, or wind turbines, or coal and gas plants. Then you can extract that as needed. You can extract, add, or extract while you add. It is a big buffer to keep people from freezing.

The larger heating grid is infrastructure that is not so common in "newer" countries, unfortunately, so doing this at scale presents difficulties.
 
2022-07-04 8:23:22 PM  

Concrete Donkey: This might actually be one of the times where you want to spend the money insulating the tank with aerogel too. Anything else would be a waste of money


They probably did the math and figured out what amount of loss would be acceptable compared to the cost of materials, time to construct, etc. There is an odd thing that happens where you have so much of a resource that it is practically free. In this case, that might be heat from certain sources at certain times. That low cost forces the curve down so much that "huge losses" are entirely acceptable. In fact, trying to conserve the resource has almost no value because there will always be more.

This is why Americans buy SUVs. It is the most human and natural impulse in the world.

Space exploration is hugely important to create a human mindset geared to using resources efficiently. How much heat should be be banking and recycling? ALL OF IT. But that is not an economic solution.
 
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