Waste heat recovery innovation doesn’t make the news that often, so when it does, I have to wonder whether you, clever reader, can steer that innovation toward some creative advancements for the HVAC industry.

The innovation in question was published in March in a paper (www.nature.com/articles/srep44621) titled “Terbium Ion Doping In Ca3Co4O9: A Step Towards High-Performance Thermoelectric Materials.” (You read engineering trade magazines, you know a catchy title when you see one, am I right?) The authors are Shrikant Saini, Haritha Sree Yaddanapudi, Kun Tian, Yinong Yin, David Magginetti, and Ashutosh Tiwari. They are researchers at the University of Utah.

So what’s going on? The title’s complicated compound comprises calcium, cobalt, and terbium. The strategy revolves around the Seebeck effect, which relies on significant differences in temperature in nearby areas of the same environment. The goal is to harness potentially useful energy with no wall outlets required.

As Daniel Akst reports in his March 23 Wall Street Journal article (“A Compound to Capture Lost Energy”), cooking is a possible hot spot here (no pun intended). However, another is in the area of clothing or accessories and medical monitoring, where the difference between our body temperature and the environment’s temperature could allow the “free” energy to power small sensor-type devices.

So the question is, could this type of technology open another front in the ongoing buildings battle to minimize wasted energy? Email me at beverlyr@bnpmedia.com with your ideas, no matter how near- or farfetched.



Twice a year, we work with the American Boiler Manufacturers Association (ABMA) to produce their official publication, Today’s Boiler. The in-the-field projects this time around range from a Missouri national landmark to a food processing plant to a distillery.

Beyond the case histories, topics include the question of on/off versus modulating when it comes to boiler water feeding, and new advances in fighting corrosion that certain conditions can encourage in HRSG units.

The spring issue is out this month — you either found one arriving with this magazine in the plastic bag or you can fire up the digital edition when it gets posted this month at www.esmagazine.com/boiler.



Finally, we have posted a new quick quiz for May. This month, we’re pulling the questions from articles and columns in this very issue itself. The current batch of questions will test your reading (or your formidable inherent knowledge) on the topics of the:

- Rule of thumb for fume exhaust stack discharge cones

- Body temperature and, more specifically, standard brain temperature

- Current cost per minute of an unplanned data center outage

- ASHRAE-recommended methods of diffuser selection


You can also still take either of the two quizzes contributed by AMCA to kick off our online quiz section, if you weren’t among the 1,000+ who already did earlier this year. But either way, look for the quiz icon on our homepage and step right up.



Register for our free webinars at http://webinars.esmagazine.com, where registered users can also view any webinar from the last year on demand in our archive.


Kohler Webinar Series 2017

Presented by Julius Neudorfer
North American Access Technologies
Attendees can qualify for AIA or IACET CEU credits


June 8

“Advanced and Intelligent Back-Up Power Systems: Paralleling Generators for Redundancy and Capacity”


Future installments

October 12 / December 12




June 24-28

ASHRAE Annual Conference

Long Beach, CA



September 27-29

2017 ASHRAE Building Performance Analysis Conference