Postings tagged with 'Heat Pump', listed in descending order by creation date. Last Postings shown.
I did not have ambitions 2017. It should have been a year of taking stock -
and it was, in a good way.
time-travelled and re-lived some history of software engineering, and
finally learned basics of computer science. This was philosophical delight,
but also useful and necessary: I was able to boost the performance of my
simulations (above a level of what was, maybe, embarrassingly slow).
- I tinkered a lot with
numerical simulations of our heat pump system. Main thing I learned: The
more modern the building, the more you'd need to simulate humans' behavior,
rather than physics or control logic.
- Reverse engineering and troubleshooting is what finally connects all the
fields of science and engineering I love: Troubleshooting, ferreting out
hidden causes and effects in hydraulics feel the same as
sniffing and debugging software and networking protocols.
- Theoretical physics reading: I returned to classical thermodynamics and
statistical mechanics; I find it fascinating and beautiful in its own
right, even if only at the pre-1960s level. I took stock of my
writing on heat transport - and I am happy I can actually really use
physics on a daily basis, in down-to-earth engineering projects.
- I was thinking about automation, standardization, and big social media
platforms. I struggled with this blog post about the
future of small business for a long time, but optimism won. I might
frame this even more positively today: There is a place for artisanal
service delivery despite or because of Everything Being Offered As A Service
by Omniscient Data Krakens.
- My blog turned 5 in spring, and I allowed myself to
return to a more philosophical blogging style (briefly). Otherwise, I
finally and subconsciously made the elkement.blog my main resources of
technical content - or at least content related to my professional domain,
and content edited for clarity and entertainment. Whereas on
elkement.subversiv.at I let my stream of consciousness flow. It seems that
the pattern that finally emerges is: elkement.blog = elkement's tech /
science magazine and platform for personal research news, with an ever
growing focus on fields I have training in and daily practical exposure to.
elkement.subversiv.at gravitates against the same focus, but I allow myself
to focus on my personal perspective only. So here you find 'what I am doing
with [insert: heat pumps, security,...]', over there you find the useful
content as such.
- Tomato harvest was great. I tried to grow late varieties - like Ox Heart
- directly outside, and it worked.
- Dinosaur Kale tastes good. And it is able to recover from a at attack of
a bug that targets kale (and radishes' seed capsules). Don't try to keep
seeds of radishes in the land of canola.
This website is an old-school non-interactive site. My blog technically
isn't, but looks like one now, for the lack of visible comments. However,
messages have reached over covert 1:1 channels, so I do now that there is a
small but sincerely interested group of readers. I thank you all for reading my
Many years ago, The Web – which has its own category on my website here –
was an experimental playground for me. You might have guessed so, just
checking out the URL of this post.
Technologies and protocols once used for displaying static websites have
been repurposed, and HTTP(s) became the so-called Universal Firewall Bypass
protocol. We synchronize files with Dropbox or offline-cache or mailboxes.
Applications like Teamviewer or the signals from our Things (as in Internet
Of Things) poke controlled holes into our firewalls so that they are
somewhat accessible from the outside.
I have written about all of that at length elsewhere – about the
insecurity of the Internet of Things and about
Data Krakens dominating small businesses. I have had mixed feelings
about the evolution of The Web. But there is one absolutely positive
outcome: That HTTP(s) (mis-)use connection magic enables me to work in a way
I would have never envisaged 25 years ago – at the time when my most
important ‘files’ were still contained in physical folders.
I am able to work nearly remote-only, not only in IT projects. About 10
years ago I was a consultant in information security. We worked from ‘home
office’, too, although company culture often dictated that there had to be
meetings in real life. Today, I still support some long-term IT security
clients, but mainly via remote and/or asynchronous channels. When we started
our experimental heat pump side-business several years ago, my standard joke
was: Someday we will work in heat pump projects the way we work in IT
projects. And the joke became true – it actually became the default way of
working, even for clients that are within geographical reach, like a 50-70km
This list on our website explains the steps / stages of such a project –
but it’s hard to convey the spirit of a remote project properly. It sounds
way too serious. On our German blog we feature
verbatim hilarious quotes of a client / ice storage heat pump system
self-builder – translation could never do it justice.
Working remotely seems to be about technology: We need to have the tools
we have today to communicate, exchange information, to monitor and manage
systems over the internet. But it is more about culture. In IT, such tools
have already been available for a long time, yet some corporations insisted
on ‘face showing rituals’. Notably, during the economic crisis of 2008/2009
many companies worked hard to keep travel costs low and resorted to working
remotely – and later never reverted to face showing mode.
Successful remote communication is based on the skill of asynchronous
communications, e.g. on processing more than the first three lines of an
e-mail, but replying thoughtfully in nested threads. My anecdotal evidence
tells me that our typical heat pump clients have that skill – tech-savvy
geeks whose day jobs are usually tech- / IT- / engineering-related .
You need to keep politics out. As soon as that infamous ‘non-verbal
clues’ become important, remote channels might be too narrow. However, I
wonder if politics can ever be tamed properly even with heavy face showing.
My pragmatic solution is to focus on simple ‘structures of command’ – work
with one single accountable client who is in charge for his/her project and
has skin in the game. Only if you need to intermediate between ‘team
members’ and listen to ‘different sides’ you get into troubles. I have my
share of experiences – like: Clandestine meetings in which project member X
told me they considered to revolut against project manager Y – depending on
my honest opinion of Y.
Many hands-on engineering tasks are gradually being supported by remote
IT tools. I am not a first adopter of such technology – like augmented
reality glasses for engineers in power plants. My icon is an angry dinosaur
for a reason. But even I say, half-jokingly, that someday people might 3D
print our heat exchanger tubes and PVC supporting constructions, instead of
working with our traditional design documents and plans.
So at the end of 2017, I embrace The Web again and my outlook is
positive. It’s like returning to the old days – when
The Cluetrain Manifesto told us that The Internet will kill TV-like ads and
foster communications between human beings – also in business. That may
sound irrational, given the ominous power of online tracking, all for the
sake of advertizing. But anyway: The positive spirit of
remote working pioneers, like Automattic (wordpress.com) is what defines
The Web for me!
I blog about anything heat-pump-related, in particular about our system. In
addition, I am interested in thermodynamics, heat pumps and heating systems in
general - and their integration with the smart grid and related security
concerns. These are my postings about our 'ice-storage-/solar-' powered system specifically and postings on closely
related subjects like the power grid, renewable energy and sustainable living.
I am running a small
engineering consultancy together with my husband. Following Star Trek
terminology, he is Chief Engineer, and I am Science Officer.
In overly correct legalese, my job titles according to our business licences
are 1) Consulting Engineer in Applied Physics and 2) IT Consultant.
We specialize in planning of
heat pump systems with
unconventional heat sources, that is a combination of an underground water
tank and an unglazed solar collector. 'IT' means: playing with control units and
As we run a
focused on this system and I also devote
a 'sub-division' of my English blog to
it, I use this site (radices.net) mainly for consolidating resources and links -
in the same way as I curate security / PKI related links. Perhaps these link
dumps will not be very useful for anybody but myself.
I once was a laser physicist and a materials scientists - my specialties
having been high-temperature superconductors, laser-materials processing with
Excimer lasers, and the microstructure of stainless steel. Then I turned to IT
security, IT infrastructure and IT management for more than 10 years.
In 2012 I
felt the urge to reconnect with my roots as a scientist and engineer, and we
started working on our own heat pump research project in stealth mode. It turned
to a second 'branch' of our two-person business. There are connections between
my different fields of expertise - IT security and heat pumps - like: the
security of the smart grid, 'hacking critical infrastructure', monitoring and
control systems. Even the data we gather with our pilot setup have turned into
'big data' that require analysis and management.
So I am actually more of an engineer than a physicist. But I am still very
interested in theoretical physics as sort of a mental exercise, and I indulge in
reading textbooks as hobby. In 2013 I had focussed on
(re-) learning quantum field theory.
Since 2014 I am mainly blogging on down-to-earth classical mechanics or
thermodynamics, and I enjoy doing cross-checks and back-of-the-envelope
calculations on my blog.
Heat pump usage in different countries and history of heat pumps
Unusual heat sources
Sizing heat pumps - I am trying to learn the terminology of standards
commonly applied in English-speaking countries:
Power grid and availability
Hydro power plants
In Sweden the world's largest pumped hydro storage plant might be built:
- See bottom of page 30 of
this research paper:
Besides the official estimations there are
some discussions [28b] about building pumping capacity between the lakes
Vänern and Vättern in Southern Sweden. The difference in altitude is 44
meters between these lakes.?
- ... and the
last page of this presentation:
Possible future? Mariestads
Kraftverks AB & others 50 km tunnel between the lakes Vänern & Vättern Cost:
250 billion SEK. Installed capacity: 50000 MW .
Free long-term weather data
Inputdaten für eigene Simulationen.
Germany and Austria.
Climate data for the last decades. The navigation is something you need
to get used to (Pick: Cities, Climate, Climate Robot...). Therefore I start
Ice Days for Vienna. It is a bit weird that available data seem to
depend on the choice of the language (less data for Vienna in English).
The winter 1962/63 was the coldest since 250 years in Europe (German article:
Winter 1962/63 in Europa. Englisch article:
Winter of 1962–63 in the United Kingdom).
More data from a talk / slides
avaiable at the website of the Royal Meteorological Society:
The bitter winter of 1962/63 - this winter was unusually mild in Canada and
Could such a winter ever happen again? "The 1963
winter is well within the population of other cold winters that have been
experienced in this country ... It is not necessary therefore to seek some very
special cause in order to explain it." – H.C. Shellard , Meteorological
Magazine , 1968 (p.21 of PDF)
Different heating systems
Statistics for Austria:
Heating 2003 to 2012 by fuels used and heating system (in Austria). Less
than 15% of (primary) heating systems are stoves, and they have been on a
decline in the last decade.
Units, heat values, energy costs
Tools for converting units
Properties of water (for comparing the energy stored in a water / ice tank)
Costs of energy - international
Monitoring, Control, IT
Metering and monitoring electrical power consumption
- Smart meters with data loggers and/or various interface for attaching
loggers - to be installed behind the official smart meter:
- Parsing an online monitoring website is perhaps the most universal
'real-time protocol' in case not other interfaces are available. E.g. by
using Powershell, I tested with the local website of a Fronius Symo inverter
and their web portal www.solarweb.com.
One option: Start an
InternetExplorer.Application comobject and identify the html containing
the interesting value per its ID (getElementById).
Manuals of data loggers by Technische Alternative Gmbh (for control units
Bus topology. Note that UVR1611 is automatically terminated by default.
Heating with computers
Computers installed in private homes provide their computing power to cloud
services - while heating those homes.
Basics (Physics) - Mechanics, Electrodynamics
The Feynman Lectures of Physics
Volume 1: Mainly mechanics, radiation and heat.
Mainly electromagnetism and matter
... an odd combination probably.
But I have a penchant for
For me IT security, physics, and engineering are all connected naturally, and
not only through my biography.
The communication between devices making up the internet of things need to be
secured. Publicy Key Infrastructures may provide X.509 certificates needed to do
Physics provides one the one hand the underpinning of engineering, on the
other hand mathematical methods used in physics can be applied to all kinds of
complex systems. There is some truth to this satirical explanation of the
relation between Feynman diagrams, certificate validation, and hydraulic designs..
But philosophical musings aside, on a daily basis I simply like to play with
technology: Exploring how applications and systems use digital certificates and
how they can or can't be 'hacked'. How to build ('hack') a technical solution
using off-the-shelf components? How to develop a simulations tool from so-called
simple 'Office software'?