Geothermal for your house?
By Trevor Gould
For the longest time, traditional heating and cooling methods have been used in the majority of the world’s households. Yet thanks to the industry’s continuous innovation, a hyper-efficient solution is now widely available in the form of geothermal heating and cooling.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems harness the earth’s stable underground temperature to comfortably heat and cool a living space and are also capable of contributing to or providing all of a home’s hot water needs. This is accomplished by a piping system strategically buried beneath the ground. Water (or a water/anti-freeze solution in colder climates) is circulated through the pipes, absorbing the underground temperature and purposing it accordingly. Despite its vaunted efficiency rate and innovative nature, a geothermal heating/ cooling unit installation isn’t cheap. This is a brief overview explaining how properly investing in this newfound technology can pay dividends in the long run.
What is Geothermal Heating/Cooling?
As mentioned above, the entire concept is built off the utilization of the stable temperature that resides beneath the ground. It’s effective because while the outside temperatures rise and fall with the seasons, the subterranean temperature stays relatively constant, making it an ideal source for both heating and cooling. The convenience is obvious when you consider how when it’s cold outside people need warmth and vice versa.
For heating, the water circulating in the buried pipes absorbs underground heat and then transfers it to the heat pump where it is concentrated and sent as warm, comfortable air into the living space. Cooling reverses the process by removing heat from the air and transporting it underground where it is absorbed by earth. Cooled by the lower underground temperatures, the water is then returned to the heat pump where it can continually extract heat from the home to create cool air.
Monthly Bill Reduction
Everyone dreads that monthly energy bill. It’s a certainty in life, and controllable to a certain extent, but still a nuisance nonetheless. Due to their hyper-efficiency, geothermal systems can drastically reduce your monthly utilities bills by as much as 80 percent. Most are also ENERGY STAR certified, formally verifying their adherence to government energy efficiency standards. Switching from a traditional HVAC system to geothermal can help minimize your monthly utilities bills and help free up additional cash.
Standard HVAC systems consume vast amounts of energy as they toil to extract heat from the cold air. Thanks to their innovative technologies and reliance on the stable underground temperature, geothermal heating and cooling systems are proven to achieve 400-600 percent efficiency. Increased efficiency directly equates to less energy consumed, so owners of geothermal systems can rest easy knowing they’ve effectively reduced the impact of their carbon footprint.
Green is one of the hottest trends currently sweeping across the housing landscape, with eco-friendly building materials and appliances in high-demand. As heating, cooling and hot water systems typically account for 70 percent of a home’s energy consumption, homeowners seeking to do their own part to help the environment should strongly consider a geothermal system installation to reduce the energy consumption of the largest energy-consuming component of their household.
Multitude of Incentives
Thanks to their unrivaled efficiency and growing popularity, many geothermal cooling systems are eligible for a recently established federal tax credit. It grants homeowners permission to deduct 30 percent of the total geothermal system installation cost from their tax liability. Officially titled The Residential Energy Efficient Property Tax Credits program, it occupies part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which provides nonrefundable tax credits to enable homeowners to afford qualified residential alternative energy equipment.
Installing a certified geothermal heating and cooling system isn’t a cheap process, but its long-term benefits make it a completely worthwhile investment. Reduced monthly utilities bill, less environmental damage, and tax incentives await those that decide to switch out their old HVAC systems for the ultra-efficiency of geothermal technology.
Author bio: Trevor Gould actively writes about sustainable living, energy consumption and green products.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.