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"Reverse Refrigeration" Cools And Heats
Creative ideas come at the darnedest times. Kevin Flammang was filling a bowl with ice cream when he noticed the heat coming from the freezer vent. He started jotting down notes about capturing heat with a refrigeration system. Those notes formed the basis of a company called Waters Hot, Inc. to use the concept of a freezer compressor as a type of heat pump.
"We call it reverse refrigeration," says Flammang. "Imagine taking the guts out of a refrigerator or freezer and reconfiguring them. Instead of using refrigeration to cool, we use it to heat."
Flammang's more technical term for his invention is Reverse Ambient Solar Energy Reclamation System (RASERS). He calls it that not because it is a solar power system, but because it can capture thermal energy provided by the sun. It can also capture thermal energy produced by a factory, livestock facility or anything generating hot air or water. Just as a refrigeration compressor pulls heat out of a compartment and dissipates it to the environment, the RASERS system pulls heat out of the environment and directs it to contained water or other fluids.
Flammang's system consists of an evaporator panel, a compressor and a heat exchanger. Unlike the evaporator panel on a freezer compressor, the RASERS panel does not encompass the compressor, but is remote. Instead of a fan drawing air across the evaporator coil, the panel can be placed in waste air or wastewater streams, on buildings or on rooftops, or anywhere else there is a waste thermal energy load.
Refrigerant gasses in the evaporator panel capture the thermal energy and are transferred to the compressor where the expanded gasses are compressed to liquid, resulting in a substantial increase in heat in the refrigerant liquid. The hot liquid is then passed through a heat exchange where another fluid such as water or glycol absorbs the excess heat, raising its temperature. At the same time, the temperature of the refrigerant liquid is reduced, and it is recirculated back to the evaporator panel, and the process repeats.
Flammang reports that his RASERS compressor requires only 18 to 21 amps of electricity compared to a typical air conditioner compressor of the same rating which draws 35 to 40 amps. The efficiency, he says, is due to the remote location of the evaporator panel and reduced stress on the compressor due to the unique design. "Other companies have tried and failed, but they were stuck in their boxes of what refrigeration can do," explains Flammang. "With our reverse refrigeration, we heat water by absorbing heat from air as cold as -20? F."
He says the nearest technology to a RASERS is a ground sourced heat pump. Differences include lower cost, as loops in the ground are eliminated. Flammang estimates his unit can be installed for a few thousand dollars less.
RASERS are in place in test homes and commercial settings, including the Waters Hot production facility. RASERS are not intended to be stand-alone heat sources in most regions of the country. In tests, RASERS are operated in conjunction with existing heat sources. Flammang reports energy savings of 45 percent compared to a resistant heat (electric), forced air furnace operating by itself. Supplementing a natural gas fired furnace with a RASERS reduced gas needs by 87.15 percent over gas fired alone. In the case of a Laundromat, Flammang reported that preheating water going into a natural gas fired boiler showed a 63.6% savings in gas and an overall savings of 30% in energy costs.
Waters Hot is in the process of setting up franchise dealers around the country. Pricing will be determined by size and purpose of the units.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kevin Flammang, 3480 440th St., Orange City, Iowa 51041 (ph 712 737-2066; fax 712 737-2916; kevin.flammang @ water shotinc.com; www. watershotinc.com).

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2006 - Volume #30, Issue #4