US20100187320A1 - Methods and systems for recovering and redistributing heat - Google Patents

Methods and systems for recovering and redistributing heat Download PDF

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US20100187320A1
US20100187320A1 US12361625 US36162509A US2010187320A1 US 20100187320 A1 US20100187320 A1 US 20100187320A1 US 12361625 US12361625 US 12361625 US 36162509 A US36162509 A US 36162509A US 2010187320 A1 US2010187320 A1 US 2010187320A1
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Prior art keywords
heat
system
fluid
heat exchanger
steam
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Abandoned
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US12361625
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Kenneth J. Southwick
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Transkinetic Energy Corp
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Transkinetic Energy Corp
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    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24DDOMESTIC- OR SPACE-HEATING SYSTEMS, e.g. CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS; DOMESTIC HOT-WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS; ELEMENTS OR COMPONENTS THEREFOR
    • F24D12/00Other central heating systems
    • F24D12/02Other central heating systems having more than one heat source
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24VCOLLECTION, PRODUCTION OR USE OF HEAT NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • F24V40/00Production or use of heat resulting from internal friction of moving fluids or from friction between fluids and moving bodies
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24DDOMESTIC- OR SPACE-HEATING SYSTEMS, e.g. CENTRAL HEATING SYSTEMS; DOMESTIC HOT-WATER SUPPLY SYSTEMS; ELEMENTS OR COMPONENTS THEREFOR
    • F24D2200/00Heat sources or energy sources
    • F24D2200/16Waste heat
    • F24D2200/22Ventilation air
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24HFLUID HEATERS, e.g. WATER OR AIR HEATERS, HAVING HEAT GENERATING MEANS, IN GENERAL
    • F24H8/00Fluid heaters having heat-generating means specially adapted for extracting latent heat from flue gases by means of condensation
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28DHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA DO NOT COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT
    • F28D21/00Heat-exchange apparatus not covered by any of the groups F28D1/00 - F28D20/00
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/08Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC] relating to domestic heating, space heating, domestic hot water heating [DHW] or supply systems
    • Y02B30/10Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC] relating to domestic heating, space heating, domestic hot water heating [DHW] or supply systems using boilers
    • Y02B30/102Condensing boilers
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02BCLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION TECHNOLOGIES RELATED TO BUILDINGS, e.g. HOUSING, HOUSE APPLIANCES OR RELATED END-USER APPLICATIONS
    • Y02B30/00Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC]
    • Y02B30/08Energy efficient heating, ventilation or air conditioning [HVAC] relating to domestic heating, space heating, domestic hot water heating [DHW] or supply systems
    • Y02B30/14Central heating systems having more than one heat source

Abstract

The disclosed system includes heat exchangers to recover and redistribute heat from and within a building heating and ventilation system and/or a steam system. Certain implementations of the system enable hybrid heating systems that merge existing combustion-based heating systems with systems that produce heat with electricity from renewable energy sources. Implementations of the disclosed system enable the conversation of energy and use of environmentally clean energy sources. In one illustrative implementation, heat is removed from an air conditioning system and redistributed into a steam generation system.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCES TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is related to the following U.S. patent applications:
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/134,535, filed Jun. 6, 2008,
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/061,872, filed Apr. 3, 2008,
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/030,272, filed Jan. 6, 2005, now U.S. Pat. No. 7,393,695,
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/590,049, filed Jun. 8, 2000, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,855,299, and
      • U.S. patent application Ser. No. 09/354,413, filed Jul. 15, 1999, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,110,432,
        all entitled Collider Chamber Apparatus and Method of Use and all incorporated by reference herein.
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of the Invention
  • The present invention relates to the recovery and redistribution of heat. More specifically, the present invention relates to recovering heat from various elements of environmental control systems for a building and/or utilities for the building and redistributing the heat to other elements of the environmental control systems and/or utilities.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,238,931 issued to Campbell et al. discloses a waste heat recovery subsystem utilizing a heat exchanger for extracting and recovering heat energy from a superheated refrigerant. The system includes three interactive control systems for control of the flow of a heat transfer fluid through the heat exchanger. The control systems cooperate to circulate the heat transfer fluid in response to a waste heat temperature and a heat transfer fluid temperature.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 4,792,091 issued to Martinez discloses an apparatus for utilizing heated water from an air conditioning condenser to heat water used to control temperatures in a large building. The apparatus includes a heat exchanger connected to an air conditioner condenser for receiving water heated by the air conditioner condenser and transmitting the water to a liquid circuit means. The liquid circuit means convey hot water to heating coils located in the building.
  • U.S. Pat. No. 6,110,432 issued to Southwick discloses an apparatus including a stator and a rotor disposed for rotation within the stator. An inner wall of the stator defines one or more collider chambers. Rotation of the rotor causes movement of fluid disposed between the rotor and stator, thereby establishing a rotational flow pattern within the collider chambers. The fluid movement induced by the rotor increases the temperature, density, and pressure of the fluid in the collider chamber.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • Under one aspect of the invention, a method and system for recovering and redistributing heat is provided.
  • Under another aspect of the invention, a system for recovering and redistributing heat includes a first heat exchanger in fluid communication with an air conditioner system. The first heat exchanger removes heat from the air conditioner system. The system also includes a second heat exchanger in fluid communication with the first heat exchanger and in fluid communication with a stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system. The second heat exchanger receives heat from the first heat exchanger and conveys heat to the stream of water. The system further includes a heater and a third heat exchanger. The heater is in fluid communication with an air stream of a ventilation system. The heater supplies heat to the air stream. The third heat exchanger is in fluid communication with the heater and a stream of steam condensate. The third heat exchanger removes heat from the steam condensate and conveys heat to the air stream, thereby cooling the steam condensate.
  • Under a further aspect of the invention, the system also includes a fourth heat exchanger in fluid communication with the first heat exchanger, the second heat exchanger, and an auxiliary heat source. The auxiliary heat source is, optionally, a non-combustion-based heat source.
  • Under yet another aspect of the invention, the auxiliary heat source includes a collider chamber apparatus. The collider chamber apparatus includes a stator and a rotor. The stator includes an inner wall, and the inner wall defines a plurality of collider chambers. The rotor is disposed for rotation relative to the stator, about an axis. An outer wall of the rotor is proximal to the inner wall of the stator. Rotation of the rotor in a first direction relative to the stator causes a fluid in each of the collider chambers to rotate within the collider chamber in a second direction opposite to the first direction. Rotation of the rotor causes the temperature of the fluid in the collider chambers to increase. The fluidic communication between the fourth heat exchanger and the auxiliary heat source, optionally, includes a liquid-filled closed loop.
  • Under another aspect of the invention, a method for recovering and redistributing heat includes removing heat from an air conditioner system and supplying a portion of the heat removed from the air conditioner system to a stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system. The method also includes removing heat from a stream of steam condensate and supplying a portion of the heat removed from the stream of steam condensate to an air stream of a ventilation system. The method optionally includes supplying heat from an auxiliary heat system to the steam of water being supplied to the steam generation system.
  • Under a further aspect of the invention, a system for recovering and redistributing heat includes a first heat exchanger in fluid communication with a stream of boiler blow-down liquid and in fluid communication with a stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system. The first heat exchanger removes heat from the boiler blow-down liquid and conveys heat to the stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system. The system also includes a second heat exchanger in fluid communication with the stream of water being supplied to the steam generation system and in fluid communication with an auxiliary heat system. The second heat exchanger receives heat from the auxiliary heat system and conveys heat to the stream of water being supplied to the steam generation system. Optionally, the second heat exchanger is downstream from the first heat exchanger relative to the flow of the stream of water being supplied to the steam generation system.
  • Under still a further aspect of the invention, the auxiliary heat system is a non-combustion-based heat system.
  • Under yet another aspect of the invention, the auxiliary heat system includes a collider chamber apparatus. The collider chamber apparatus includes a stator and a rotor. The stator includes an inner wall, and the inner wall defines a plurality of collider chambers. The rotor is disposed for rotation relative to the stator, about an axis. An outer wall of the rotor is proximal to the inner wall of the stator. Rotation of the rotor in a first direction relative to the stator causes a fluid in each of the collider chambers to rotate within the collider chamber in a second direction opposite to the first direction. Rotation of the rotor causes the temperature of the fluid in the collider chambers to increase. The fluidic communication between the second heat exchanger and the auxiliary heat system, optionally, includes a liquid-filled closed loop.
  • Under another aspect of the invention, the system also includes a flash steam generation system. The flash steam generation system includes a third heat exchanger in fluid communication with the auxiliary heat system. The third heat exchanger receives heat from the auxiliary heat system and conveys heat to the flash steam system for the generation of steam. Optionally, the auxiliary heat system includes a fourth heat exchanger in fluid communication with the third heat exchanger and an auxiliary heat source; the fourth heat exchanger receives heat from the auxiliary heat source and conveys heat to the third heat exchanger. Optionally, the auxiliary heat source, the second heat exchanger, and the fourth heat exchanger are in fluid communication via a liquid-filled closed loop.
  • Under a further aspect of the invention, the flash steam generation system also includes a flash steam valve for producing flash steam and flash steam condensate and a flash steam tank for receiving flash steam and flash steam condensate from the flash steam valve. The system also includes a condensate receiver in fluid communication with the flash steam tank for receiving flash steam condensate from the flash steam tank and the third heat exchanger for recycling the flash steam condensate to the third heat exchanger.
  • Under yet another aspect of the invention, a method for recovering and redistributing heat includes removing heat from a stream of boiler blow-down liquid and supplying a portion of the heat removed from the boiler blow-down liquid to a stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system. The method can further include supplying heat from an auxiliary heat system to the steam of water being supplied to the steam generation system after supplying the portion of the heat removed from the boiler blow-down liquid to the stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system.
  • Still other objects and advantages of the present invention will become readily apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description wherein several embodiments are shown and described. As will be realized, the invention is capable of other and different embodiments, and its several details are capable of modifications in various respects, all without departing from the invention. Accordingly, the drawings and description are to be regarded as illustrative in nature, and not in a restrictive or limiting sense, with the scope of the application being indicated by the claims appended hereto.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEW OF THE DRAWINGS
  • FIG. 1 shows a sectional side view of an embodiment of a collider chamber apparatus.
  • FIG. 1A shows a sectional side view of another embodiment of a collider chamber apparatus.
  • FIG. 2 shows a top sectional view of the collider chamber apparatus taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of the collider chamber apparatus shown in FIG. 1.
  • FIG. 4 shows a top view of a cyclonic flow pattern in a collider chamber.
  • FIG. 5 shows a perspective view of a cyclonic flow pattern in a collider chamber.
  • FIG. 6 shows a top view of another cyclonic flow pattern in a collider chamber.
  • FIG. 7 shows a top view of another cyclonic flow pattern in a collider chamber.
  • FIG. 8 shows a top view of alternative embodiment cyclonic flow pattern collider chambers.
  • FIG. 9 shows a top sectional view of a collider chamber apparatus in which each collider chamber is provided with its own fluid inlet, outlet, and control valves.
  • FIG. 10 shows a sectional side view of a collider chamber apparatus in which the rotor is characterized by an “hour-glass” shape.
  • FIG. 11 shows a sectional side view of another embodiment of a collider chamber apparatus.
  • FIG. 12 shows a sectional side view of another embodiment of a collider chamber apparatus.
  • FIG. 13 shows a sectional view of the apparatus shown in FIG. 12 taken along line 13-13.
  • FIG. 14 shows a perspective view of a collider chamber apparatus with helical collider chambers.
  • FIG. 15 shows a semi-transparent perspective view of a collider chamber apparatus with a segmented stator.
  • FIG. 16 shows a semi-transparent exploded perspective view of the collider chamber apparatus of FIG. 15.
  • FIG. 17 shows a perspective view of one of the segments of the collider chamber apparatus of FIG. 15.
  • FIG. 18 shows an overview of an embodiment of a heat recovery and redistribution system.
  • FIG. 19 shows an overview of an additional embodiment of a heat recovery and redistribution system.
  • FIG. 20 shows an overview of an additional embodiment of a heat recovery and redistribution system.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • FIG. 18 is an overview of a heat recovery and redistribution system 1000 according to an embodiment of the invention. System 1000 includes a high pressure boiler 1002, which produces high pressure steam that is fed into a steam distribution system 1004. High pressure boiler 1002 is fed water from a deaerator 1006 for the production of the high pressure steam. Steam condensate from a condensate return system 1008 is collected in a surge tank 1010. The collected condensate, along with a fresh water make-up stream 1012 supply water to deaerator 1006. Although not shown, one or more pumps are included in system 1000 to move condensate between the various vessels, boilers, and heat exchangers.
  • As mentioned above, liquid water from deaerator 1006 is sent to boiler 1002. Boiler 1002 heats the liquid water to its boiling point and supplies the heat necessary for the liquid water to become steam (i.e., the heat of vaporization). In one implementation, the steam is about 9.6 Bar and 176.7° C. (140 PSIA and 350° F.), although steam of higher or lower pressure and higher or lower temperature is within the scope of the invention. The steam flows through high pressure steam distribution system 1004 to various steam loads, e.g., heaters, autoclaves, and pipe steam tracing. The steam loads consume the heat of vaporization stored within a portion of the steam when using the heat from the steam. In doing so, the steam loads create steam condensate. As set forth above, the condensate returns to surge tank 1010. In some implementations, a portion of the condensate can be returned directly to deaerator 1006 (not shown).
  • Deaerator 1006 removes dissolved gases from the liquid water before it is sent to boiler 1002. Doing so reduces the negative impact of corrosive gases, e.g., carbon dioxide and oxygen, on the boiler and other components of the steam system. Heating and stripping steam 1014 is fed to deaerator 1006. Steam 1014 heats the liquid water in deaerator 1006 and bubbles through the water, which helps to scrub-out gases dissolved in the liquid water in deaerator 1006. A portion of heating and stripping steam 1014 condenses in deaerator 1006, while another portion of steam 1014 is vented as flash steam 1016 to strip the dissolved gases out of the liquid water.
  • A relatively small proportion of heating and stripping steam 1014 is vented as flash steam 1016 at all times to ensure adequate stripping of the dissolved gases. However, high condensate return rate and/or relatively high condensate return pressure can result in venting excess steam 1016 due to the condensate flashing into steam upon entering deaerator 1006. Venting excess steam results in the loss of both the heat energy stored in the steam as well as the loss of the water itself. This requires that additional make-up water 1012 be added to deaerator 1006 to account for the loss of the water mass. Also, additional energy must be added to the system in order to heat and vaporize the new water into high pressure steam.
  • Heat recovery and redistribution system 1000 also includes a condensate heat exchanger 1018 and a heater 1020. Condensate heat exchanger 1018, as well as any of the heat exchangers described herein, can be one or a combination of any type of heat exchanger known in the art in which fluid passing through a first “side” of the heat exchanger transfers heat to fluid passing through a second “side” of the heat exchanger. For example, condensate heat exchanger 1018 can be a shell and tube heat exchanger, a plate heat exchanger, and/or a plate-fin heat exchanger. Furthermore, the fluids between which the heat is transferred may be in a co-current, counter-current, or cross-current configuration. Further still, although only one heat exchanger may be shown in the Figures, each heat exchanger represented and/or described can be one or more heat exchangers in parallel or in series in order to provide redundancy, increase the surface area available for heat exchange, and/or provide other benefits. In some implementations, the inlet of one side of condensate heat exchanger 1018 receives condensate from surge tank 1010, while the outlet of the same side is connected to deaerator 1006. Meanwhile, the other side of condensate heat exchanger 1018 is connected in a closed loop 1020 to heater 1022. The fluid in closed loop 1020 can be any heat exchanger fluid known in the art for use with temperatures ranging from about −40° C. to about 180° C., e.g., a water and glycol mixture. In addition, one or more pumps (not shown) are used to circulate the heat exchanger fluid in closed loop 1020 as well as the other closed loops described herein.
  • Heater 1020 is located on a fresh air intake 1056 of a building's heating and ventilation system 1054. Heater 1020 can be any one or a combination of any type of heat exchangers for heating air. For example, heater 1020 can be a radiator or any of the types of heat exchangers set forth as examples above. When relatively cooler air is taken into the building, it passes through heater 1020 and cools the fluid in closed loop 1020 as the fresh air is heated. The fluid, through condensate heat exchanger 1018, absorbs heat from the condensate passing from surge tank 1010 to deaerator 1006, thereby cooling the condensate returned to deaerator 1006.
  • By reducing the temperature of the returning condensate, embodiments of the invention reduce the amount of condensate that flashes to steam upon return to deaerator 1006. In addition, by cooling the condensate in deaerator 1006, the amount of stripping steam 1014 that is condensed is increased. Thus, the amount of excess stripping steam 1014 lost as flash steam 1016 is reduced and the heat of vaporization stored in the steam is recaptured by the condensate in deaerator 1006. In this way, the heat that would otherwise be lost by excess stripping steam 1014 exiting deaerator 1006 as flash steam 1016 is recovered and redistributed into the fresh air being drawn into the building's heating and ventilation system.
  • In other implementations of system 1000, condensate collected in surge tank 1010 is sent to deaerator 1006 without passing through condensate heat exchanger 1018 (not shown). In such an implementation, condensate is taken from deaerator 1006, passed through condensate heat exchanger 1018, and returned to deaerator 1006. In so doing, heat is removed from the condensate in deaerator 1006 in the manner similar to that described above.
  • System 1000 further includes a boiler feed heat exchanger 1024 and an air conditioning system heat exchanger 1026. Both boiler feed heat exchanger 1024 and air conditioning system heat exchanger 1026 can be one or a combination of any type of heat exchanger, such as those described above. The inlet of one side of boiler feed heat exchanger 1024 receives condensate/boiler feed water from deaerator 1006. The outlet of that same side of exchanger 1024 passes the boiler feed water to high pressure boiler 1002. Meanwhile, the other side of exchanger 1024 is connected, in a closed loop, to one side of air conditioning system heat exchanger 1026. The closed loop between the two exchangers is filled with a heat exchanger fluid, such as that described above. The other side of air conditioning system heat exchanger 1026 is connected to air conditioning system 1028 and removes heat from air conditioning system 1028.
  • As air conditioning system 1028 operates to cool a building, heat is generated through the compression of the refrigerant (e.g., R-22, R-422D, etc.) inside the air conditioning system. In conventional systems, this heat is removed from air conditioning system 1028 by radiators and/or cooling towers coupled to the air conditioning system. In system 1000, the heat is removed from air conditioning system 1028 by air conditioning heat exchanger 1026 and transferred to the boiler feed water via boiler feed heat exchanger 1024. In so doing, heat that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere is recovered and redistributed to the steam system 1004. In some implementations, one of heat exchanger 1024 or 1026 is eliminated, and the heat from air conditioning system 1028 is transferred to the boiler feed water in a single exchanger.
  • Optionally, auxiliary components 1030, which include an auxiliary heat exchanger 1032 and an auxiliary heat source 1034, are included in system 1000. Auxiliary components 1030 are connected between air conditioning heat exchanger 1026 and boiler feed heat exchanger 1024 such that the fluid exiting air conditioning heat exchanger 1026 is further heated by the auxiliary components before entering boiler feed heat exchanger 1024. Auxiliary components 1030 can be connected to the closed loop between exchangers 1024 and 1026 by a valve arrangement 1036 such that auxiliary components can contribute heat to the closed loop as needed, or the auxiliary components 1030 can be bypassed. Auxiliary heat source 1034 supplies heat to auxiliary heat exchanger 1032 via a closed loop 1038.
  • In some implementations, additional auxiliary components can be included downstream of condensate heat exchanger 1018 and upstream of heater 1022 (not shown). In this way, the amount of heat supplied to the building's heating and ventilation system can be increased without unduly cooling the condensate being transferred from surge tank 1010 to deaerator 1006. These auxiliary components, too, can be bypassed, as described above.
  • Auxiliary heat source 1034, and any other auxiliary heat sources, described above can be any type of heater known in the art. For example, auxiliary heat sources include gas-fired heaters, oil-fired heaters, and/or electric-resistance heaters. However, as set forth in greater detail below, a collider chamber apparatus can be used as an auxiliary heat source. Using an embodiment of the collider chamber apparatus as an auxiliary heat source has advantages over conventional methods of heating, also as set forth in more detail below.
  • The boiler feed water supply to boiler feed heat exchanger 1024 includes a bypass valve 1040 and a temperature controller 1042. Temperature controller 1042 monitors the temperature of the boiler feed water that exits boiler feed heat exchanger 1024 and modulates bypass valve 1040 to achieve the desired temperature of boiler feed water entering high pressure boiler 1002. Temperature controller 1042 increases the amount of water that bypasses boiler feed heat exchanger 1024 to decrease the boiler feed water temperature, e.g., in order to prevent the boiler feed water from flashing upon entering high pressure boiler 1002, and thereby, possibly damaging high pressure boiler 1002.
  • Other bypass valves and temperature controllers are provided to maintain the various fluids of the system at their desired temperatures. For example, a bypass valve 1044 can be controlled by a temperature controller 1046 based on the temperature of the condensate returned to deaerator 1006 or the temperature of the condensate in deaerator 1006 itself. Likewise, a bypass valve 1048 can be controlled by a temperature controller 1050, based on the temperature of the fluid entering heater 1022 or based on the temperature of the air exiting heater 1022. Furthermore, the individual valves of valve arrangement 1036 can be controlled by a temperature controller 1052 in order to achieve a desired temperature of the fluid passing between air conditioning heat exchanger 1026 and boiler feed heat exchanger 1024.
  • FIG. 19 is an overview of another implementation of a heat recovery and redistribution system 1100 according to an embodiment of the invention. System 1100 includes a low pressure steam tank 1102, which contains low pressure for supply to a steam distribution system 1104. Low pressure steam is produced in low pressure steam tank 1102 by flashing hot condensate, which is at an elevated pressure and temperature relative to the low pressure steam, through a low pressure flash valve 1106, e.g., a throttling valve. To produce flash steam, condensate from deaerator 1108 passes through one or more pumps 1110 to increase the pressure of the condensate to, for example, 4.8 Bar (70 PSIA). The pressurized condensate passes through one side of condensate heat exchanger 1112 where it is heated to the desired temperature, for example, about 150.5° C. (303° F.). Deaerator 1108 has a make-up water supply 1136, a stripping steam supply 1138, vented flash steam 1140, and a condensate return 1142 as described above in connection with system 1000.
  • The pressurized and heated condensate then passes through low pressure flash valve 1106 where the pressure is reduced to the operating pressure of low pressure steam tank 1102 (e.g., about 1.4 Bar (20 PSIA)). As a result of this adiabatic expansion, part of the liquid water evaporates to steam, and the water vapor and liquid water cool to the steam saturation temperature that corresponds to the operating pressure of the low pressure steam tank 1102. In this illustrative embodiment, a temperature of about 109.3° C. (229° F.) corresponds to an operating pressure of about 1.4 Bar (20 PSIA). Although not shown, an additional heat exchanger can be disposed downstream of low pressure steam tank 1102 to provide a measure of superheat to the steam in low pressure steam system 1104. This additional heat exchanger can receive heat from another set of auxiliary components and/or from the closed loop between heat exchangers 1114, 1112, and 1120.
  • The other side of condensate heat exchanger 1112 is connected, in a closed loop, to one side of an air conditioning system heat exchanger 1114. The closed loop between the two exchangers is filled with a heat exchanger fluid, such as that described above. The other side of air conditioning system heat exchanger 1114 is connected to an air conditioning system 1116 and removes heat from air conditioning system 1116. As described above, heat is removed from air conditioning system 1116 by air conditioning heat exchanger 1114 and transferred to the pressurized condensate via condensate heat exchanger 1112. In so doing, heat that would otherwise be lost to the atmosphere is recovered and redistributed to the steam system 1104. In some implementations, one of heat exchanger 1112 or 1114 is eliminated, and the heat from air conditioning system 1116 is transferred to the pressurized condensate in a single exchanger.
  • Similar to system 1000, auxiliary components 1118, which include an auxiliary heat exchanger 1120 and an auxiliary heat source 1122, are optionally included in system 1100. Auxiliary components 1118 are connected between air conditioning heat exchanger 1114 and condensate heat exchanger 1112 such that the fluid exiting air conditioning heat exchanger 1114 is further heated by the auxiliary components 1118 before entering condensate heat exchanger 1112. Auxiliary components 1118 can be connected to the closed loop between exchangers 1112 and 1114 by a valve arrangement 1124 such that auxiliary components 1118 can contribute heat to the closed loop as needed, or auxiliary components 1118 can be bypassed. Auxiliary heat source 1122 supplies heat to auxiliary heat exchanger 1120 via a closed loop 1126. As with auxiliary components 1030, a collider chamber apparatus can be used as the auxiliary heat source. Although not shown, a condensate surge tank, condensate heat exchanger, and heater, such as elements 1010, 1018, and 1022 of FIG. 18, can be included in system 1100.
  • Low pressure flash valve 1106 can be modulated by a pressure controller 1128, which controls the operating pressure of low pressure steam tank 1102. As described above in connection with system 1000, a bypass valve 1130 and a temperature controller 1132 regulate the amount of condensate that passes through condensate heat exchanger 1112 to control the temperature of pressurized and heated condensate sent to lower pressure steam tank 1102. Also, a temperature controller 1134 can control valve arrangement 1124 to achieve a desired temperature of the fluid sent to condensate heat exchanger 1112.
  • FIG. 20 is an overview of yet another implementation of a heat recovery and redistribution system 1200 according to an embodiment of the invention. System 1200 includes a high pressure boiler 1202, which produces high pressure steam that is fed into a steam distribution system 1204. High pressure boiler 1202 is fed water from a deaerator 1206 for the production of the high pressure steam. Steam condensate from a condensate return system 1208 is collected in a surge tank 1210. The collected condensate, along with a fresh water make-up stream 1212 supply water to deaerator 1206. Although not shown, one or more pumps are included in system 1200 to move condensate between the various vessels, boilers, and heat exchangers.
  • Deaerator 1206 is similar to deaerator 1006 described above. Deaerator 1206 also includes a stripping steam supply 1214 and vented flash steam 1216. Deaerator 1206 also includes a condensate feed 1218. Condensate feed 1218 provides preheated condensate, which originates from surge tank 1210. Condensate collected in surge tank 1210 passes through one side of a first condensate heat exchanger 1220 and one side of a second condensate heat exchanger 1222. The other side of condensate heat exchanger 1220 receives high pressure boiler blow-down liquid 1224 from high pressure boiler 1202. High pressure boiler blow-down liquid 1224 is a stream of liquid water that is removed from system 1200 to a drain 1226 in order to prevent the build-up of impurities and spent treatment chemicals in system 1200. Because the blow-down liquid 1224 passes through heat exchanger 1220 before being removed from the system, the heat in the blow-down liquid 1224 is transferred to the condensate feed 1218.
  • After passing through heat exchanger 1220, the condensate feed 1218 passes through one side of the second condensate heat exchanger 1222, where it is further heated, and continues to deaerator 1206. The other side of condensate heat exchanger 1222 receives heat from an auxiliary heat source 1228. Auxiliary heat source 1228 supplies heat to condensate heat exchanger 1222 via a closed loop 1230. As with auxiliary components 1030 and 1118, a collider chamber apparatus can be used as the auxiliary heat source 1228. Through this arrangement of heat exchangers and the auxiliary heat source, the heat contained in the high pressure boiler blow-down is recovered and the condensate is further heated before entering deaerator 1206.
  • Valves 1231A, 1231B, and 1231C can be modulated to control the amount of condensate that passes through heat exchangers 1220 and 1222. For example, valves 1231A and 1231C can be set to fully open and valve 1231B set to fully closed. In this way, all condensate passing from surge tank 1210 to deaerator 1206 is heated in heat exchangers 1220 and 1222. Conversely, valves 1231A and 1231C can be set to fully closed and valve 1231B set to fully open in order to bypass these heat exchangers and pass condensate directly into deaerator 1206. Furthermore, these valves may be set to intermediate throttling positions to provide a mix of preheated condensate and condensate taken directly from surge tank 1210 to deaerator. In this way, the temperature of the condensate sent to deaerator 1206 is controlled.
  • System 1200 also includes a low pressure steam tank 1232, a receiver 1234, a condensate pump 1236, a low pressure steam heat exchanger 1238, and a low pressure flash valve 1240 (herein “flash steam system”). Low pressure steam is produced in low pressure steam tank 1232 in a manner similar to that of low pressure steam tank 1102 described above. Condensate from deaerator 1206 passes to receiver 1234 and is then pumped to low pressure steam heat exchanger 1238 by condensate pump 1236. Condensate pump 1236 elevates the liquid condensate to the pressure necessary to prevent steam from forming as the condensate is heated in low pressure steam heat exchanger 1238. Upon exiting low pressure steam heat exchanger 1238, the heated and pressurized condensate passes through low pressure flash valve 1240, thereby producing flash steam in low pressure steam tank 1232. The steam enters a low pressure steam system 1242 through a pressure regulating valve 1244. Condensate which does not flash into steam or that condenses in low pressure steam tank 1232 is sent to receiver 1234. In this way, the liquid portion of the flash steam system acts as a closed-loop system. This enables for the generation and formation of a high-temperature and high-pressure fluid in a closed container to, at will, rapidly gather and store thermal energy. In additional, it provides efficient transport of the high thermal energy source in a liquid form to a heat exchanger (e.g., low pressure steam heat exchanger 1238). Without maintaining the closed-loop nature of the liquid, adequate pressure could not be maintained so as to prevent undesired and/or uncontrolled flashing of steam.
  • The condensate passing through heat exchanger 1238 receives heat from a heat transfer fluid that passes in a closed loop 1246 between heat exchanger 1238 and auxiliary heat exchanger 1248. The flow of heat transfer fluid in closed loop 1246 is controlled by a heat transfer fluid pump 1250, thereby controlling the amount of heat supplied from auxiliary heat exchanger 1248 to low pressure steam heat exchanger 1238. Auxiliary heat exchanger 1248 receives heat from auxiliary heat source 1228 via the closed loop 1230 described above.
  • System 1200 also includes a low pressure boiler 1252. Low pressure boiler 1252 receives condensate from deaerator 1206 and produces low pressure steam in the conventional manner. This low pressure steam is passed into low pressure steam system 1242. Thus, low pressure steam can be produced by low pressure boiler 1252 and/or the flash method described above in connection with low pressure steam tank 1232.
  • Although not shown, system 1200 includes additional control valves and/or fluid flow control devices. These devices permit the system to operate with or without various components. For example, the flash steam system can be isolated such as to not receive condensate from deaerator 1206, and, thus, not generate flash steam. In such a operation scenario, heat from high pressure boiler blow-down liquid 1224 is still, optionally, recovered and redistributed to the condensate in deaerator, but all low pressure steam demand is met by low pressure boiler 1252. Conversely, system 1200 can be operated without supplying condensate to low pressure boiler 1252, thereby relying upon the flash steam system to meet the low pressure steam demand. In this case, condensate heat exchangers 1220 and 1222 may, optionally, be bypassed, as described above, and auxiliary heat source 1228 and exchangers 1238 and 1248 used to supply the additional needed heat energy to the flash steam system.
  • Embodiments of the invention, such as systems 1000, 1100, and 1200 enable heat to be recovered and redistributed within a building's heating and air conditioning systems and/or steam systems. In so doing, embodiments of the invention conserve energy by reducing the consumption of fuel and/or electricity used to boil water to produce steam, heat ambient air, and/or remove heat from the building's air conditioning system. This integration of multiple heat producers and heat consumers, across the entire system rather than between one heat source and one heat sink, results in economic savings. In addition, embodiments of the invention provide for a reduction in greenhouse and other harmful gas emissions, thereby lessening the environmental impact of the building's operations. These economic and environmental benefits are increased through the use of a collider chamber apparatus as an auxiliary heat source, as set forth above and described in more detail below.
  • By producing steam, e.g. low pressure steam, in the manner described in systems 1100 and 1200, additional operating benefits are realized. The method of producing flash steam as described above is believed to be more responsive than conventional boiler systems, especially when a collider chamber apparatus is used as an auxiliary heat source. This increase in responsiveness results in a reduction of the cyclic nature of the steam system in general. Typically, the steam produced by conventional steam systems fluctuate in a cyclic manner. These cycles result in periods of over- and under-production of steam. During the periods of over production, the excess steam that is produced is vented from the system in order to maintain the desired steam pressure in the distribution headers. This venting wastes energy and water.
  • Due to the degree of integration between the heat producers and heat consumers in systems 1000, 1100, and 1200 described above, heat that would be used to produce flash steam can be quickly diverted to other portions of the system when the steam load decreases, thereby reducing steam production and reducing or eliminating the amount of steam wasted due to venting. Furthermore, because the amount of heat produced by the collider chamber apparatus can modulated much more quickly than a conventional boiler system, the production of heat that would otherwise be wasted in avoided. Thus, by employing a combination of conventional boiler and the flash steam method, energy and water waste can be reduced. For example, a low pressure boiler can be operated to produce a constant amount of steam that is slightly less than the minimum low pressure steam demand. Meanwhile, the flash method operates in a “peak shaving” mode by producing the balance of steam required to meet the current demand. Further still, because the manner of producing flash steam disclosed herein transfers heat to the condensate to be flashed without the use of steam, additional condensate accumulation due to condensing steam is reduced or avoided. Thus, the occurrences of excess liquid levels in the low pressure steam tank, receiver, and/or deaerator, which can require steam venting or liquid dumping, are reduced.
  • FIGS. 1 and 2 show front-sectional and top-sectional views, respectively, of a collider chamber apparatus 100. FIG. 3 shows a perspective view of a portion of apparatus 100. Apparatus 100 includes a rotor 110 and a stator 112. The stator 112 is formed from part of a housing 114 (shown in FIG. 1) that encloses rotor 110. Housing 114 includes a cylindrical sidewall 116, a circular top 118, and a circular bottom 120. Top 118 and bottom 120 are fixed to sidewall 116 thereby forming a chamber 115 within housing 114 that encloses rotor 110. Rotor 110 is disposed for rotation about a central shaft 121 that is mounted within housing 114. Stator 112 is formed in a portion of sidewall 116.
  • As shown in FIG. 2, the cross section of stator 112 has a generally annular shape and includes an outer wall 122 and an inner wall 124. Outer wall 122 is circular. Inner wall 124 is generally circular, however, inner wall 124 defines a plurality of tear-drop shaped collider chambers 130. Each collider chamber 130 includes a leading edge 132, a trailing edge 134, and a curved section of the inner wall 124 connecting the leading and trailing edges 132, 134. For convenience of illustration, FIG. 3 shows only one of the collider chambers 130 in perspective. Further, FIG. 3 does not show the portion of housing 114 that extends above stator 112 and also does not show the portion of housing 114 that extends below stator 112.
  • The outer diameter of rotor 110 is often selected so that it is only slightly smaller (e.g., by approximately 1/5000 of an inch) than the inner diameter of stator 112. This selection of diameters minimizes the radial distance between rotor 110 and the leading edges 132 of the collider chambers 130 and of course also minimizes the radial distance between rotor 110 and the trailing edges 134 of the collider chambers 130.
  • Apparatus 100 also includes fluid inlets 140 and fluid outlets 142 for allowing fluid to flow into and out of the collider chambers 130. Apparatus 100 can also include annular fluid seals 144 (shown in FIG. 1) disposed between the top and bottom of rotor 110 and the inner wall of sidewall 116. Inlet 140, outlet 142, and seals 144 cooperate to define a sealed fluid chamber 143 between rotor 110 and stator 112. More specifically, fluid chamber 143 includes the space between the outer wall of rotor 110 and the inner wall 124 (including the collider chambers 130) of stator 112. Seals 144 provide (1) for creating a fluid lubricating cushion between rotor 110 and sidewall 116, (2) for restricting fluid from expanding out of chamber 143, and (3) for providing a restrictive orifice for selectively controlling pressure and fluid flow inside fluid chamber 143. The space in chamber 115 between bottom 114 and rotor 110 (as well as the space between top 118 and rotor 110) serves as an expansion chamber and provides space for a reserve supply of fluid lubricant for seals 144.
  • FIG. 1A shows an alternative embodiment of apparatus 100 in which fluid inlets 140 provide fluid communication between the environment external to apparatus 100 and chamber 115 through top 118 and bottom 120, and in which fluid outlets 142 a permit fluid communication between the environment external to apparatus 100 and the sealed chamber 143 through sidewall 116. Fluid inlets 140 may be used to selectively introduce fluid into chamber 115 through the top 118 and bottom 120, and some of the fluid introduced through inlets 140 may flow into sealed chamber 143. Fluid outlets 142 are used to selectively remove fluid from the sealed chamber 143. As those skilled in the art will appreciate, the fluid inlets and outlets permit fluid to flow into and out of, respectively, chamber 143 and may be arranged in many different configurations.
  • To simplify the explanation of the operation of apparatus 100, a simplified mode of operation will initially be discussed. In this simplified mode, fluid inlets and outlets 140, 142 are initially used to fill fluid chamber 143 with a fluid (e.g., water). Once chamber 143 has been filed, inlets 140 and outlets 142 are sealed to prevent fluid from entering or exiting the chamber 143. After fluid chamber 143 has been filed with fluid and sealed, a motor or some other form of mechanical or electrical device (not shown) drives rotor 110 to rotate about shaft 121 in a counter-clockwise direction as indicated by arrow 150 (in FIGS. 2 and 3). Rotation of rotor 110 generates local cyclonic fluid flow patterns in each of the collider chambers 130.
  • FIG. 4 shows a simplified top-sectional view of a portion of the fluid flow pattern in a single collider chamber 130 of apparatus 100. The rotation of rotor 110 in the direction of arrow 150 causes the fluid within chamber 143 to flow generally in the direction of arrow 150. Arrow 202 represents the trajectory of fluid molecules that are tangentially spun off of rotor 110 into collider chamber 130. These molecules are redirected by the wall of chamber 130 to flow in the direction of arrow 210 and form a cyclonic fluid flow pattern 220. Molecules flowing in pattern 220 flow generally in a clockwise direction as indicated by arrow 210. The rotational velocity of flow pattern 220 is determined by the rotational velocity of rotor 110, the radius of rotor 110, and the radius of the portion of chamber 130 within which pattern 220 flows. More specifically, the rotational velocity (e.g., in revolutions per minute) of flow pattern 220 is determined approximately according to the following Equation (1):

  • V∝ (Rr/R)Vr   (1)
  • where V is the rotational velocity of pattern 220, Vr is the rotational velocity of rotor 110, R is the radius of the portion of collider chamber 130 within which pattern 220 flows as indicated in FIG. 4, and Rr is the radius of rotor 110. The radius R of collider chamber 130 is typically much smaller than the radius Rr of rotor 110. Therefore, the rotational velocity V4 of flow pattern 220 is normally much greater than the rotational velocity Vr of rotor 110. In other words, apparatus 100 employs mechanical advantage, created by the disparity in the radii of rotor 110 and collider chamber 130, to greatly increase the rotational velocity of fluid flowing in chamber 130. In addition, the center of the roughly circular portion of collider chamber 130 can be located such that a circle formed by the outline of collider chamber would intersect a portion of rotor 110. Thus, in some embodiments, the widest portion of collider chamber is in the form of a “flattened” circle.
  • In one embodiment the radius Rr of rotor 110 is six inches, the radius R of the portion of collider chamber 130 within which pattern 220 flows is one eighth (⅛) of an inch, the rotational velocity of the rotor is 3,400 revolutions per minute (RPM), and the rotational velocity of flow pattern 220 is approximately 163,200 RPM. Those skilled in the art will appreciate that 163,200 RPM is an enormous rotational velocity and is far higher than has been generated with prior art systems for manipulating fluid. For example, some centrifuges generate rotational velocities as high as 70,000 RPM, however, centrifuges do not approach the rotational velocities, and large centrifugal and centripetal forces, provided by the collider chamber apparatus. Further, centrifuges provide only a single chamber for separation purposes whereas collider chamber apparatus 100 provides a plurality of collider chambers 130, all of which can accommodate a separately controllable cyclonic fluid flow for manipulating the fluid properties. Still further, centrifuges rapidly move a container of fluid but they do not move the fluid within the container relative to that container. Therefore, centrifuges do not greatly increase the number of molecular collisions occurring in the fluid contained within the centrifuge. In contrast to a centrifuge, an apparatus constructed as described herein generates fluid flows that rotate at extremely high velocity relative to their containing collider chambers and as will be discussed in greater detail below thereby dramatically increases the number of molecular collisions occurring within the fluid contained within the apparatus.
  • The rotational velocity V discussed above is a macro-scale property of the cyclonic flow pattern 220. The velocities of individual molecules flowing in pattern 220 as well as the frequency of molecular collisions occurring in pattern 220 (i.e., the number of molecular collisions occurring every second) are important micro-scale properties of pattern 220. As is well known, the average velocity of molecules in a fluid (even a “static” or non-flowing fluid) is relatively high and is a function of the temperature of the fluid (e.g., 1500 feet per second for water at room temperature in a static condition). Typically, fluid molecules travel very short distances (at this high velocity) before colliding with other rapidly moving molecules in the fluid (e.g., the mean free path for an ideal gas at atmospheric pressure is 10−5 cm). The average molecular velocity and the average frequency of molecular collisions are micro-scale properties associated with any fluid. As will be discussed in greater detail below, operation of apparatus 100 dramatically increases the frequency of molecular collisions occurring in pattern 220 and also increases the velocities of molecules flowing in pattern 220, and thereby increases the temperature of fluid flowing in pattern 220.
  • Molecules flowing in pattern 220 continually collide with molecules that are spun into chamber 130 by rotor 110. In FIG. 4, the reference character 230 indicates the region where the maximum number of molecular collisions occurs between molecules flowing in pattern 220 and molecules that are spun off of rotor 110. The number of collisions added to the fluid in chamber 130 by operation of the apparatus is roughly proportional to the rotational velocity of the flow pattern 220 (i.e., since each molecule is likely to experience a new collision every time it traverses the circumference of the flow pattern and again passes through the location indicated by reference character 230). Therefore, the extremely high rotational velocity of cyclonic flow pattern 220 produces a correspondingly large number of molecular collisions. Such a large number of molecular collisions could not occur within a fluid in a static condition, and also could not occur within a fluid that does not move relative to its container (as in the case of a centrifuge).
  • A small amount of heat is generated every time a molecule flowing in pattern 220 collides with the wall of the collider chamber or with a molecule spun off of rotor 110. This heat results from converting kinetic energy of molecules flowing in pattern 220 into thermal energy. This energy conversion results in reducing the kinetic energy (or velocity) of molecules flowing in pattern 220, and if not for action of the rotor 110 the pattern 220 would eventually stop rotating or return to a static condition. However, rotor 110 continually adds kinetic energy to flow pattern 220 and thereby maintains the rotational velocity of pattern 220. The rotor 110 may be thought of as continually “pumping” kinetic energy into the molecules flowing in pattern 220, and the enhanced molecular collisions occurring in pattern 220 may be thought of as continually converting this kinetic energy into heat. As the apparatus 100 operates, the continuous generation of heat tends to increase the average molecular velocity of molecules flowing in pattern 220, and this increase in velocity further increases the number of molecular collisions occurring in pattern 220.
  • In the prior art, heat has been added to fluids and the molecular motion of the fluids have been increased in response to the added heat. In contrast to the prior art, embodiments of the collider chamber apparatus induce rapid motion in a fluid (i.e., the high macro-scale rotational velocity V of fluid in the collider chamber 130) and thereby generate heat in response to the increased motion. The apparatus therefore provides a fundamentally new way of heating, or adding energy to, fluids.
  • In a static fluid, molecular collisions are random in nature. In the collider chamber apparatus, the induced collisions are directional in nature. For example, as shown in FIG. 4, rotor 110 initially causes the fluid in chamber 143 to rotate in the direction indicated by arrow 150. Subsequently, some of the fluid is redirected by chamber 130 to flow in pattern 220. Since the fluid flow generated by rotor 110 in the direction of arrow 150 tangentially intersects the flow pattern 220, collisions between molecules flowing in pattern 220 and molecules spun off of rotor 110 consistently occur at the intersection of these two patterns indicated by reference character 230. Further, at the time of collision, the colliding molecules flowing in pattern 220 and spun off of rotor 110 are both moving in the same direction as indicated by arrow 202. This consistent occurrence, and the directional alignment of, molecular collisions within pattern 220 permit rotor 110 to continuously pump energy into flow pattern 220
  • Since flow pattern 220 is restricted to flow within collider chamber 130, the constant addition of heat to flow pattern 220 continuously increases both the pressure and the density of the fluid flowing in pattern 220. In summary, the combined effect of the unusually high macro-scale rotational velocity of pattern 220, the continuous addition of kinetic energy by rotor 110, and the confined space of the collider chamber 130 within which the pattern 220 flows is to greatly (1) increase the number of molecular collisions occurring in the fluid, (2) increase the temperature of the fluid, (3) increase the pressure of the fluid, and (4) increase the density of the fluid.
  • As stated above, operation of apparatus 100 dramatically increases the number of molecular collisions occurring in the fluid flowing in pattern 220. It is difficult to calculate the actual number of molecular collisions added by operation of the apparatus, however, this number of collisions may be estimated for an exemplary embodiment as follows. Assuming that a collider chamber is 6″ tall and that the molecules of fluid in the chamber have a height of 1/1000″, then approximately 6000 layers of fluid molecules are disposed in the collider chamber at any given instant. If the flow pattern within the collider chamber is rotating at 163,000 RPM, or 26,000 revolutions per second, then the chamber adds at least 156,000,000 (26,000×6000) molecular collisions every second, since each molecule on the periphery of the collider chamber will collide with a molecule spun off of rotor 110 every time the molecule completes a rotation around the collider chamber. A typical collider chamber apparatus an may include approximately 30 collider chambers, so operation of the apparatus adds at least 4,680,000,000 molecular collisions every second. It is understood that more or less molecular collisions may be obtained by varying the dimensions of the collider chamber and/or the speed or rotation of the rotor.
  • FIG. 5 shows a simplified perspective view of cyclonic fluid flow pattern 220 flowing in a collider chamber 130 that is provided with a central inlet 140, an upper outlet 142, and a lower outlet 142. Molecules flowing in pattern 220 rotate at a high rotational velocity in a clockwise direction as indicated by arrows 210. The high velocity, and the high number of collisions, of molecules flowing in pattern 220 rapidly heats the fluid in pattern 220. Some of the heated fluid vaporizes and the vaporized fluid tends to collect in a generally conical, or “cyclone shaped”, vapor region 240 towards the center of pattern 220. The vapor tends to collect near the center of pattern 220 because the large centrifugal force acting on mass flowing (or rotating) in pattern 220 tends to carry heavier (e.g., liquid) particles towards the perimeter of pattern 220 and correspondingly tends to concentrate lighter (e.g., gaseous or vapor) particles towards the center of pattern 220 where the centrifugal forces are reduced. The extremely high rotation velocity V∝ of flow pattern 220 generates correspondingly large centrifugal forces at the periphery of pattern 220 and effectively concentrates the vapor in vapor region 240. Vapor region 240 tends to be conically shaped because the heated vapor tends to rise towards the top of chamber 230 thereby to expand the diameter of region 240 near the top of region 240.
  • As the vapor in region 240 increases in temperature (due to the increased molecular collisions occurring in pattern 220), the vapor tends to expand and thereby generates a force that acts radially in the direction indicated by arrow 250 on the liquid in pattern 220. This radial force tends to expand the outer diameter of flow pattern 220. However, the walls of collider chamber 130 (and the fluid molecules that are continuously spun off of rotor 110 to impact with pattern 220) provide external forces that prevent the outer diameter of pattern 220 from expanding. The net result of (1) the external forces that prevent the outer diameter of pattern 220 from expanding and (2) the radial force generated by the expanding vapor in vapor region 240 is to increase the pressure in flow pattern 220. The increased pressure tends to (1) compress the fluid flowing in pattern 220 to its maximum density, (2) increase the number of molecular collisions occurring in pattern 220, and (3) increase the heating of the fluid flowing in pattern 220.
  • In operation of apparatus 100, several factors tend to have a cumulative, combinatorial effect. For example, the continuous addition of kinetic energy by rotor 100 results in continuous generation of heat within apparatus 100. This continuous generation of heat tends to continuously increase the average velocity of molecules flowing within flow pattern 220. This continuous increase in molecular velocity tends to further increase the frequency of molecular collisions occurring within pattern 220 and thereby also leads to increased heat generation within apparatus 100. Still further, the increased heat tends to increase the pressure and density of the fluid flowing within pattern 220 and this increased pressure and density also tends to increase the number of molecular collisions occurring within pattern 220 and thereby also leads to increased heat generation. All of these factors combined are believed to provide for exponentially fast heating of fluid flowing within pattern 220.
  • One application of apparatus 100 is as a heater of fluids. Fluid delivered to collider chamber 130 by inlet 140 is rapidly heated. The heated fluid may be removed by outlet 142 and delivered for example to a radiator or heat exchanger (not shown) for heating either a building or applying heat to a process. The fluid exiting the radiator or heat exchanger may then of course be returned to inlet 140 for reheating in apparatus 100.
  • When used as a heater of fluids, it has been discovered that the operating efficiency of a metallic embodiment of apparatus 100, coupled to a metallic heat exchanger, increases over time with use of the same fluid in apparatus 100. That is, the amount of heat energy produced by apparatus 100 has increased with continued operation of apparatus 100 without a proportionate increase in the amount of electrical energy consumed to rotate rotor 110. Without being limited by any particular theory of operation, it is thought that operation of apparatus 100 induces chemical changes in the fluid in collider chamber 130. These chemical changes are theorized to promote the absorption of metallic species into the fluid from the metallic components of apparatus 100 and the metallic heat exchanger. As now described in greater detail, the addition of metallic species to the fluid is believed to increase the operating efficiency of apparatus 100.
  • As described above, heat is generated when the molecules of the fluid collide with each other or with surfaces of the rotor and/or stator, and at least a portion of the kinetic energy of the molecule is converted into thermal energy. Likewise, any particles that are in motion in the fluid also impart thermal energy when those particles collide with other particles or surfaces of the rotor and/or stator. The amount of energy produced is proportionate to the velocity of the molecule or particles as well as its mass.
  • Thus, increasing either or both of the velocity of the particles of the fluid or the mass of the particles in the fluid increases the amount of heat energy produced. When used as a heater of fluids, it is, therefore, advantageous to increase the mass of the particles of the fluid.
  • The metallic embodiment and heat exchanger described above were used as a test system for generating heat. Rotor 110 and stator 112 of apparatus 100 of the test system were cylindrical, as shown in FIG. 1. Apparatus 100 of the test system had 50 collider chambers 130. In the test system, fluid was delivered to collider chamber 130, heated, and removed from the collider chamber. The heated fluid was passed through a heat exchanger (not shown) and returned to collider chamber 130 to be reheated. Thus, the test system was a closed loop system with respect to the fluid. In the implementation of this particular test system, rotor 110 and stator 112 were constructed of aluminum. Thus, in this embodiment, the walls of collider chamber 130 were aluminum. Also, in this particular implementation, the heat exchanger that receives the heated fluid had metallic surfaces (e.g., tubing and heat exchange plates) containing copper and iron in contact with the fluid.
  • As stated above, it is believed that operation of the described test system caused metallic species to be absorbed into the collider fluid. The metallic apparatus 100 and metallic heat exchanger system described above was filled with water and operated on the order of hundreds of hours over a period of one year or more. In general, operation of the test system included a warm-up period and a steady state operation period. The warm-up period typically included circulating fluid through apparatus 100 and the heat exchanger at a flow rate of about 1.5 gallons per minute (GPM) and rotating rotor 110 at approximate 2500 RPM until the temperature of the fluid reached approximately 220° F. After reaching 220° F., the system would be operated in a steady state mode. During steady state operation, the rotor was rotated at about 1800 RPM and fluid was circulated through apparatus 100 and the heat exchanger at a flow rate of about 2 GPM.
  • Although the distilled water was substantially free of metallic species and had a slightly acidic pH before being subjected to collisions induced by operation of apparatus 100, a change in pH and the presence of metallic species was detected after operation of apparatus 100 of the test system. Table 1 shows results for three different fluid samples taken from the system after the operational period described above. Approximately one gallon of fluid total was removed from apparatus 100 for the three samples. Fluid sample 1 was taken from the system after the period of operation described above. Analysis of the sample shows increased pH as well as the presence of an elevated level of metallic species relative to the distilled water initially used in the system. Fluid sample 2 was taken during operation of the system. During the operational period, the test system was operated in the steady state condition described above. Analysis of sample 2 shows an increase in pH and metallic species relative to sample 1. Fluid sample 3 was taken from the system after the operational period during which fluid sample 2 was taken. Analysis of sample 3 shows that the metallic species present in that sample are generally equal to those present in the sample before the brief period of operation during which sample 2 was taken.
  • TABLE 1
    Composition Analysis of Fluid Taken From Apparatus
    Fluid Sample 1 Fluid Sample 2 Fluid Sample 3
    Aluminum 220 mg/L 310 mg/L 220 mg/L
    Iron  3.9 mg/L  5.5 mg/L  4.1 mg/L
    Copper  24 mg/L  35 mg/L  26 mg/L
    pH 7.75 7.42 7.41
    Temperature 75 Deg. F. 182 Deg. F. 100 Deg. F
  • Because approximately one gallon of fluid was removed from apparatus 100 of the test system, an equal amount of water was added to apparatus 100 to return the test system to a full capacity. Thus, the concentration of metallic species (and any other particulates) in the fluid was reduced by approximately one-half. Apparatus 100 of the test system was then operated generally as described above for approximately one-half the amount of time that preceded the fluid exchange over a period of about six months.
  • Table 2 shows the results of analyses performed on fluid samples taken from apparatus 100 of the test system after the fluid exchange and operational period described above. As before, approximately one gallon of fluid total was removed from apparatus 100 for the three samples. Fluid sample 4 was taken from the system after the additional six months of operation described above. Analysis of the sample shows a pH nearly equal to that of that last fluid sample taken from the first test run (i.e., fluid sample 3). However, with the exception of iron content, the metallic species content was nearly half of that found in fluid sample 3.
  • Fluid sample 5 was taken during operation of the system. During the operational period, the test system was operated in the steady state condition described above. Analysis of sample 5 shows an increase in metallic species, total suspended solids, and density relative to fluid sample 4. Fluid sample 6 was taken from the system after the operational period during which fluid sample 5 was taken. An analysis of the metallic species and total suspended solids was not performed on fluid sample 6. However, it is observed that the pH and density of fluid sample 6 are increased from that found in fluid sample 5.
  • TABLE 2
    Composition Analysis of Fluid Taken From Apparatus
    Fluid Sample 4 Fluid Sample 5 Fluid Sample 6
    Aluminum  100 mg/L  150 mg/L Not Tested
    Iron  3.6 mg/L  5.2 mg/L Not Tested
    Copper   12 mg/L   17 mg/L Not Tested
    pH 7.42 7.04 7.33
    Temperature 71 Deg. F. 180 Deg. F. 100 Deg. F.
    Density 1.06 g/mL 1.02 mg/L 1.07 mg/L
    Total Suspended  370 mg/L  620 mg/L Not Tested
    Solids
  • Table 3 shows the results of analyses performed on the raw fluid (water) provided as makeup fluid to apparatus 100 of the test system before the second test run described above. As the analysis results of fluid sample 7 show, the level of metallic species present in the water is quite low compared to those found in the fluid within apparatus 100 of the test system after operation. Thus, it is concluded that the water is not a significant source of metallic species.
  • TABLE 3
    Composition Analysis of Raw Fluid Makeup to Apparatus
    Fluid Sample 7
    Aluminum 0.070 mg/L
    Iron 0.038 mg/L
    Copper 0.099 mg/L
    pH 5.94
    Temperature 72 Deg. F.
    Density  1.00 g/mL
    Total Suspended Solids Not Tested
  • The analyses for the Aluminum, Iron, and Copper were performed according to EPA Method 200.7. The pH was determined according to EPA Method 150.1. The density was determined according to method SM 2710F. Total suspended solids were determined according to EPA Method 160.2.
  • Again, without being limited to any particular theory, it is thought that the collisions experienced by water molecules of the fluid in apparatus 100 causes some of the atoms of the water molecules to disassociate. This disassociation is thought to produce hydrogen free radicals, hydroxonium ions, and/or peroxides. Furthermore, the alkaline pH readings of the six fluid samples taken from the test system are believed to indicate the possible formation of metal hydroxides. It is further contemplated that the formation of hydrogen peroxide in the fluid of apparatus 100 can lead to the creation of metal oxides through a reaction between the hydrogen peroxide and metallic components of the system.
  • It is noted that Aluminum, Copper, and Iron are considered to be insoluble in hot and cold water. Thus, the presence of these metallic species in the fluid after prolonged operation of apparatus 100 further supports the theories set forth above. Moreover, the elevated amount of Aluminum in the fluid relative to the amounts of Copper and Iron are thought to be attributable to the fact that the energy of the fluid molecules is highest in collider chambers 130, which are constructed of Aluminum in the test system. Furthermore, by maintaining the fluid in a closed system, the metallic species and particles accumulate, thereby increasing the benefits.
  • In addition to the chemical changes thought to take place due to operation of apparatus 100 on the fluid therein, it is theorized that metallic colloids are formed and suspended in the fluid. That is, microscopic and non-ionic metallic particles become suspended in the fluid in apparatus 100.
  • As both ionic and colloidal metallic species are carried by the fluid during operation of apparatus 100, these metallic species experience a high rate of collisions due to the extremely high rotational velocity of the fluid within which the species are suspended. However, because the mass of the metallic species are greater than the mass of the water molecules alone, each collision of a metallic species imparts more energy, and thus, more heat, into the fluid. Thus, it is the creation of these relatively higher molecular weight particles (as compared to water alone) that is thought to be responsible for the increase in operating efficiency over time. Furthermore, it is believed that further operation of apparatus 100 on the fluid contained therein increases the metallic species content of the fluid, thereby further increasing the efficiency of operation.
  • In addition to increasing the density of the fluid by causing ionic and colloidal species to enter the fluid, the density of a fluid exhibiting any amount of compressibility can be increased by maintaining the fluid under an increased pressure. Thus, by increasing the density of the fluid entering a collider chamber, the total amount of mass entering the collider chamber is increased. Therefore, as described above, the total number of molecular collisions increase, thereby generating more heat than in a fluid of lower relatively density. If apparatus 100 is included in a closed system, the fluid can be maintained under pressure by pressurizing the entire system. In some embodiments, pressure variations throughout the system are minimized. It is theorized that this contributes to maintaining desirable characteristics in the fluid that contribute to the total energy imparted into the fluid by apparatus 100. However, the fluid entering apparatus 100 can also be maintained under pressure by providing a backpressure device (e.g., a valve) on the outlet of the collider chambers of apparatus 100 and pumping the fluid into the inlet of the collider chambers under pressure.
  • The pressure of the fluid circulating through the test system can be maintained at several atmospheres or higher (i.e. about 14.696 pounds per square inch absolute (PSIA) or higher). When circulating a liquid through apparatus 100, this has the added advantage of reducing the amount of liquid that boils due to the increase in the boiling point of the liquid due to the increase in the pressure of the fluid. By reducing the amount of liquid that becomes vapor in the collider chambers, the amount of mass in the collider chambers is increased relative to what would be expected at lower relative pressures.
  • Apparatus 100 can be housed in various settings. It can be in, e.g., a hospital, a hotel, a research facility, a food manufacturing plant, a commercial structure (e.g., office building), a residential home, etc. Also, it can be housed on an ocean going vessel (including a ship or submarine), airplane, terrestrial vehicle, planetary space vehicle, and the like. This apparatus can be used to decontaminate and/or purify fluids while at the same time generate energy that can be used for other purposes, e.g., serve as a heat source.
  • As set forth above, embodiments of the collider chamber apparatus can be used to augment or assist heating systems used to control environmental conditions in a public, commercial, industrial, or residential facility, not to mention ocean going vessels and passenger vehicles. Not only can apparatus 100 be used to reclaim waste heat from a facility, it can also undergo de-contamination and purification, as described above. Apparatus 100 can be disposed in-line along a facility's environmental control system (e.g., heating system).
  • As described above, it can be advantageous to maintain the fluid circulating through apparatus 100 at a pressure higher than ambient. Maintaining the liquid under pressure increases the mass of fluid in the collider chambers of apparatus 100 as well as reducing the flashing of the liquid water into steam in various parts of the boiler system. The pressures listed above are provided for illustration only, as embodiments of apparatus 100 are capable of operating at pressures above and below those disclosed, for example, at or above hundreds of PSIG or below atmospheric.
  • As those skilled in the art will appreciate, in addition to the simple methods of operation described above, apparatus 100 may be operated according to many different methods. For example, instead of rotating the rotor 110 at constant rotational velocity, it may be desirable to vary the rotor's rotational velocity. In particular, it may be advantageous to vary the rotor's rotational velocity with a frequency that matches a natural resonant frequency associated with the fluid flowing in flow pattern 220. Varying the rotor's rotational velocity in this fashion causes the frequency of molecular collisions occurring in pattern 220 to oscillate at this natural resonant frequency. Altering the frequency of molecular collisions in this fashion permits optimum energy transfer to the fluid flowing in pattern 220. Molecular collisions occurring at the fluid's natural resonant frequency facilitates weakening and disassociation of molecular bonds between molecules in the fluid allowing for the withdrawal of selected molecular compounds from the fluid mass flowing in pattern 220 as was discussed above.
  • As another example of variations from the basic embodiments of apparatus 100, rather than using a cylindrical rotor, it may be advantageous to use a rotor having a non-constant radius (e.g., a conically shaped rotor). Using a rotor with a non-constant radius induces different velocities and different frequencies of molecular collisions in different portions of the chamber 130.
  • As yet another example of variations in apparatus 100, the fluids used in apparatus 100 may be pressurized by pumping or other means prior to introduction into chamber 143. Using pressurized fluids in this fashion increases the density of fluid in pattern 220 and increases the frequency of molecular collisions occurring in pattern 220. Alternatively, fluids may be suctioned into apparatus 100 by the vacuum created by the centrifugal forces within apparatus 100. As still another example, fluids may be preheated prior to introduction to apparatus 100. When apparatus 100 is used as part of a system, it may be advantageous to use heat generated by other parts of the system to preheat the fluid input to the apparatus. For example, if apparatus 100 is used to vaporize water and thereby separate water from a waste stream, heat generated by a condenser used to condense the vaporized water may be used to preheat the fluid input to apparatus 100.
  • FIG. 6 is similar to FIG. 4, however, FIG. 6 shows a more detailed top view of the fluid flow pattern in a single collider chamber 130. Arrows 302, 304, 306, 308 illustrate the trajectory of fluid molecules that are spun tangentially off of rotor 110 into collider chamber 130. Arrow 302 shows the trajectory of molecules that are thrown into collider chamber proximal leading edge 132. These molecules tend to collide with and enter cyclonic fluid flow pattern 220. Arrow 304 shows the trajectory of fluid molecules that are spun off of rotor 110 into chamber 130 proximal the trailing edge 134. These molecules tend to impact cyclonic fluid flow pattern 220 as indicated at reference character 310. Impact with flow pattern 220 tends to redirect these molecules in the direction indicated by arrow 312 and these molecules tend to form a secondary cyclonic flow pattern 320. Arrows 306 and 308 show the trajectory of fluid molecules that are spun off of rotor 110 into the center of collider chamber 130. These molecules tend to collide with the secondary cyclonic flow pattern 320.
  • There are several regions of enhanced molecular collisions in the flow patterns illustrated in FIG. 6. One such region is indicated by reference character 310. This region is where molecules in secondary cyclonic flow pattern 320 impact molecules flowing in the primary cyclonic flow pattern 220. Reference character 330 indicates another region of enhanced collision. This region is where molecules flowing in primary cyclonic flow pattern 220 tend to collide with molecules that are spun off of rotor 110. Finally, reference character 332 indicates another region of enhanced collision. This region is where molecules flowing in secondary cyclonic flow pattern 320 tend to collide with molecules spun off of rotor 10. The enhanced molecular collisions in all of these multiple cyclonic regions contribute to the increased heating of the fluid in collider chamber 130.
  • The properties of secondary cyclonic flow pattern 320 are similar to those of primary cyclonic flow pattern 220. The fluid flowing in the primary and secondary cyclonic flow patterns 220,320 becomes heated and pressurized. However, since the radius of secondary cyclonic flow pattern 320 tends to be smaller than the radius of primary cyclonic flow pattern 220, the fluid flowing in pattern 320 tends (1) to rotate faster, (2) to experience more molecular collisions, and (3) to become heated more quickly, than the fluid flowing in pattern 220.
  • As is shown in FIG. 6, when tear-drop shaped collider chambers are used, it is desirable to rotate rotor 110 in a direction that is towards the leading edge 132. However, as is shown in FIG. 7, the apparatus will still operate in such a configuration even if rotor 110 is rotated in the opposite direction. As shown in FIG. 7, opposite rotation of rotor 110 will still generate at least one cyclonic flow pattern 220′ collider chamber 130.
  • The tear-drop shape (as shown in FIG. 6) is one shape for the collider chambers 130. However, as shown in FIG. 8, other shaped collider chambers may be used. For example, FIG. 8 shows a top-sectional view of a C-shaped (or circular) collider chamber 130′. Rotation of rotor 110 will generate a single cyclonic flow pattern 220′ each such shaped collider chamber 130′.
  • FIG. 9 shows a sectional-top view of one configuration of the apparatus 100. In this configuration, each collider chamber 130 is provided with a corresponding fluid inlet 140 for introducing fluid into the collider chamber. Each fluid inlet is fluidically coupled to a manifold 412. Each fluid inlet is also provided with a valve 410 for selectively controlling the fluid flow between its respective collider chamber 130 and the manifold 412. Each collider chamber 130 can also be provided with a fluid outlet (not shown) and each of the fluid outlets can be provided with a valve for selectively controlling the amount of fluid leaving the chamber 130. Providing each collider chamber 130 with its own fluid inlet, fluid outlet, and control valves allows the conditions (e.g., temperature or pressure) in each of the collider chambers 130 to be independently controlled. However, each collider chamber 130 of apparatus 100 need not have separate inlet, outlet, and corresponding valves unique to each collider chamber 130. As explained in detail below, the inlet and outlet of more than one collider chamber may be joined.
  • FIG. 10 shows a sectional-side view of another embodiment of a collider chamber apparatus 100. In this embodiment, the apparatus includes an “hour-glass shaped” rotor 510 disposed for rotation about shaft 121. Rotor 510 includes a middle portion 511, a bottom portion 512, and a top portion 513. The outer diameter of the middle portion 511 is smaller than the outer diameter of the top and bottom portions 512, 513. The apparatus further includes a sidewall 516 that defines a plurality of collider chambers 530 extending vertically along the periphery of the rotor 510. The apparatus further includes inlets 541 that allow fluid to enter the collider chambers 530 near the middle portion 511 of the rotor 510. The apparatus also includes outlets 542 and 543 that allow fluid to exit from the collider chambers 530 near the bottom and top portions 512 and 513, respectively. In one embodiment, the apparatus is constructed as is illustrated generally in FIG. 9 with a plurality of collider chambers surrounding the outer periphery of the rotor and with each collider chamber 530 being provided with its own inlet 541 and its own outlets 542, 543. Each of the inlets 541 can be coupled to a manifold 561 via a control valve 551. Similarly, each of the outlets 542 and 543 can be coupled to manifolds 562 and 563, respectively, via control valves 552 and 553, respectively. Apparatus 100 may also include additional fluid inlets/outlets 544 for permitting fluid introduction and removal through the apparatus' top and bottom. These inlets/outlets 544 may also be provided with control valves 554.
  • In operation, the centrifugal force, and compression, generated by rotation of rotor 510 is greater near the top and bottom portions 513, 512 than near the middle portion 511. So, fluid provided to the collider chambers 530 via the inlets 541 is suctioned into the apparatus and is naturally carried by the centrifugal force generated by rotor 510 to the outlets 542, 543.
  • FIG. 11 shows a sectional side view of yet another embodiment of a collider chamber apparatus 100. In this embodiment, the apparatus includes a rotor 610. Rotor 610 is generally cylindrical or barrel shaped, and rotor 610 includes a middle portion 611, a bottom portion 612 and a top portion 613. The outer diameter of middle portion 611 is greater than the diameters of bottom and top portions 612, 613. The apparatus further includes a sidewall 616 that defines a plurality of collider chambers 630 extending vertically along the periphery of the rotor 610. The apparatus further includes outlets 641 that allow fluid to exit the collider chambers 630 near the middle portion 611 of the rotor 610. The apparatus also includes inlets 642 and 643 that allow fluid to enter from the collider chambers 630 near the bottom and top portions 612 and 613, respectively. In one embodiment, the apparatus is constructed as is illustrated generally in FIG. 9 with a plurality of collider chambers surrounding the outer periphery of the rotor and with each collider chamber 630 being provided with its own outlet 641 and its own inlets 642, 643. Each of the outlets 641 can be coupled to a manifold 661 via a control valve 651. Similarly, each of the inlets 642 and 643 can be coupled to manifolds 662 and 663, respectively, via control valves 652 and 653, respectively. Apparatus 100 may also include fluid inlets/outlets 644 for permitting fluid introduction and removal through the apparatus' top and bottom. These inlets/outlets 644 may also be provided with control valves 654.
  • In operation, the centrifugal force generated by rotation of rotor 610 is greater near the middle portion 611 than near the top and bottom portions 613, 612. So, fluid provided to the collider chambers 630 via the inlets 642, 643 is naturally carried by the centrifugal force generated by rotor 610 to the outlets 641.
  • FIG. 12 shows a sectional-side view of yet another embodiment of a collider chamber apparatus 100. This embodiment includes a generally disk shaped rotor 710 disposed for rotation about shaft 121 and a top 718 that defines a plurality of generally horizontal collider chambers 730 that extend along an upper surface of rotor 710. FIG. 13 shows a view of top 718 taken in the direction of line 13-13 shown in FIG. 12. Each of the collider chambers 730 is provided with an inlet 741 and an outlet 742. Centrifugal force generated by rotation of rotor 710 tends to carry fluid provided to collider chamber 730 via inlet 741 to the outlet 742. In some embodiments, each of the inlets and outlets is provided with its own control valve (not shown).
  • The collider chambers in the various embodiments of collider chamber apparatus 100 described above have a substantially linear axis about which the fluid inside the collider chamber rotates. However, in one implementation of the collider chamber apparatus 100, each collider chamber has an axis that is helical. FIG. 14 shows a perspective view of a collider chamber apparatus 100 with a collider chamber 830 that twists along an inner wall 824 of a stator 812. While only a single helical collider chamber 830 is shown for the sake of simplicity of the figure, it is understood that multiple helical collider chambers can be included in this implementation.
  • As in the embodiments described above, this illustrative implementation has a rotor 810 disposed for rotation about a shaft 121. The collider chamber 830 is provided with an inlet 841 and an outlet 842. Because the helical collider chamber 830 has a longer path between inlet 841 and outlet 842 than is possible with a linear collider chamber in an equally sized stator 812, the fluid residence time in the helical collider chamber 830 is greater than that in the linear collider chamber. Thus, it is believed a greater amount of energy can be imparted to the molecules of the fluid in the helical collider chamber 830, resulting in the generation of more heat as compared to that produced in a linear collider chamber.
  • FIG. 14 shows the outlet 842 as being located approximately 60 degrees apart from the inlet 841 in a direction of rotation 850. However, the inlet 841 and outlet 842 of helical collider chamber 830 can be separated by a greater or lesser angle. For example, helical collider chamber 830 can pass along the entire circumference of the stator 812 such that the outlet 842 is located above the inlet 841. Moreover, helical collider chamber 830 may pass along the circumference of stator 812 in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction.
  • When helical collider chamber 830 passes along the circumference of stator 812 in the same direction as the rotation of rotor 810, the frictional force generated by rotation of rotor 810 not only causes rotation of the fluid within the collider chamber 830, but also tends to carry the fluid provided to collider chamber 830 via inlet 841 to the outlet 842. In some embodiments, each of the inlets and outlets is provided with its own control valve (not shown).
  • Although FIG. 14 shows a cylindrical stator 812 and rotor 810 combination, it is understood that the helical collider chamber implementation can be used in any of the embodiments of collider chamber apparatus 100 described above. For example, the hour-glass-shaped rotor 510 show in FIG. 10, the barrel-shaped rotor 610 shown in FIG. 11, and/or the disk-shaped rotor 710 shown in FIG. 12 can be implemented with helical collider chambers.
  • Those skilled in the art will appreciate that the collider chambers illustrated in FIGS. 10-14 may be used to generate cyclonic fluid flows of the type generally illustrated in and described in connection with FIG. 5. FIGS. 10-14 have been presented to illustrate a few of the numerous embodiments of collider chamber apparatuses.
  • In different embodiments, the face of rotor 110 may be smooth, scoriated (i.e., scored with a cross-hatch pattern) or treated to increase capillary flow for the fluid. The rotor may also be treated to provide for catalytic reactions occurring within apparatus 100. Further, apparatus 100 may be constructed from a variety of materials including metallic, thermoplastic, mineral, fiberglass, epoxy, and other materials. It may be desirable to base the selection of the materials used to construct apparatus 100 on the fluids that will be used in the apparatus and/or the potential use to which apparatus 100 will be put.
  • For example, one embodiment of apparatus 100 is constructed of aluminum and thermoplastic. In this embodiment, stator 112 is constructed of polyvinylidene fluoride (commercially available as Kynar® from Arkema, Inc.), which is a thermoplastic. This particular thermoplastic is desirable because of its resistance to abrasion, its strength, and high thermal stability. However, thermoplastic embodiments are not limited to this material, and the use of other thermoplastics is contemplated. The thermoplastic stator 112 is relatively light in comparison to many metals and increases the transportability of apparatus 100. Additional benefits are realized when such an apparatus 100 is used to generate heat in a fluid. Namely, the thermoplastic has a relatively high insulation value and overall lower heat capacity. Thus, less of the heat generated in the fluid within collider chambers 130 escapes the fluid due to heat loss from the external surface of stator 112.
  • Rotor 110 described above is constructed of aluminum and is hollow. Both of these characteristics contribute to a reduction in weight of apparatus 100 and reduce the amount of mass of apparatus 100 that absorbs heat produced in the fluid in collider chambers 130. Thus this particular embodiment has a relatively short “warm-up” period during which rotor 110 and stator 112 absorb the heat produced before arriving at the temperature of the fluid (approximately one-half of the test system described above). In addition, because the rotating mass is reduced, the amount of energy required to spin rotor 110 is reduced, thereby improving the efficiency of apparatus 100.
  • It is expected that the metal and thermoplastic embodiment described above would cause similar effects to take place in the fluid circulated therein upon operation of apparatus 100. In addition, it is expected that the energy imparted in the molecules of the fluid would cause particles of the thermoplastic to enter the fluid. Due to the relatively higher molecular weight of the thermoplastic molecules (relative to the fluid alone), each collision of the thermoplastic molecules would impart high levels of energy into the fluid. Thus, it is expected that increases in efficiency would be realized with prolonged operation of the metal and thermoplastic apparatus 100.
  • In the embodiments illustrated in FIGS. 1-3 and 9-14, the stators (e.g. 112 of FIGS. 1-3) are shown as monolithic. However, the stators need not be composed of a single piece. In some implementations, the stators can be constructed of several pieces that are held together. FIG. 15 is a perspective view of an embodiment of apparatus 100 with a stator 112 that is constructed of stator segments 112A-E. Stator segments 112A-E are shown in FIG. 15 as semi-transparent to illustrate the tear-drop shaped collider chambers defined by the inside walls of each segment. Stator segments 112A-E have a generally annular shape, and are held together by a clamping force imparted by circular top 118 and circular bottom 120. Clamping rods 119 pass between circular top 118 and circular bottom 120 and provide tension to draw top 118 and bottom 120 together. Clamping rods 119 can attach directly to each of top 118 and bottom 120 by a threaded connection, or clamping rods 119 may pass through holes in each of top 118 and bottom 120 and be secured thereto by threaded nuts (not shown).
  • FIG. 15 also illustrates central shaft 121 passing through top 118. Although not shown, central shaft 121 passes through bottom 120 as well. A fluid seal 123 is disposed on central shaft outside top 118. Likewise, although not shown, a fluid seal is also provided on the opposing end of central shaft 121 outside bottom 120. The fluid seals allow central shaft 121 to pass outside the cavity created by stator segments 112A-E, top 118, and bottom 120 while maintaining a sealed fluid cavity. The fluid seals may be configured to pass a small amount of fluid for cooling and wetting of the seals.
  • FIG. 16 is an exploded perspective view of the embodiment of apparatus 100 shown in FIG. 15. Seal 123 and clamping rods 119 are omitted for clarity. Each of stator segments 112A-E has a corresponding inner wall 124A-E. Inner walls 124A-E are generally circular and define a plurality of tear-drop shaped collider chambers 130. Inner walls 124B-D of segments 112B-D define tear-drop shaped chambers along the length of the segments, while segments 124A and 124E act as “caps” at opposing ends of those chambers. Thus, when segments 124A-E are held together (as shown in FIG. 15), annular seals similar to seals 144 of FIG. 1 are maintained at the top and bottom of each collider chamber 130.
  • Although not shown in the figures, it is understood that the outside geometry of the stator is not limited to a circular shape. For example, in some embodiments, the outside cross-section of the stator may be square, rectangular, or another shape. This is true of both the monolithic stator and segmented stator. Thus, stator segments 112A-E shown in FIGS. 15-16 could be formed from a square or rectangular plate of metal that has been machined to create the collider chambers described above. In such an embodiment, channels can be created in the corners of the plate through which may pass clamping rods 119.
  • FIG. 17 is a perspective view of stator segment 112B. As described above, inner wall 124B of stator segment 112B defines a portion of collider chambers 130. Inner wall 124B of stator segment 112B also defines a inner raceway 146 that provides a fluid connection between collider chambers 130. Stator segment 124B also has a outlet port 147 that passes through a sidewall 116B and provides a fluid connection to inner raceway 146. Thus, outlet port 147 and inner raceway 146 cooperate to provide a fluid pathway from each of collider chambers 130 to the outside of apparatus 100, with inner raceway 146 serving as a fluid manifold for each of collider chambers 130. Although not shown, stator segment 112E can have a similar raceway and inlet port. Stator segment 112B also includes a lip 162 that aids in alignment between stator segment 112B and other segments. Lip 162 can also be lined with a gasket material to create a fluid seal.
  • Inlet and outlet piping and valves (not shown) can be attached to the inlet and outlet ports to control fluid flows into and out of collider chambers 130. The inner raceways and fluid ports can be used alone to supply fluid circulation to apparatus 100, or they can be used in combination with the other methods for introducing fluid into and removing fluid from collider chambers 130 described above. It is understood that inner raceway 146 and outlet port 147 may also be used in any of the other embodiments described herein and need not be limited to embodiments having a segmented stator 112.
  • Since certain changes may be made in the above apparatus without departing from the scope of the invention herein involved, it is intended that all matter contained in the above description or shown in the accompanying drawing shall be interpreted in an illustrative and not a limiting sense.

Claims (18)

  1. 1. A system for recovering and redistributing heat, comprising:
    a first heat exchanger in fluid communication with an air conditioner system, the first heat exchanger removing heat from the air conditioner system;
    a second heat exchanger in fluid communication with the first heat exchanger and in fluid communication with a stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system, the second heat exchanger receiving heat from the first heat exchanger and conveying heat to the stream of water;
    a heater in fluid communication with an air stream of a ventilation system, the heater supplying heat to the air stream; and
    a third heat exchanger in fluid communication with the heater and in fluid communication with a stream of steam condensate, the third heat exchanger removing heat from the steam condensate and conveying heat to the air stream, thereby cooling the steam condensate.
  2. 2. The system of claim 1, further comprising a fourth heat exchanger in fluid communication with the first heat exchanger, the second heat exchanger, and an auxiliary heat source.
  3. 3. The system of claim 2, the auxiliary heat source being a non-combustion-based heat source.
  4. 4. The system of claim 2, the auxiliary heat source comprising a collider chamber apparatus, the collider chamber apparatus including:
    a stator including an inner wall, the inner wall defining a plurality of collider chambers; and
    a rotor disposed for rotation relative to the stator, about an axis, an outer wall of the rotor being proximal to the inner wall of the stator, rotation of the rotor in a first direction relative to the stator causing a fluid in each of the collider chambers to rotate within the collider chamber in a second direction opposite to the first direction, rotation of the rotor causing the temperature of the fluid in the collider chambers to increase.
  5. 5. The system of claim 4, the fluidic communication between the fourth heat exchanger and the auxiliary heat source comprising a liquid-filled closed loop.
  6. 6. A method for recovering and redistributing heat, comprising:
    removing heat from an air conditioner system;
    supplying a portion of the heat removed from the air conditioner system to a stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system;
    removing heat from a stream of steam condensate; and
    supplying a portion of the heat removed from the stream of steam condensate to an air stream of a ventilation system.
  7. 7. The method of claim 6, furthering comprising supplying heat from an auxiliary heat system to the steam of water being supplied to the steam generation system.
  8. 8. A system for recovering and redistributing heat, comprising:
    a first heat exchanger in fluid communication with a stream of boiler blow-down liquid and in fluid communication with a stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system, the first heat exchanger removing heat from the boiler blow-down liquid and conveying heat to the stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system; and
    a second heat exchanger in fluid communication with the stream of water being supplied to the steam generation system and in fluid communication with an auxiliary heat system, the second heat exchanger receiving heat from the auxiliary heat system and conveying heat to the stream of water being supplied to the steam generation system.
  9. 9. The system of claim 8, the second heat exchanger being downstream from the first heat exchanger relative to the flow of the stream of water being supplied to the steam generation system.
  10. 10. The system of claim 8, the auxiliary heat system being a non-combustion-based heat system.
  11. 11. The system of claim 8, the auxiliary heat system comprising a collider chamber apparatus, the collider chamber apparatus including:
    a stator including an inner wall, the inner wall defining a plurality of collider chambers; and
    a rotor disposed for rotation relative to the stator, about an axis, an outer wall of the rotor being proximal to the inner wall of the stator, rotation of the rotor in a first direction relative to the stator causing a fluid in each of the collider chambers to rotate within the collider chamber in a second direction opposite to the first direction, rotation of the rotor causing the temperature of the fluid in the collider chambers to increase.
  12. 12. The system of claim 11, the fluidic communication between the second heat exchanger and the auxiliary heat system comprising a liquid-filled closed loop.
  13. 13. The system of claim 8, further comprising a flash steam generation system, the flash steam generation system including a third heat exchanger in fluid communication with the auxiliary heat system, the third heat exchanger receiving heat from the auxiliary heat system and conveying heat to the flash steam system for the generation of steam.
  14. 14. The system of claim 13, the auxiliary heat system including a fourth heat exchanger in fluid communication with the third heat exchanger and the fourth heat exchanger in fluid communication with an auxiliary heat source, the fourth heat exchanger receiving heat from the auxiliary heat source and conveying heat to the third heat exchanger.
  15. 15. The system of claim 14, the auxiliary heat source, the second heat exchanger, and the fourth heat exchanger being in fluid communication via a liquid-filled closed loop.
  16. 16. The system of claim 13, the flash steam generation system further including:
    a flash steam valve for producing flash steam and flash steam condensate;
    a flash steam tank for receiving flash steam and flash steam condensate from the flash steam valve; and
    a condensate receiver in fluid communication with the flash steam tank for receiving flash steam condensate from the flash steam tank, and the condensate receiver in fluid communication with the third heat exchanger for recycling the flash steam condensate to the third heat exchanger.
  17. 17. A method for recovering and redistributing heat, comprising:
    removing heat from a stream of boiler blow-down liquid; and
    supplying a portion of the heat removed from the boiler blow-down liquid to a stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system.
  18. 18. The method of claim 17, further comprising supplying heat from an auxiliary heat system to the steam of water being supplied to the steam generation system after supplying the portion of the heat removed from the boiler blow-down liquid to the stream of water being supplied to a steam generation system.
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