An eye opening trip to ISH


Feature Story

“The World’s Leading Trade Fair” lives up to its name

By Alan R. Mercurio

Mandated biofuel agricultural development is commonplace in Germany.

I recently had the pleasure and privilege of traveling to Frankfurt, Germany and parts of Denmark to attend ISH 2007, ‘The World’s Leading Trade Fair,” take in a few manufactures tours and enjoy their countries with many of my friends in the industry.

A tidbit for you: about 215,378 people (I was one of them) made their way to ISH from 6 to 10 March 2007. This is an increase of 12-percent over the previous event two years ago. (2005: 192,187).

Now let me share with you some of what I learned regarding products, energy and policies.

I first met up with Mario Gross from Buderus. I told Mario I had noticed a lot of solar panels on the roofs of houses there and asked him to tell me about them. Mario explained to me that there’s a very big push over there for the use of renewable energy and the solar panels were just a piece of the pie. I’ll tell you more about some of the other pieces later.

Solar heating systems include solar collector systems that are used in commercial and residential applications producing heat below 120 ºC. In all countries, the basic need is domestic hot water. The amount of collectors per system is about 4 – 6 m per family in a Northern climate. In principle, these systems can be applied to most buildings, also in densely populated urban environments. It is also easy to make these systems most economic because they will be dimensioned to produce hot water during the summer season. A well-designed domestic hot water system can produce more than 50 percent of most domestic hot water needs.

Solar collector is manufactured from the copper absorbers, covered with black chrome selective surface, with the absorption coefficient 0.96 and the emission 0.098 at 100 °C. The collector body is constructed from the aluminum profiles, cover is made from low iron tempered glass, insulation ‘ mineral wool. Accumulating tanks are constructed from stainless steel with copper coil as the solar part heat exchanger and the supplementary ceramic electrical heater in a stainless steel pocket.

Plain collectors can absorb up to 550 kWh/m2 thermal energy during one year if they are oriented to the south and optimal inclination to horizon is bout 45 degrees. Mario showed me what is fast becoming a popular system application. And that is to marry a solar panel system to a wall hung condensing boiler and indirect domestic hot water storage tank.

A cool (no pun intended) tip Mario offered is that on a day the sun is shining but your panel is covered in snow you can circulate the water from the boiler through the panel melting the snow allowing you to get maximum use of your solar panel! Good stuff eh?

I also learned that the percentage of solar panel sales to the states is less than 2 percent. Yikes! I would have thought we could have made up for at least 10 percent? Come on U.S. We can do better!

Bio-fields for Bio-fuel
I told Mario that I had noticed as we flew into Franfurt that it seemed many of the communities where homes were located had large beautiful green fields located on all four sides. If it were not for the roads you would almost describe these developments as housing islands in a field!

Mario explained to me that this was because it was mandated by the government and community that the land be used to provide farmers with income and to grow rapeseed for the increased demand of bio-fuel production.

Biodiesel production is growing worldwide. In fact, one U.S. company recently announced that its parent company will be developing one of the world’s largest biodiesel plants in Germany. Lurgi PSI Inc., a National Biodiesel Board member in Memphis, Tenn., is part of Lurgi AG, which will build this facility.

Frankfurt, Germany-based Lurgi is building the Piesteritz biodiesel plant and has also been working with nine other such biodiesel projects. The company has said its German production will be between 70 percent and 80 percent of that country’s biodiesel needs. The new plant will use rapeseed to produce more than 200,000 tons of biodiesel per year (approximately 60 MMgy), according to Lurgi.

The plant will be the first in Germany to provide an end-to-end production process, starting with the introduction of the seed. The biodiesel producer is Neckermann-Renewables GmbH, a firm based in Würzburg, Germany. In Europe, Neckermann runs biodiesel plants with a total capacity of approximately 350,000 tons, which makes it one of the continent’s largest biodiesel producers.

According to Mario it has been mandated that by 2008 the only acceptable diesel fuel will be low sulfur at 50ppm and/or bio-fuel in Europe.

Well we all know the push for bio-fuel is pretty strong here in the states as well. And we already have low sulfur fuel available to us. More of us just need to start using it.

One of the big questions that keeps coming up, is can the conventional fuel units handle bio-fuel and if so up to what percentage? Also asked is what if any effects could low sulfur fuel have on the conventional fuel units? For those answers I strolled on over to another building to meet up with our good friend Mike Szentesy with Suntec.

Pumping Suntec for info
So, I asked Mike what the scoop was regarding the use of bio-fuel with Suntec fuel pumps? Mike explained to me that all A&B Pumps with the standard seal could operate with B5 (5 percent mix) and by the way these pumps have a black seal. Now, any of these pumps manufactured after January 1, 2007, you can operate them with as much as a 20 percent mix (B20) the difference is the pump seal which is now brown.

In the future going beyond 20 percent may very well be a possibility. Yep, even as much as 100 percent we’ll just have to keep our eyes and ears open.

Speaking of 100 percent, Mike also shared with me that Suntec is working on a fuel pump for waste oil burners that will be able to burn 100 percent cooking oil!

Before I forget, I also asked Mike about the low sulfur fuel at 50ppm. Mike told me the most important concern would be lubricity. The sulfur would require an additive to increase the lubricity.

So there you have it my friends ‘ a little bit of what I learned while I attended ISH.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both Mario and Mike for taking the time to educate me on these subjects, and especially thank Dan Holohan, Bob Boltz, Judy Garber and so many of my friends within the industry for making this trip to ISH possible. Bless you all.


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