Rooftop Greenhouse and Bio-Diesel
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Rooftop Greenhouse and Bio-Diesel

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Rooftop Greenhouse and Bio-Diesel

Rooftop Greenhouse and Bio-Diesel

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Rooftop Greenhouse and Bio-Diesel  Rooftop Greenhouse and Bio-Diesel Document Transcript

  • Rooftop Greenhouse and Bio-Diesel: Final Report Gateway Team Albert Jimenez (Primary Facilitator) Wayne Chuang Jaimie Lee Shreya Kedia Edward Choi Community Partner & Client Eleanor Roosevelt Intermediate School (I.S. 143) Gioya Fennelly (Environmental Studies Teacher) Ronnie Pappas (Principal) Luis Malave (Assistant Principal) Advisor Alexander Haubold Submission Date: April 30, 2007
  • Table of ContentsExecutive Summary…………………………………………………………………………Page 2Background Research…………………………………………………………………….Pages 3-4Formal Problem Statement……………………………………………………………….Pages 4-5Design Specifications…………………………………………………………………….Pages 5-6Final Designs……………………………………………………………………………Pages 6-13 Roof……………………...……………………………………………………….Pages 6-7 Bio-diesel Processing Plant…………………………………………………...….Pages 7-8 Greenhouse……………………………………………………………………….Pages 8-9 Electrical System…………………………………………………………………….Page 9 Plumbing System…………………………………………..………………………Page 10 Heating System……………………...….……………………………………..Pages 10-11 Evolution of our design………………………………………………………..Pages 11-12Alternative Solutions………………………………………...……….………………..Pages 12-13Transition Plans and User Documentation……………………………...............……..Pages 13-15Appendix……………………………………………………………………..………..Pages 16-40 Gantt Chart…………………………………………...............…………………….Page 16 Product Design Specifications………………………………………………...Pages 17-21 Budget Estimates…………………………………………………………………...Page 22 List of Resources………………………………………………………………Pages 22-26 Additional Items…………………………………………………….…………Pages 26-40 Design Renders.…………………………………………….................Pages 26-32 Equipment Specifications…………………………………….………..Pages 33-36 E-mail Exchanges between Albert Jimenez and Anthony Taylor …….Pages 37-40 1
  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARYOur client, an environmental studies teacher at IS 143, has worked with Gateway teams since lastsemester. Her primary focus in all of the individual projects has been on supporting the students’learning in the sciences. She especially hopes to show students the importance of the clean use ofenergy. Our project builds upon this idea and also requires a greenhouse to be heated by arenewable source of energy. This alternative energy source must be easy to obtain, non pollutingand cheap. The client has especially emphasized the importance of an inexpensive heatingalternative. The school already spends much of its financial resources on heating oil. In additionour research as shown that the price of oil has risen since the turn of the century, and willprobably continue rising for years to come. Due to this fact, it is imperative that the greenhousebe heated in a different way. At the same time, the use of an alternate form of energy will serveas an example to the students as they produce the energy and manage the greenhouse.After much research and suggestions by professionals, our team has decided that bio-diesel, as aform of energy, is the best alternative. The reactants used to produce bio-diesel energy can beeasily obtained. The main reactant, vegetable oil, can be freely obtained from local restaurants.Our client has spoken to these restaurants and obtaining a sufficient amount of vegetable oil isnot a problem. However, making and transforming the bio-diesel into heat presents the mainchallenge. At the same time, the design must allow for students to interact with the equipmentand learn about the processes and benefits of renewable energy.To accomplish this task, we have designed two main structures on the roof; the first one is theactual greenhouse and the second is a bio-diesel process plant for the production of bio-dieseland heating equipment. However, many constraints are presented through such a design;protrusions on the roof limit the size of the structures while safety requirements add to thecomplexity and cost of the design. Since students will be working on the roof, much precautionmust be taken for their safety and the possibility of fire must be taken very seriously. The client’sbudget also adds to the limitations as the school’s financial resources limit the size and quality ofthe structures.With these considerations in mind, we have developed a design that allows for the heating thegreenhouse, presents students with many didactic activities and fits the various constraints. Thegreenhouse will not be 30’ by 60’ ft as the client originally hoped for, but instead will be reducedto 20’ by 50’ to allow it to both fit on the roof and minimize the amount of heat required to keepit warm. The greenhouse will be directly connected to the bio-diesel process area and will beclearly visible from the process area. The bio-diesel plant will be much smaller than the actualgreenhouse in order to reduce the high cost of building a concrete structure on a roof. The plantwill contain the several materials necessary for the production of bio-diesel. The heatingequipment will also be inside the bio-diesel plant to prevent any possible byproducts that maydamage the plants. Heat will be routed from a boiler to hot water heaters in the process area andgreenhouse.Such a design covers the basic requirements of the client; the greenhouse will be adequatelyheated by renewable inexpensive energy, the students will learn much and everything fits theconstraints. Other alternative solutions for heating the greenhouse have also been considered.Solar power as an additional form of energy should especially be considered if the budget allows. 2
  • REPORT NARRATIVEBackground ResearchVarious discussions throughout the term with our client, IS 146, have clearly conveyed theirneed to somehow power a greenhouse that is to be built on the roof of the school structure. Manyoptions were considered from methane to regular residential heating oil; none proved to be asfeasible as the bio-diesel. In order to methodically select the best energy source for thegreenhouse, each options were scrutinized in four aspects—safety, effect on the environment,cost-effectiveness and education.Since this structure is to be developed on a public school building, safety of the students wasdeemed the most important. Unfortunately, many options were ruled out due to its volatility orneed for technicians to maintain. For instance, to ensure the safety of the students whenelectricity and natural gas is used, technicians specializing in dealing with the energies areneeded. Moreover, flashpoints—the lowest temperature at which the combustible material mayignite—was examined to determine the extent of the safety each material can provide. Althoughmethanol and propane are reasonable choices, their flashpoints are higher than that of bio-diesel.Methanol and Propane are regulated to have the flashpoints at 10 and 12 Celsius respectively. Incontrast, the government (ASTM) limits bio-diesel’s point to have minimum of 130 Celsius.Thus, the chemical and physical make-up of the bio-diesel fuels proves to be the most viable to aschool environment.Along with the safe use of the bio-diesel, it comes with many other positive attributes that makeit the best option for this project. Located in a densely populated area, the school needs to ensurethat the environment is not polluted to heat the greenhouse. Accordingly, the production of bio-diesel leaves nothing but glycerin, a co-product. Also, the necessary input for this production isused oils.Moreover, unlike the rest of the sources, bio-diesel allows for many chemical experiments andlab opportunities that can assist the students’ education. Labs, such as titration, can be set up sothat the students are involved to maintain the greenhouse and learn the value of the environmentalong the way.Lastly, the cost–effectiveness of the project is essential. Because the funding for this project is tobe provided by private donors and the government, the finances involved in the construction ofthe processor and the greenhouse were explored thoroughly. The following graph shows thetrends for the price changes of the second best alternative source, heating oil, for the last tenyears. First, as both the red and blue lines indicate, the prices have steadily been increasing forthe past decade. Overall, the prices have more than doubled and especially with the unexpectedand spontaneous hikes in prices the school may have hard time running the greenhouse onheating oil. To reveal the more unfortunate aspect, the degree 2 best fit line shows that the pricescontinue to rise at an unprecedented rate, reaching $3 per gallon by 2008. Another interestingaspect of the graph shows that the prices in New York City, especially on Manhattan, are about20 cents above the national average price-line. With the limited funding, the school willeventually reach a point when it will no longer be able to run the greenhouse with the expensive 3
  • heating oil. On the other hand, bio-diesel costs essentially nothing since wastes are collected toproduce it.Therefore, although the construction fee of the bio-diesel plant may seem expensive at this point,in the long run, this is a cost-effective and safe investment that induces a learning environmenton the roof of IS 146. Heating Oil and Bio-diesel Prices Comparison Chart 350 300 250 ) n o l l a G 200 r e p s t n 150 e C ( s NYC e c i r 100 US National P Expected Prices Bio-diesel in NYC 50 0 1998 2000 2002 2004 2006 2008 2010 Years(Data gathered every March)Formal Problem StatementHow do we effectively and efficiently transfer heat from a bio-diesel plant to a rooftopgreenhouse? The question is deceivingly simple, and it remains the focus of our project. Thisproblem, though, branches off in a series of different directions. In the process of answering ouroverall question, we are faced with various obstacles in diverse subgroups including technical,financial, and safety and regulation challenges.Upon visiting the school, we experienced the rooftop atmosphere and environment firsthand. Thetemperature of the rooftop is especially susceptible to weather fluctuations. During the winter,the greenhouse must withstand all precipitation, wind, and near-freezing conditions. Floodingduring rainy season is a concern. Major flooding can cause mold to grow, especially in theheated moist environment of the greenhouse. Excess drainage could also weaken the roofstructure or compromise the greenhouse structure. During the summer, the greenhouse mustwithstand intense heat and humidity. Thus, the bio-diesel plant must be able to maintain ideal 4
  • greenhouse conditions in extreme weather conditions. Our client specified that she would like thegreenhouse to be about sixty by thirty feet. Vent obstructions are apparent on the rooftop and arevisually distracting and aesthetically unappealing. They also seem to eject heat or air, so we musttake this into consideration when deciding where to place the greenhouse and its heat source onthe roof. Weight can also become a problem, as the roof can only support so much, though it isdoubtful that weight should pose a large difficulty. We must meet the structural and conditionalrequirements set by our client and apparent in our own observations and research.The school has a limited amount of funds, and this proves to be a major hurdle. The maximumamount that our client can currently raise is $50,000, but some of our research has indicated thatthis is very limited due to high construction costs.One of the main purposes of the greenhouse is to provide an educational setting for students. Ourdesign must ensure that the bio-diesel room provides an adequate setting for quantitative testing.The design must also accommodate the students: the greenhouse must be a suitable and safeworking environment for children. The chemicals that the supervisors will handle can becorrosive and dangerous in a setting that is supposed to be suitable for children. We mustaccommodate the practical functions and processes of the bio-diesel plant while avoiding safetyhazards.When designing the bio-diesel-fueled rooftop greenhouse, we must take technical, financial, andsafety and regulation stipulations into account. If we manage to meet all of these provisions, wewill essentially complete the goal of our project. It is, however, important not to forget the mainfocus of our involvement with the rooftop greenhouse. Though the specifics of the problem maymake it seem convoluted or undefined, the purpose of our project is to functionally andpractically heat the rooftop greenhouse via a bio-diesel plant.Design SpecificationsThe heating requirement, as specified by our client, is that bio-diesel should be used to heat thegreenhouse, since this also lowers the cost of heating. To accomplish this, we are using aBeckett-style burner with standard hot water unit heaters. The energy created from burning thefuel will be used to heat the water, which will then be transferred to a hot water unit heater,which will physically heat the greenhouse. This will supply enough heat to keep the greenhouseat a constant temperature. In addition, it is cheaper than installing a modified burner that woulduse glycerin to generate heat. Damage to the environment is minimized, as we are using bio-diesel to provide heat to the structures, and insulation to prevent loss of heat into theenvironment.Safety is also a main concern for our client, as students will be working in the greenhouse andprocessing plant. Therefore, dangerous chemicals used in the production of the bio-diesel can bestored in a cabinet, which can be locked to prevent student access. In addition, exhaust gasesfrom the burning of the bio-diesel will be vented out to prevent a build-up. The boiler in theprocessing area is set up in a small extension away from the main area of the plant, as a safetymeasure for the students. 5
  • Because our client expects the number of students that will be in the greenhouse or processingplant to be around 10 to 15, we have designed the two areas to accommodate that number. Thegreenhouse will be 20 feet by 50 feet, with a maximum height of 15 feet, spacious enough toallow more than 15 people easily. The processing area will be 332 sq. ft, which is enough tohouse both the processor and the boiler, and still large enough to let an instructor lead a lessonfor a group of about 5 students. In addition, the separation of the processing area and thegreenhouse is a precaution, to prevent accidents from affecting both areas.The greenhouse will be a stable structure, as dunnage will help stabilize the structure. Since thegreenhouse is expected to last at least a decade, it must be able to withstand weather conditionsand deterioration of materials.Our client will be able to control everything manually, and therefore can start and stop theprocessing plant at any time. Therefore, during the summer, when the school is on break, theprocess plant can be shut down. In addition, the students and instructors are watering the plantsin the greenhouse, and will help maintain the plants. In the case that there is no bio-dieselavailable, our client can use conventional fuel to heat the greenhouse.Final DesignsThe RoofThe roof will hold all of the structures and equipment necessary for the production of bio-dieseland heating the greenhouse. More specifically, one area of the three roof parts will be used tohouse the structures. Groups of students will come on certain days of the week to work on thegreenhouse and bio-diesel process plant. Through the roof entrance, the students will be carryingall the necessary components of the process onto the roof. For instance, they will come with usedvegetable oil from local restaurants to transform it into bio-diesel and they will transport the co-product glycerin from the process plant back out as well. The equipment used during productionwill run as much as possible from energy stored in a battery connected to solar panels on the roofof the process plant. The produced bio-diesel will then be mixed with conventional heating oil, ifnecessary, and used by a boiler. The co-product, glycerin, can then be composted, turned intosoap, or used in other projects. From the entrance, a straight path will lead the students directly tothe entrance for the bio-diesel process area. This path is short for the convenience of the studentsand instructors. Also since the same students will be working on the processing area and thegreenhouse, the two structures will be attached. Moreover, the processing area and thegreenhouse share a wall so that the instructor can oversee students working in both sections witha quick glance. The greenhouse also has two doors on both ends for quick exits in case of anemergency. This set-up maximizes the use of the areas on the roof that is confined by thefrequent protrusions. 6
  • The Bio-diesel Processing PlantThe bio-diesel processing plant will house the boiler, the processor, and a blackboard for theinstructor to teach lessons. One side of the structure shares a wall with the greenhouse, andallows students to see into the greenhouse when the instructor is teaching. The entirety of thebio-diesel plant is made out of corrugated metal, with the inside walls painted to create a morecomfortable learning setting. A floor cabinet is placed in the room to store dangerous chemicalsused change vegetable oil into bio-diesel. This cabinet will have a lock on it to prevent studentsfrom accessing it. Large barrels stored in this area are used to contain the vegetable oil, bio-diesel and conventional oil. The electricity generated from solar panel installed on the roof willbe stored in the battery. This electricity can be used to heat the fuel before it is processed. Atable is set in the middle of the room so that the instructor will have a surface to titrate and testthe vegetable oil. A sink is available nearby to wash hands in case of a spill and to water theplants. The boiler is set up in an extension of the room, away from the main area of theprocessing plant. A water pipe system is installed to transport the heat into the greenhouse. 7
  • The GreenhouseThe greenhouse will be connected to the process plant and located on the prime rooftop locationfor maximum sunlight. If necessary, its weight and structure will be supported and stabilized byroof dunnage, connecting the greenhouse to the school’s framework. The rooftop obstructionswill not be a problem since they do not eject any substance of concern or hindrance, and thegreenhouse will be a reasonable distance from the protrusions. It will have one heater that isconnected to the boiler in the bio-diesel plant. The greenhouse will take advantage of theschool’s drainage: water from the greenhouse will drain into the school’s overall drainagesystem. Motorized shutters and horizontal air-flow fans will help maintain the temperature insidethe structure during warm weather. A minimally reflective floor will absorb heat to sustain anideal environment for the plants. Refer to the appendix for a model with specific dimensions andproperties. 8
  • The Electrical SystemLighting, boiler function, oil heating, and bio-diesel processor performance are all contingent onavailable electricity. The rooftop already has available outlets and power connections to theschool’s main electrical system, but our design also allows for use of solar energy if the budgetallows. Solar panels would first absorb energy from the sun. Then, the energy would betransferred to a charge controller, where it would then be stored in a battery. For any appliance toutilize the stored energy, the energy would go through a power inverter and then directly to theappliance. 9
  • Plumbing SystemA plumbing system will be necessary to supply water to the sink in the processing plant andprovide water for the water heating system. Water evaporation from the system, albeit small,will eventually dry out the system, possibly overheating the boiler. Water is also necessary toclean the bio-diesel fuel and to water the plants. The plumbing system can be constructed byextending the school’s main water supply. Because the pipes can be constructed to lead directlyfrom the water supply through the roof into the processing room, heavy insulation is notnecessary to prevent water from freezing during wintertime.Heating SystemThe heating system consists of a large Beckett-style boiler, which typically runs on 80%conventional oil and 20% bio-diesel. A modified Beckett-style boiler, however, can run on bio-diesel alone, but can still use oil if bio-diesel is not obtainable. This versatility will allow theboiler to heat the greenhouse even when vegetable oil is not available. The boiler has thecapacity to provide up to 300,000 BTU. It has a pressure release valve, in case there is anunexpected failure or case of pressure buildup. A common round duct through an outside wallthat runs near the burner will provide the combustion gases necessary for burning the fuel. Thiswill be insulated to prevent condensation during cold weather. The boiler’s exhaust gases, whichconsist of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and in cases of conventional oil, sulfur dioxide, willbe vented into the outside air. The water heated from the energy generated from burning fuelruns in a closed loop, to hot water heater units in the process area and the greenhouse. The hot 10
  • water heater units will release the heat from the water pipes into the respective rooms. Thecooler water will then run back to the boiler to pick up more heat.Evolution of our designInitially, we planned to design a 30’ x 60’ greenhouse. Upon visiting the school, we discoverednoticeable rooftop protrusions. After taking various measurements, we modified the size of thegreenhouse to 20’ x 50’ in order to avoid the obstructions. Also, the original greenhouse shapewas a domed-shaped. However, this arrangement does not effectively utilize space or conserveheat. While discussing our plans with an architect, he informed us that a foundation would not benecessary since the structure could most likely be supported by the roof.Our early design specified a brick processing plant. After our conversation with an architect, wewere advised to use corrugated metal instead. Corrugated metal is cheaper, lighter, and gives usmore freedom in terms of the shape of our structure. Consequently, our overall structure will belighter and cheaper than originally planned. Also, the processing plant will not be strictly squareas initially proposed but will be more complex as allowed by the new material. The bio-dieselprocessor itself will have a feature that washes the bio-diesel; it is a simple process that useswater to mist wash the bio-diesel. This attribute is inherent in the processor which was notconsidered in the preliminary design and idea. 11
  • Anthony Taylor, the owner of a heating company, proved to be a valuable resource. Our teamand Mr. Taylor exchanged e-mails, our main concern being the heating of the greenhouse. Mr.Taylor diagrammed the heating process and routing. He also specified which heater is mostcompatible with our purpose and design. Thus, we will be using a Beckett-style boiler which iscapable of running on mixtures of bio-diesel conventional heating oil.Alternative SolutionsAfter reviewing the work of the last team that worked with our client last semester, we havetaken into consideration many alternate solutions. The last team’s solution to the school’s rooftopproject was to implement a greenhouse heated by compost and a classroom on the roof. Due tothe high cost and the realization that compost heating is not efficient, the client modified hersolution to the rooftop project. Her solution requires that our team design a blueprint for bothimplementing a roof greenhouse and heating it through renewable energy such as bio-diesel andsolar power. Considering her solution, we have confirmed the feasibility of using bio-diesel forheat. We have even learned that the glycerin co-product, produced during reaction, can also beused in productive ways. However, the use of solar power has been considered as only feasiableif the budget allows. If solar panels are to be used, they will be used for the energy required tomake the bio-diesel. Although we currently trust the feasibility and benefits of our solution wehave also considered many alternate solutions to different aspects of the project. Theirdescriptions are listed below:Heating through a Compost PlantAs stated above, a compost plant used to be the main source of energy for heating thegreenhouse. After the last team’s presentations, the client decided that such a plant would not bevery beneficial to the school. Our research confirms her claim. Compost is very difficult to createand would not be such an interesting project for middle school students. In addition the heatproduced is not enough to keep the greenhouse warm during winter; the greenhouse wouldrequire the reliance on the conventional method of heating through expensive oil, which goesagainst the idea of the project. Because of its contradictions to the project, the solution of using acompost plant is no longer being considered.Heating through Solar PowerThe idea of solar power use in this project initially seems great; no work is required to createenergy and the energy is unlimited. However, our research reveals the high cost of solar panels.Also, the solar panels will not add as much to the students experience as the production of bio-diesel. If the budget allows, the solar energy will be used not for heating but for the uses of bio-diesel production and lighting. And so, we consider the solution of using solar power not veryessential in the heating of the greenhouse but nonetheless a great use of energy and a goodopportunity for the students’ learning.Use of Glycerin ByproductThe byproduct glycerin to our surprise actually presents many benefits to the project. Instead ofposing an impurity problem, glycerin can be used in two ways: part of it can be used in anenjoyable project to make soap and part of it can be used to further heat the greenhouse. Bothpresent benefits to the project as it adds another level of learning to the student’s experience. At 12
  • this point, the use of glycerin for soap will definitely be part of the project. Research has alsoshown that the glycerin can used on furnaces for more heat. However, the equipment greatlyadds to the expenses while the energy content is relatively nominal.Wind PowerThis renewable source of energy was briefly suggested by the client. However, it was quicklydeemed unfeasible; more costs and maintenance is required to implement wind power into theproject. Like solar power, the students won’t be able to interact with it and so it adds very little tothe learning experience. Such a solution might be practical in the future. But at this early point,such power is very little relative to bio-diesel and adds unnecessary complications.Dealing with Roof’s ProtrusionsThe protrusions on the roof were a great limitation to the last team. Rather than assume that theycan be removed, we understand that they are essential to the school’s building and that manysolutions to their limitation must be considered. We have decided that the most logical solution isto build the structure around it. However, throughout the project we have considered other waysto avoid these obstacles. One solution was building part of the structures on the protrusions. Inorder to prevent the heat and gases coming from the protrusions from causing harm we havecome up with the “chimney” solution. This possible solution requires that a material beconstructed around the protrusions to allow the heat or gases to escape upwards. While the ideaseemed eccentric, it allowed us to understand that the original goals must be modified to makethe design as practical as possible.Transition Plans and User DocumentationPrior Work and Possible ContinuationTwo other teams have worked on our projects with our client in the Fall of 2006. One teamdesigned a lab classroom, which has influenced how our team envisioned the final designs forour project. That team had worked with our client’s school, I.S. 143, to create a classroom thatcan accommodate thirty students and house lab equipment and chemicals. Our team extractedthe main ideas from that project and remodeled it into our bio-fuel process area, which, whenbuilt, will allow twenty students to enter and participate in the creation of bio-diesel fromvegetable oil. It will also allow chemicals such as caustic soda to be stored in the cabinets withinthe process area.The second team worked to create a rooftop greenhouse and classroom. This project was relatedmuch more closely to problem statement, as it is essentially the same project with differentsolutions. We utilized some of the designs of their greenhouse as a vision for our own design,but made significant changes to fit the new design constraints, which involved a budget and anew fuel dependency. While the last team used compost to provide heat, we were instructed tocreate a greenhouse heated by bio-diesel, thus entailing the need for a process area for the fuel.Over the course of this semester, we have set up the greenhouse and process area with relation tothe roof, and constructed a heating system that will carry the energy from burning bio-diesel intothe greenhouse to maintain the temperature necessary. We have also installed vents in the top of 13
  • the greenhouse in case of overheating. Future work on this project would involve configurationof the utilities for the greenhouse and process area, such as electrical wires and water pipes.Since solar panels can be installed on top of the process area, the electricity generated can beused to heat the oil before it is converted to bio-diesel. Water must be piped up through the mainsupply of the school’s water system, and the drains must be connected to the school’s drains.There are already drains on the roof, however, and the water can simply be drained from thegreenhouse through that system.Additional work can also be done on the optimization of the heating system. Our team hasalready created a design to route heat into the greenhouse. However, it may not be the mosteffective way, and future teams can improve upon the design to allow the minimal heat loss tothe environment.Our design is made up of components that are already produced and have patents on them. Ourown creations are the building design for the process area and the arrangements of thecomponents, and the routing of heat. Therefore, patents are unwarranted in our situation, sincewe did not invent any new products.Documentation Instructing the Use and Maintenance of SolutionGreenhouseThe PVC used as panes for the greenhouse is low maintenance, and only needs to be replacedevery five to eight years.DrainageBecause the floor of the greenhouse will be gravel, water can seep through the gravel to thedrains already installed on the roof. This will prevent the water from collecting and producinghealth problems.Maintenance of Bio-diesel PlantBio-DieselThe produced bio-diesel must be water-washed every time it is used, to prevent the boiler frombecoming clogged up.Process AreaKeep lab station clean, and keep all chemicals locked in the cabinet to prevent student accidents.Growing PlantsPlants should be kept in pots with holes to prevent water collection and flooding of the plants. Inaddition, yellow sticky cards should be placed to monitor the insects that inevitably will enter thegreenhouse and prevent them from spreading throughout the greenhouse.Documentation for Duplicating and Improving Team Solution 14
  • Refer to Appendix A.1 to see our team’s Gantt Chart to see how our team progressed in thecreation of our design. This will give an idea of how long it took for us to accomplish each task,and allow future teams to get a feel of the time it takes for each step.Refer to Pages 5-12 for a better understanding of how our team reached our final design, andpossible ideas for improvement.For the research on costs and materials, please refer to Appendix A.3 for information on theitems used in our designs.Refer to our models in Appendix A.5 for a clear representation of our design.Future teams should also refer to Appendix A.4 to further their research process.Refer to Appendix A.6 for more in-depth descriptions and other important information regardingour design and possible additional improvements that can be made.Refer to our website http://www.columbia.edu/~alj2110 for complete details of the project,sources, and documents. 15
  • APPENDICESA1. Gantt Chart 16
  • A2. Product Design SpecificationsIn-Use Purposes, Market and Economics • Product Title Rooftop Bio-Diesel/ Greenhouse Project • Purpose 1. To use the bio-diesel to heat the greenhouse in a cost-efficient way. 2. This system of using bio-diesel to heat the greenhouse will serve as a demonstrative way of teaching certain highly motivated students horticulture as well as the science involved in the process. Thus the students would learn science and help the community as well. • Predictable unintended uses the product may be put to 1. Producing the bio-diesel would serve as a method of recycling the used cooking oil from local restaurants. Thus this production setup would also serve as an oil recycling plant and cut down on waste. 2. The by-product of the bio-diesel plant, glycerin, may be used to produce soap. 3. The excess bio-diesel would be sold to the local gas station in the Bronx that sells bio- diesel. (Uses 2 and 3 are long-term goals) • Special Features of the Product 1. The greenhouse using the bio-diesel as a fuel to heat it will be a great place for the students to learn science and horticulture simultaneously. 2. While serving the purpose of teaching the students, it will also make them more active in recycling oil and hence helping the community and protecting the environment. • Intended Market 1. Selected highly motivated students interested in learning about this process. 2. Soap producing companies that will buy the glycerin and/or the soap marketing companies that will sell the soap produced from the glycerin (in the long run). 3. The local gas stations for the excess bio-diesel produced (in the long run). • Need for Product 1. To motivate students in the mathematics and sciences. 2. Have an environmentally friendly project to help the school as well as the community. • Economics 1. The cost must be as low as possible. 2. The school can raise a maximum of $50,000.Functional Requirements • Physical Requirements 1. The weight of the greenhouse along with the bio-diesel plant would depend on the size of the greenhouse – 20 × 50 ft. 2. The height is 10 ft on the sides and maximum of 15 ft at the ridge. 3. The dimensions of the process area will be 21.6’ x 18’. 17
  • 4. In order to maximize the space efficiency, the greenhouse will most probably be shaped in the form of a rectangle with a dome-shaped top. 5. A whiteboard/ projector for teaching the students could be included in the bio-diesel plant section to increase convenience in teaching. • Forces Involved 1. All forces are in equilibrium weight of the greenhouse and its normal force. • Flow of Energy 1. The bio-diesel plant is to generate the energy needed to heat the greenhouse. 2. When needed depending on the season, the energy will be transferred to the greenhouse to heat it and maintain a comfortable temperature for plant-growth. • Backup and Control 1. There must be an alternate source of heating the greenhouse in case of an emergency or unexpected failure. 2. The bio-diesel plant must have a control switch in order to turn it off during the summer. • Service Environment Must be resistant to the following: 1. Weather changes such as high velocity winds, rain, sleet, snow, dirt, dust, high and low temperatures. 2. Insect and bird damage. • Life Cycle Issues As it is not feasible to replace the greenhouse and bio-diesel plant very often, it must be very well planned and must be long-lasting. The following factors must be considered: 1. The greenhouse should not fail for at least a decade or two. 2. The main inputs for the greenhouse would not be a problem as it is the local waste from restaurants. 3. It should be easy to maintain and repair. • Human Factors and Ergonomics 1. Aesthetics – the bio-diesel plant should not tarnish the beauty of the rooftop greenhouse. 2. Ergonomics and main machine interface will be incorporated in the design. 3. The students must be trained to deal with the chemicals and operate the bio-diesel plant. 4. The students must be supervised.Ecological • Materials - Plastic PVC for the greenhouse panes 1. It is cheap 2. Its lightweight 3. Minimal care and maintenance is required - Metal Structure for the greenhouse - Concrete for the section with the bio-diesel plant as it is stronger and more resistant to weather damage than wood. • Working Fluid Section 18
  • 1. There will be measuring cylinders and funnels for adding the liquid raw material to the plant. 2. The waste oil and the chemicals will be stored safely in a classroom.Manufacturing • A conventional oil heater modified to use only the bio-fuel produced to generate the heat. • The by-products, glycerin, as specified previously, will be used for making soap. • Since the raw material used is waste cooking oil from local restaurants, the material used is relatively reliable. • The raw material, waste oil, will be carried up to the rooftop by hand. • In order to water the plants, there will be a water system on the rooftop.Corporate Constraints 1. An arrangement must be made and a contract signed for the school to use the waste cooking oil from local restaurants. 2. The contracts must be written up and signed and all related legal procedures must be completed when selling the by-products and the excess fuel for profit. 3. The above two requirements must be dealt with in an extremely professional manner. 4. The entire setup should be economic as the school can only raise a limited amount of funds.Social, Political, and Legal Requirements • Safety 1. The setup must be safe for the students to operate the plant. 2. All the safety standards must be met – limit to the people capacity, the safety standards for the fuel and the heating method and the materials used. 3. The possibility of fire must be taken into consideration and hence a fire extinguisher should be installed along with a first aid kit. 4. Fences will be made higher to increase the roof safety. • Patents and Legal Formalities 1. All of the necessary legal formalities must be completed in order for the by-product and the bio-diesel to be sold. 2. All the codes and standards must be met during the construction and setup of the greenhouse and bio-diesel plant. 3. The necessary licenses for the project must be obtained in order to run the bio-diesel plant and sell the by-product, glycerin, and the excess fuel. 4. The students’ parents must sign waivers and this would also ensure that they are aware of the project and the website.Quality • Regulations 1. The safety regulations, fire codes must be met. 19
  • • Reliability 2. In order to make the system reliable there must be a backup heating system to take over the bio-diesel plant in times of emergencies and failures. 3. It should be reliable and safe so that the children are not harmed in any way while using the equipment.Timing • By April 10th 2007, the In-Depth Project Design including cost analysis for the greenhouse (already started) the final revisions to the design and the 3D model will be completed. • By April 30th 2007, the design for the greenhouse with the bio-diesel plant heating system will be finalized and presented. Customer / Engineering Requirements MapCustomer Engineering Requirements JustificationRequirements1,5 Use a standard Beckett-style burner The burner would take in the bio-diesel mix as with standard hot water unit heaters. the fuel and boil the water in the pipes which On typical day the energy needed is: would heat the greenhouse and the plant 120,000 BTU/hr – greenhouse section. This would be cheaper than installing 40,000 BTU/hr – process area a modified burner which would also use glycerin as a fuel.2 The exhaust gases must be vented Students will be maintaining the greenhouse outdoors and the chemicals must be and learning about the process and this ensures stored with utmost caution and care their safety and that of all others who visit the and safety regulations must be met greenhouse3, 5 The greenhouse section will be 20 ft This would provide sufficient space for × 50 ft students to work in the greenhouse and gain a practical learning experience. Also if this is the planned size as opposed to the previous 30 ft × 60 ft, we save on the cost of construction and maintenance.4, 2 The process area will be 16.83 ft × We need a separate process area in order to 18 ft. The section of the process keep the bio-diesel processor away from the area for the boiler will be an actual greenhouse. The actual boiler is in a additional 6 × 4.83 ft making one of corner by itself in order to ensure the safety of the 16.83 ft long edges 21.6 ft. the students present in the process room. This would be large enough to have the cabinet storing the chemicals and the blackboard as well and hence increase convenience in teaching the students the chemical processes and details of the greenhouse.6, 2 Dunnage will be used in order to The greenhouse will be expected to last long ensure the stability of the greenhouse (at least a decade) and be a safe place for structure. student to learn about the plants and bio-diesel production.7 There will be insulated hot water This method of using insulated hot water pipes pipes running through process area minimizes loss of heat during the transfer. The to the greenhouse. These will be hot water heater will maintain the temperature 20
  • connected to hot water heaters. at a constant 80 degrees, which in turn will keep the greenhouse in a comfortable setting.8, 7 Bio-diesel will be used to heat the Bio-diesel is a clean burning fuel, releasing greenhouse. Insulated pipes will more environmentally friendly gases, as minimize the heat loss during the opposed to regular fuels. While burning of transport of heat. regular fuels can release nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, which damage the environment greatly, producing effects such as acid rain, the burning of bio-diesel only produces water vapor and carbon dioxide. Using insulated pipes will allow the system to be more efficient, thus reducing heat loss to the environment.9 The bio-diesel plant and greenhouse Because there is no school during the summer will be manually controlled, and months, the instructor will be able to shut refueling of the plant will be done by down the greenhouse by removing all the the instructor and students. plants and stop refueling the plant.10 Conventional oil will be used to heat Because vegetable oil and bio-diesel may not the greenhouse. always be available, the bio-diesel plant will be able to accommodate the usage of conventional fuel to produce heat.11 The greenhouse and bio-diesel plant Both structures will not violate any regulations will be built to meet all government or patents, as this would hinder the regulations. construction of the project. Everything built will be within the regulations stated by the city and the state.12 Students and instructors will water Because the plants are only in the greenhouse the plants regularly, as part of the during the school year, students and instructors science curriculum, which involves will be able to care for the plants on a weekday learning about the greenhouse plants. basis.1. The bio-diesel produced should be used to heat the greenhouse.2. Safety of the students must be considered.3. The greenhouse is to cater to about 10-15 selected students at a time.4. The process area should be large enough to comfortably produce the heat, store chemicals and house the blackboard to facilitate an easy and systematic teaching process.5. The cost should be as low as possible.6. Greenhouse should be stable.7. The heat from the bio-diesel processor should be used to heat the process area as well as the greenhouse.8. It should damage the environment as little as possible.9. The system of heating should be seasonal i.e. our client should be able to use the heating system only when required.10. The design should include a back-up heating system.11. It should be in compliance with all of the city, state and other legal regulations.12. Arrangements should be made in order to water the plants regularly.A3. Budget Estimates 21
  • A4. List of ResourcesA. S. Ramadhas, S. Jayaraj and C. Muraleedharan. “Use of vegetable oils as I.C. engine fuels.” Renewable Energy Volume 29, Issue 5, April 2004, Pages 727-742.Azman, Andrew, and Christina Savage. "Fried Fuels." Colorado Engineer Magazine Spring 2003.Bennett Park. New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Sep 09, 1998 <http://nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/hs_historical_sign.php?id=6419Bio-diesel. 2007. National Bio-diesel Board. 1 Mar. 2007<http://www.bio-diesel.org/pdf_files/fuelfactsheets/BTU_Content_Final_Oct2005.pdf>. 22
  • Bio-dieselConsultancy. Bio-dieselConsultancy. February 19, 2007 <http://www.bio-dieselconsultancy.com/>.Bio-diesel Costs Reduced $0.40 per Gallon by Glycol Production. The Energy Blog. August 26, 2005 <http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2005/08/bio-diesel_costs.html>.Bio-diesel Glycerol Uses. UK FuelTech. 28 Aug. 2006. 15 Mar. 2007 <http://www.ukfueltech.com/bio-diesel-glycerine.htm>.Bio-diesel price update. December 3rd, 2006 <http://sfbiofuels.org/2006/12/03/bio-diesel-price-update.html>.Bio-diesel. Union of Concerned Scientists. September 28, 2005 <http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/big_rig_cleanup/bio-diesel.html>.Cascade Bio-Diesel. Cascade Bio-Diesel. 2006 <http://www.autoshop4u.com/index.html>.C.D. Rakopoulos, K.A. Antonopoulos, D.C. Rakopoulos, D.T. Hountalas and E.G. Giakoumis. “Comparative performance and emissions study of a direct injection Diesel engine using blends of Diesel fuel with vegetable oils or bio-diesels of various origin.” Energy Conversion and Management Volume 47, Issues 18-19, November 2006, Pages 3272- 3287.Charkes, Juli S. "Bio-diesel Fuel Raises Hopes of Greening Cars." New York Times 18 Feb. 2007.Chiaramonti, David, Oasmaa, Anja, Solantausta, Yrjo. “Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews.” Academic Search Premier Aug 2007, Vol. 11 Issue 6, p1056-1086, 31p.Climate Change-Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Carbon Dioxide. 19 Oct. 2006. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 13 Mar. 2007 <http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/co2.html>.Collins, Glenn. "A 21st-Century Greenhouse Joins a Domed Bronx Classic.(Metropolitan Desk)(A Marriage of Old and New, With Flowers)." The New York Times (Sept 24, 2004 pB1 col 05 (34 col): B1. New York Times and New York Post (2000-present). Thomson Gale. New York Public Library. 12 Feb. 2007."Commercial Greenhouses and Supplies From IGCs GreenhouseMEGAstore." GreenhouseMEGAstore. 2005. IGC. 14 Apr. 2007 <http://www.greenhousemegastore.com/departments.asp?dept=1002&gclid=CLDKxLSr 5osCFSgRGgod6RJ2Vg>."Corrugated Metal Roofing & Siding Material." Mechanical Metals, Inc. Mechanical Metals, Inc. 22 Apr. 2007 <http://www.mechanicalmetals.com/wallroof.html>. 23
  • CU Biodiese. Leftwise. 2004 <http://www.cubio-diesel.org/>.Dillon-Ermers, Nell. Northern Manhattan, 200th – 220th Sts. <http://www.columbia.edu/~nad7/neighborhood/>Donovan, Paul, and William Tis. United States. Patent and Trademark Office. Synthetic Fuel Production Method. 5 May 2003. 8 Feb. 2007. <http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph- Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearchbool.ht ml&r=16&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=fuel&s2=%22vegetable+oil%22&OS= fuel+AND+%22vegetable+oil%22&RS=fuel+AND+%22vegetable+oil%22>.Estill, Lyle and Burton, Rachel. “OUR PLACE IN THE BIO-DIESEL WASTE STREAM.” BioCycle; Dec2005, Vol. 46 Issue 12, p28-31, 4p.FreedomFuelAmerica. Cascade Bio-diesel. 2006 <http://www.cascadebio-diesel.com/?FreedomFuelAmerica>."Heating Solutions for Bio-diesel Production Facilities." AG Solutions LLC. AG Solutions LLC. 11 Apr. 2007 <http://www.agsolutionsllc.com/bio-diesel/bio-diesel.html>.Hofman, Vern. Bio-diesel Fuel. February 2003 <http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/ageng/machine/ae1240w.htm>.Home Heating Oil. Bio-diesel. 17 Mar. 2007. National Bio-diesel Board. 17 Mar. 2007<http://www.bio-diesel.org/markets/hom/faqs.asp>.How to Make Compost, a Composting Guide. Compost Guide. 7 Feb. 2006. 13 Mar. 2007<http://www.compostguide.com/>.I.S. 143 Forums. 2007 <http://www.is143.com/forums/>JHS 143 Eleanor Roosevelt. NYC Dept. of Ed. 2007. <http://schools.nyc.gov/OurSchools/Region10/M143/default.htm>Kidd, J. S., and Renee A. Kidd. "Clean Energy." Air Pollution, Science and Society. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005. Facts On File, Inc. Science Online.Kleinschmit, Jim. Biofueling Rural Development: Refueling the Case for Linking Biofuel Production to Rural Revitalization. Carsey Institute. Policy Brief No. 5, Winter 2007."Low Flash Point Chemicals." Physical & Theoretical Chemistry Lab Safety. 16 Dec. 2003. 1 Apr. 2007 <http://physchem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/lowflashpoint.html>. 24
  • Material Safety Data Sheet. Bio-diesel.com. 2007 <http://www.bio-diesel.com/PDF/Material%20Safety%20Sheet.pdf>."Monthly Average Home Heating Oil Prices." New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. 2004. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. 10 Mar. 2007 <http://www.nyserda.org/energy_information/nyepc.asp>.New York Schools-NY elementary, middle and high school information. Great Schools 2007.<http://www.greatschools.net/cgi-bin/ny/other/2477>."Pacific Bio-diesel Glossary." Pacific Bio-diesel. 2006. Pacific Bio-diesel, Inc. 25 Apr. 2007 <http://www.bio-diesel.com/Glossary.htm>."POLYCARBONATE (Makrolon®, Lexan®, Zelux®)." San Diego Plastics, Inc. San Diego Plastics, Inc. 25 Apr. 2007 <http://www.sdplastics.com/polycarb.html>.Products-Bio-diesel. Distribution Drive. 23 Jan. 2005. 18 Mar. 2007 <http://www.distributiondrive.com/products%20bio-diesel.html>.Radich, Anthony. Bio-diesel Performance, Costs, and Use. June 08, 2004. <http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/analysispaper/bio-diesel/index.html>Relocation, Renovation, and Redesign of Kellogg House. Williams College. 2007 <http://www.williams.edu/CES/mattcole/resources/onlinepaperpdfs/theses/kellogg.pdf>Thomas, Justin. "Using Bio-diesel to Heat Your Home." Treehugger. 17 Mar. 2007. 17 Mar. 2007 <http://www.treehugger.com/files/2005/11/using_bio-diesel.php>.Trucks. Making Bio-diesel. Spike TV, 2005 <http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=457773184300286737&q=bio-diesel>.United States. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Department of Energy. Bio-diesel: Handling and Use Guidelines. 2004. 16 Feb. 2007 <http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/pdfs/36182.pdf>.United States. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Department of Energy. Fuel Exclusitivity Contract Regulation and Alternative Fuel Tax Exemption. 16 Feb. 2007 <http://eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/bio-diesel.html>.United States. Transportation and Air Quality. Environmental Protection Agency. Alternative Fuels: Bio-diesel. Oct. 2006. 16 Feb. 2007 <http://www.epa.gov/otaq/smartway/growandgo/documents/420f06044.pdf>. 25
  • U.S. Heating Oil, Diesel Fuel, And Distillate. Wed Sep 06 2006 11:05:01 GMT-0400 (Eastern Daylight Time). U.S. Government. 7 March. 2007 <http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/info_glance/distillate.html>."U.S. No. 2 Heating Oil Residential Price (Cents Per Gallon Excluding Taxes)." Energy Information Administration. 14 Mar. 2007. U.S. Energy Information Administration. 29 Mar. 2007 <http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/mhoreus4m.htm>.Why Bio-diesel?. Bio-diesel.com. 2007<http://www.bio-diesel.com/why_bio-diesel.htm>.A5. Additional ItemsA5.a Design Renders Rooftop with greenhouse, bio-diesel plant, and roof entrance 26
  • Rooftop entranceGreenhouse interior (1) 27
  • Greenhouse interior (2)Top view of greenhouse, and the greenhouse’s vents 28
  • Rooftop obstructions and intersection of greenhouse and bio-diesel plant Solar panels on bio-diesel roof 29
  • Titration table with chemical drums, bio-diesel plant interior Fire extinguisher in bio-diesel plant 30
  • Storage cabinet in bio-diesel plantRooftop obstructions and greenhouse 31
  • Rooftop obstruction, roof entrance, and side of greenhouse 32
  • A5.b Equipment Specifications 33
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  • A5.c E-mail Exchanges between Albert Jimenez and Anthony TaylorMr. Taylor’s Initial Feedback (with original illustration):Why heat only with Beckett-style burner and not use a machine for heating glycerin:Our burners do perform well when using glycerin, as long as our recommendations arefollowed. The reason that I steered our common teacher friend towards a standard oil burner isthe fact that her bio-diesel system will not produce enough glycerin to justify buying one of oursystems that can burn the glycerin.Please be careful about what you read about bio-diesel production and productionsystems. There is a lot of bad information floating around the internet. Production of highquality bio-diesel is pure chemistry. Let me know of any other questions.Albert’s Questions:The Boiler System1. Does a conventional boiler system using a Beckett-style burnerrequire any modification to run bio-diesel?2. Can it run on a mixture of conventional oil and bio-diesel?3. Can glycerin be used as fuel?4. What is the average cost of such a system with the pipes andparts?Operation5. How to use the boiler, is a match necessary, does it useelectricity?6. What type of gas is emitted with the heat?a. If much water vapor is emitted, is condensation into water on thetop of the greenhouse possible/a problem? 37
  • 7. Does it require an external pump to distribute heat?8. Must it operate at a specific range of temperature?Maintenance9. Does it require drainage?10. How is water transferred into the boiler?11. How is temperature maintained?Safety12. What is the most convenient location to place the boiler?13. Is it safe for it to be near children in the bio-diesel processarea?a. If placed in the process area will ventilation be required apartfrom the flues?b. If placed in the process area will heat surrounding the boiler besignificant enough for part of the heating of the process area?14. What are the products produced by using oil/bio-diesel?15. How should the bio-diesel be tested/cleaned to ensure that theboiler runs properly?Technical16. Water needed per unit of heat.17. How to estimate how much heat is needed to for a greenhouse(considering heat trapped as a result of sunlight, heat produced byboiler, heat dissipated by walls)18. From my understanding bio-diesel has a energy content of 120,000btus per gallon, how efficient is the boiler in converting thisenergy into heat?19. Can you estimate how much bio-diesel is needed to heat agreenhouse (about 25 x 50) on an average cold day (about 0degrees Celsius)His Response:My suggestion about using a standard Beckett-style burner was based upon the direction that Ithought that the project was intended. I thought that the proposed plan was to produce bio-dieselwhich would then be used as the fuel for the greenhouse part of the project. That is the reasonthat I recommended using a boiler with a standard Becket burner. I had suggested that the boilercould be fueled with standard #2 fuel for the production of the first batch of bio-diesel, thenswitched over to bio-diesel the following day. The heat from the boiler would provide theheating source for the bio-diesel process and heating for that section and the heating forgreenhouse section.Now, lets see what I can do about assisting you with some answers.1. No. The burner itself needs to have a biofuel compatible pump. The two most common 38
  • manufacturers of those pumps both make a biofuel pump. The oil pressure off of the pumpneeds to be increased from the standard 90 psi up to about 120 psi, the nozzle used allows for awider fuel dispersion angle, and the combustion air damper is opened a bit more.2. A blend is usually used, which would then not require a change other than the pump. Theblend is usually 80% dino fuel/20% biofuel or up to 50% dino/50% bio. However, somehomebrewers do use straight bio-diesel.3. We are at the forefront with testing and application of glycerin as a fuel. We have several bio-diesel producers using part of their glycerin as their process heating fuel. We have greenhouseoperations using the glycerin as their heating fuel. I will be in Bethlehem, CT sometime nextmonth at an AG field day, held at a bio-diesel producers sight, demonstrating glycerin as agreenhouse fuel. However, you cannot use a standard Becket-style burner for this process.4. The cost is dependent upon the capacity of the system. A typical 300,000 BTU input oil-firedboiler would likely cost about $3500 - $3800. The hydronic accessories (expansion tank,auto air vent, etc.) would run less than $200. The piping depends upon the distance that iswould be run, and whatever the cost is for the installation of it. For the actual space heating Iwould recommend standard hot water unit heaters, which would be around $600 each for yourapplication.5. All modern power burners, as Becketts are, do use electricity. One the size that we are talkingabout would use 120 volt at less than 8 amps. You would have circulating pumps for the unitheaters, and the blowers on the heaters. None would use any more than the boiler.6. The boiler exhaust gases must be vented to the outdoor air. The exhaust gases depend uponthe fuel (#2 fuel oil or bio-diesel). But you would have varying levels of CO2, CO, SO2 (nonewith bio-diesel), NoX and such.6a. Since the exhaust gases are vented outdoors, there would not be a condensation issue fromthe gases.7. As described above, yes you would require the use of pumps.8. Any boiler system is more efficient if allowed to operate at temperatures above 160F orso. There are simple ways to "temper" the heated water for various applications if necessary.9. The boiler itself does not require drainage. It would however have pressure relief valve thatwould activate to relieve excessive pressure inside the boiler in case of a failure of sometype. Your question seems to be connected to the use of "condensing-type" boilersystems. Those systems do require the use of a condensation drain, and the condensation israther acidic. I do not know of any oil-fired condensing boiler system that will operate with bio-diesel as the fuel.10. The boiler operates in a "closed loop" - which means that the water is simply circulatedcontinuously. A closed loop system does require the use of a water supply be connected to theboiler for filling and displacing air that will seep into the piping system. This process is on everyclosed loop hydronic heating or cooling system anywhere.11. The boiler usually has an independent temperature controller. Any other processes (unitheaters, etc.) would have their thermostats also.12. Ideally the boiler is installed in a permanent, or somewhat permanent, structure. I have seenthem in greenhouses though. Because of the pumps, you can probably install the boiler awayfrom your actual points of use, just like most other buildings do.13. As long as precautions are taken to keep people away from the boiler exhaust vent stack, andall piping is insulated, you should be okay. Just use good safety practices to prevent accidental,or intentional, exposure to hot surfaces. 39
  • 13a. Any appliance that produces combustion does require a means to have access to combustionair. Often that can be a simple piece of common round duct through an outside wall ran to nearthe burner, insulated of course to prevent condensation during cold weather.13b. The boiler itself will produce some heat that will be radiated towards colder surfaces. Heatgoes to cold. If the boiler is in a greenhouse structure it likely will not provide adequate heat forthe process area.14. I am not sure of what you mean by "products produced" - I need a little help on that one.15. There are simple testing kits that are sold on the internet that you can get your hands on. Goto www.journeytoforever.com and you can get some information there. I will tell you that someof the information on there is not reliable, but you can pick up some info about testing. Mostbio-diesel producers do actually use water spraying through a stream of their bio-diesel toremove impurities. They then use a desiccant bead filter to remove any remaining water. Someare using absorbent beads of different types instead of water washing, but it really increases thecost.16. The water needed is based upon the water content in the boiler, heaters, and piping. In thesystem the size that we are talking about you would likely have no more than 50 gallons total.17. The greenhouse calculation for heat load is to take your desired inside temperature andsubtract the average lowest outdoor temperature to come with a maximum temperaturedifferential, then multiply that by 150%. Multiply that by the square footage of thebuilding. That gives you the BTU load requirement. For example if you want 60F inside, andthe average coldest outside is 0F, then the maximum differential is 60F. Multiply that by 150%,which gives you 90 - that is the BTUs needed per square foot. If the building is 1200 square feetthen multiply 90 times 1200 to get 108,000 BTUs (60F - 0F = 60F x 150% = 90 BTUs x 1200ft2 = 108,000 BTUs). Those are "delivered" BTUs, not the BTU input of the boiler. I stronglyrecommend having some extra capacity given your location on top of a building.18. Typical boilers will have efficiencies of anywhere from 82% up to about 88% - given thedesign and construction.19. I think that you can use the calculation above the answer this question. The burner will haverating that is based upon its oil consumption per hour of run time. Take the BTUs introduced asthe fuel and you should get fairly close. That 120,000 number is close enough for what you aredoing. 40