Tag Archives: energy

Change the world with your DVD drive?

Researchers at UCLA produced graphene supercapacitors — an amazingly efficient electricity-storage medium — using a standard DVD burner.

“The process is straightforward, cost-effective and can be done at home,” El-Kady said. “One only needs a DVD burner and graphite oxide dispersion in water, which is commercially available at a moderate cost.”

More info here.

Smart Energy – now it’s personal

PilgrimMy pal Pilgrim Beart gave a splendid talk at the IET last week, about smart energy monitoring.

Click here to watch the webcast.

45 mins of talk, 45 mins of questions. Well worth the time.

All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air…

The very pretty Nest thermostat has justifiably attracted a certain amount of attention recently. But it has a few failings, too:

  • It’s expensive – someone quipped that the Apple-inspired design comes with Apple-inspired prices
  • It’s a single point of temperature measurement, and what most houses need is multiple thermostats, or at least sensors
  • It isn’t available in the UK and wouldn’t work with most UK heating systems anyway,

So, it’s not for me. But I am keen to upgrade my heating controls: we have pretty substantial fuel bills even for our small and fairly well-insulated house.

So I’m after recommendations. Here’s my ideal system:

  • You could set the temperature you want in each room, and control the times of day at which you want it. Or, even better, it would learn the pattern for each room. (And not get too confused by daylight savings time changes)
  • We have radiators in each room, so it would need to manage the radiator valves. (i.e. replace the TRVs)
  • The temperature sensors would not necessarily be on the radiator valves, but could be elsewhere in the room.
  • The timing of the boiler ignition would be based on the combined needs of the house, and not on the temperature of a particular thermostat in the hall, or of the time programmed into a separate heating controller.
  • Ideally, it could be programmed through a wife-friendly app or web interface.

Anyone know of anything that satisfies a significant number of these?  I don’t expect to get them all. But I also don’t want to spend a lot of money and time on a system which does some of them, only to discover that another would have been a better choice.
 
Oh, and I’d rather not have to do any major plumbing…

Any suggestions welcome!

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser