Posts Tagged ‘warm water’
When I first posted this over at the “big blog” – two years ago – Jernhusen was just getting started on the proposal to heat the train station with body heat. A delight to see the project continues – and brings positive results, savings and consternation to the spookier critics who predicted failure.
Body heat is not an energy source that normally springs to mind when companies want to keep down soaring energy costs. But it did spring to the mind of one Swedish company, which decided the warmth that everybody generates naturally was in fact a resource that was going to waste.
Jernhusen, a real estate company in Stockholm, has found a way to channel the body heat from the hoards of commuters passing through Stockholm’s Central Station to warm another building that is just across the road.
“This is old technology being used in a new way. The only difference here is that we’ve shifted energy between two different buildings,” says Klas Johnasson, who is one of the creators of the system and head of Jernhusen’s environmental division…
Heat exchangers in the Central Station’s ventilation system convert the excess body heat into hot water. That is then pumped to the heating system in the nearby building to keep it warm.
Not only is the system environmentally friendly but it also lowers the energy costs of the office block by as much as 25%.
“This is generally good business,” says Mr Johansson. “We save money in energy costs and so the building becomes worth more.
“We are quite surprised that people haven’t done this before. For a large scale project like Kungbrohuset (the office block) this means a lot of money…”
“It means a low-grade waste heat source, like body heat, can be used advantageously. It’s worth them spending a little bit of money on electricity to move heat from building to building, rather than spending a lot on heating with gas.”
A key question in the origin of biological molecules like RNA and DNA is how they first came together billions of years ago from simple precursors. Now, in a study appearing in this week’s JBC, researchers in Italy have reconstructed one of the earliest evolutionary steps yet: generating long chains of RNA from individual subunits using nothing but warm water.
Many researchers believe that RNA was one of the first biological molecules present, before DNA and proteins; however, there has been little success in recreating the formation on RNA from simple “prebiotic” molecules that likely were present on primordial earth billions of years ago.
Now, Ernesto Di Mauro and colleagues found that ancient molecules called cyclic nucleotides can merge together in water and form polymers over 100 nucleotides long in water ranging from 40-90 °C –similar to water temperatures on ancient Earth…
This finding is exciting as cyclic nucleotides themselves can be easily formed from simple chemicals like formamide, thus making them plausible prebiotic compounds present during primordial times. Thus, this study may be revealing how the first bits of genetic information were created.
Surprising a few generations of True Believers, as well, who presumed scientists would find nano-angels pushing these bits of molecules together to form RNA chains.