Clean Air Group Inc. has announced its acquisition of Bioclimatic Air Systems of Delran, New Jersey. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Clean Air Group, based in Fairfield, owns the AtmosAir Solutions bi-polar ionization technology which is installed in HVAC systems and emits ions into the air in occupied spaces. The AtmosAir Solutions technology is used in commercial properties, schools and airports around the world.
Clean Air Group Announced Acquisition Of Bioclimatic Air Systems
14 Apr 2021
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Excessive heat is a byproduct of data center servers and one that presents both economic and environmental challenges. Data centers are one of the world's fastest-growing contributors of CO2 emissions, for example, currently generating well over 100 million tonnes of CO2 globally per annum. This roughly equates to half of the global aviation emissions, 30 million cars or 36 coal-fired power plants. Currently, data centers waste over 200TWhrs of energy annually, on a global scale. Sustainable electronic cooling solutions Nexalus is an Irish company that provides innovative and sustainable electronic cooling solutions for data centers. Combining applied thermodynamics with thermal-fluid science and engineering, Nexalus’s hot-water cooling systems integrate with electronics that produce excessive heat, to cool, capture and reuse this thermal energy, while also increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Founded in Cork, Ireland, with international strategic development and manufacturing partners, Nexalus provides sustainable electronic cooling solutions, with patented technology that prioritizes not only performance and profit but also the planet, according to the company. Using sealed server technology Nexalus simultaneously solves data center heat and energy problems by integrating liquid cooling directly into its “sealed server” technology. When one seals the server and then deals with the heat and energy management problems right at the source (i.e., in the individual server), then the larger energy problem becomes modular, scalable, and also becomes more to do with energy transport, which is comparatively straightforward. A key goal at Nexalus is to enable industries to reach and exceed both their economic and environmental targets simultaneously turning heavy electrical energy users into organizations that are generating clean energy. Their domestic market of Ireland alone is Europe’s largest data center market, with 66 active data centers and 29 currently in development. The capital, Dublin, is home to four of the leading five hyperscalers. Heat and energy management The key to that success is the use of our patented jet impingement and sealed server technology" “With our foundations firmly rooted in both science and engineering, we set out to explore the thermal issues affecting the market, namely ‘heat problems’ and ‘energy problems,’ and to utilize the untapped ‘greener’ potential of this ever-growing industry,” says Anthony Robinson, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer at Nexalus. “Our ability to recover, and also to convert this otherwise wasted heat into a clean energy asset, creates the perfect circular economy,” says Robinson. “Key to that success is the use of our patented jet impingement and sealed server technology.” He explains: “Traditional cooling companies use air; however, this medium has reached its limitations. To close the circular economy, the currently wasted thermal energy from data centers needs to be redeployed. This cannot be achieved using air due to the poor thermal physical properties of this fluid.” To close the circular economy, the currently wasted thermal energy from data centers needs to be redeployed Recovering heat into a liquid stream Water has superior thermal properties enabling up to twice the thermal design power of a CPU and the transport of x4, 000 the thermal energy per unit volume as compared with air. In Nexalus’s Combined Heat & Compute (CHC) data center server technology, each server is thermally isolated from its surroundings, and heat is recovered from the high-powered processors via jet impingement Enflux/Vortex (CPU/GPU) water-cooled direct contact heat exchangers. All of the lower-powered supporting electronic components (RAM, VRM, power supplies, storage, etc.) are air-cooled with a heat exchanger, the NXQ, which itself is a heat recovery device. All of the heat generated within the sealed server is recovered into a liquid stream, which is easily transported for use elsewhere. Facilitates economies of scale The solution works for a single rack in a hotel or a mobile cryptocurrency container or a hyperscale data center “The importance of modularity cannot be stressed enough,” says Robinson. In the data center environment, being pluggable and hot-swappable allows not only for ease of installation and maintenance but facilitates economies of scale. The solution works for a single rack in a hotel or a mobile cryptocurrency container or a hyperscale data center. This itself then creates an equally scalable and broad energy market, where the heat, being at temperatures ideal for comfort, space, and process heating, can be deployed into residential, industrial, and food production sectors, and this mitigates the use of fossil fuels and accompanied generation of greenhouse gas emissions. Solving heat-energy problems “The problems we are trying to solve bridge between what can be considered on one side ‘Heat’ problems, and the other side ‘Energy’ problems,” says Robinson. Heat problems are endemic for two reasons. Firstly, because chip manufacturers are packing more functionality and power into increasingly smaller devices; this concentrates the heat to such an extent that old-school cooling techniques just don’t work. And secondly, because electronic packages, such as servers and home desktops, are continuously becoming more compact, more highly integrated, and themselves more powerful; old-school cooling technology just doesn’t fit anymore. A bridge between heat and energy Energy problems rear their head when you have hundreds, to tens of thousands of electronic components operating in one place. Integrating power-hungry computing into electric vehicles, for example, is an energy problem. Data centers that work at the scale of MegaWatts are an energy problem. Now, when trying to come to grips with the size of this energy problem, imagine hundreds, to tens of thousands of individual heat problems adding up, says Robinson. Nexalus is innovating in a space where heat and energy problems are not considered separate. “As scientists, we are quite comfortable working on the tough thermal-fluid science problems, right down to the microscale of the chips,” says Robinson. “As engineers, we are equally comfortable working on the tough data center energy problems. Having the capacity to develop technologies that exist at both ends, as well as bridging between them, is where Nexalus innovation happens.” Thermal science The solution merges thermal science with a closed-loop hot-water cooling system Some people hear liquid cooling and immediately think of immersion. Nexalus is not immersion cooling – they have removed the need to submerge a server in liquid. Their elegant solution is born from an understanding of thermal science with a closed-loop hot-water cooling system, using patented jet impingement and sealed server technology. Heat and energy recovery While some air and immersion cooling companies are beginning to explore heat recovery and reuse, another big misconception is the success to date in this space - creating a hot water asset ready for immediate use. Currently, Nexalus says they are the only company to provide 80% heat recovery to data centers and ability to lift the thermal energy at a water temperature suitable for reuse – between 40°C to 60°C – which means that the historically wasted CPU thermal output can be redeployed for immediate use to residential, industrial and food production sectors. While other cooling companies are starting to explore energy recovery, Nexalus is first to market with heat recovery and reuse solution that is practical, adaptable to various environments, and can be implemented easily at scale, without the requirement for complicated additional infrastructure or additional electricity to raise water temperatures for reuse, according to the company. Benefits on ROI There are several elements of an improved return on investment (ROI): Less capital expenditure: Nexalus solutions are less expensive than traditional solutions, and the server lifecycle is longer. Reduced operational costs: The solution uses about 30% less electricity than traditional data centers, and operational maintenance costs drop. Brand new revenue stream: A new income stream from the backend is the sale of hot water. In addition to Data Centers, Nexalus also operates in High Performing Computing (HPC), Bitcoin, Gaming, and Automotive.
Over the past few years, hydrogen has been dubbed the savior of residential heating and a major part of the plan to achieve carbon neutrality, yet new research suggests hydrogen should be reserved for the likes of aircraft and industry. As part of the 2016 Paris Climate Change Accord, the economies agreed to keep global warming under 2°C. A key part of achieving that has been an agreement to become net zero on greenhouses gases by the year 2050. Renewable heating method With heating currently accounting for one-third of UK carbon emissions, it is no surprise that it’s been a key focus as the government looks for new ways to reduce the country's overall carbon emissions. A ban on natural gas boilers and all new build properties was announced back in 2019 by Chancellor Philip Hammond and since then proposed gas boiler replacements have been the subject of intense research and debate. Hydrogen boilers have been a major contender in the race for a renewable heating method Hydrogen boilers have been a major contender in the race for a renewable heating method, along with heat pumps and solar, yet hydrogen has remained the strongest due to its ability to be used in conjunction with the current gas network. However, new findings have delivered a big blow to the proposed plans for heating millions of UK homes with hydrogen boilers. Existing gas network Currently, there are various projects underway to test the feasibility of rolling out hydrogen via the existing gas network, funded by both energy companies and the government. This includes the so-called ‘hydrogen village’ in Fife, Scotland, set to become the first location in the UK where hydrogen appliances will be trialed in over 300 homes and fed with hydrogen gas directly from the grid. Yet the new research, conducted by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany had harsh words for such plans, noting that hydrogen fuel remains inefficient and expensive to produce. Hydrogen is one of the most common elements on Earth, yet the major issue is that it’s typically bound to another element and so needs to be separated. The production of hydrogen from water molecules, referred to as ‘green hydrogen’ is both expensive and demands a significant amount of electricity. Achieving carbon neutrality Major industries such as freight and metal production are more likely to rely on hydrogen power The research suggests that it may be more cost-effective and greener to rely on electricity directly to power both home heating and vehicles. The major reason for this is simply due to the fact that currently hydrogen production requires more electricity than is required to power either an electric car or an air source heat pump. Major industries such as freight and metal production are more likely to rely on hydrogen power to achieve carbon neutrality. Yet the stark reality is that a reliable supply of green hydrogen power is unlikely to be available for many years. Relying on it to power residential heating and vehicles is simply not attainable at the current speed of development. High carbon heating The major risk of this is that it simply results in countries being reliant on high carbon heating for even longer. For instance, if consumers are advised that having a gas boiler installed is fine because the fuel supply will eventually transition to hydrogen, yet it ends up being too expensive or difficult to supply these homes could eventually be emitting carbon for many more years ahead. Hydrogen is still seen as the ideal solution due to it being able to be used in conjunction with the current gas network. It’s also seen as the most affordable, for instance Energy Guide, has estimated that it would cost an average of £26,000 to switch each UK home to a low-carbon heating system such as heat pumps. Generating adequate hydrogen Many environmental campaigners are now calling for gas boilers to be removed But this new research is making it clear that ‘green hydrogen’ may not be here for some time and as a result, the plan for hydrogen boilers being the solution is untenable. As a result of these observations, many environmental campaigners are now calling for gas boilers to be removed and replaced with low carbon alternatives, including heat pumps. Generating adequate hydrogen to supply major industries such as freight and metal production will be a significant challenge on its own and expecting there to be enough to supply homes too is a huge feat that many are doubtful of. There are three major types of hydrogen production, including: Grey hydrogen - This is the dirtiest type of hydrogen production made through the natural gas being burned with steam, which also produces large amounts of carbon. Blue hydrogen - The hydrogen is still produced via the burning of natural gas but is greener as the carbon is captured and stored underground. Green hydrogen - This is the most environmentally friendly method of hydrogen production. It uses electricity to cause a reaction known as electrolysis, resulting in water molecules being split into their hydrogen and oxygen counterparts. Yet this process is much more expensive than the other methods and requires significant amounts of electricity to achieve. Decarbonize residential heating It’s clear that the government is taking whatever steps necessary to achieve carbon neutral status by 2050 and that home heating needs to be reformed but there are a number of barriers to get there and in the case of hydrogen the production process is the major area of contention. Many point to heat pumps as a suitable alternative, but is it really viable to expect most homes to pay for a brand new heating system with significant upfront costs? While strides have been made in the development of hydrogen-ready appliances and boilers, hydrogen production has not and it’s a considerable problem if it’s going to be relied upon to decarbonize residential heating.
As shared spaces reopen, organizations are making some important decisions about their corporate real estate. Unlike other premises, such as shops and schools, offices can manage their returns slowly and carefully. Staff that can work from home may not return to the office full-time for months, or at all. This places office managers in a unique position. While they are able to learn from the actions and advice of other organizations, they must also recognise that a poorly managed re-opening will likely lead to employees remaining at home or feeling isolated when at the office. As a result, employers will miss out on any benefit of having a central workplace. Creating safe and inspiring places A number of surveys carried out over the past 12 months have found that the majority of workers would prefer to continue working from home several days each week. Rather than taking for granted that a central office is an expensive necessity, employers have taken time to consider exactly what the workplace offers. The focus of the workplace after the pandemic will be to offer what remote working cannot: quiet, focus spaces with ergonomic setups, and spaces from collaborative teamwork. The latter, particularly, has been lost during the pandemic and is a major reason that employers want to encourage staff to return. However, poorly designed space will not make this work any more possible than video calls have. Using the right precautions The precautions against Covid that many of us have become used to when grocery shopping, are designed to keep individuals at a distance and minimize interaction. Social distancing, face masks, and plastic screens all serve a purpose, but they are not realistic long-term solutions in the workplace. Certainly, social distancing and mask-wearing will have a part to play in the return to the office but building managers should be finding ways to keep their sites safe indefinitely, particularly as this may not be the last pandemic to hit. Improving building systems Those in the workplace sector are looking for ways to heighten safety precautions while also promoting other important factors such as wellbeing and comfort, efficiency, and the environment. Disposable face masks promote safety but come at a cost of comfort, cost, and sustainability. However, we are increasingly seeing developments that do not come at such a compromize. Improving building systems are playing a central role in this process. Scientific advisors are recommending that schools improve ventilation in classrooms. Work in this area is highly relevant to those in the workplace. HVAC systems in schools Schools are busy places that rely upon collaborative work and interaction. Over the course of a day, students will come into contact with many others and may interact with shared touchpoints such as light switches, desks, and door handles. Office work holds a lot in common with schools but has more control over the way space is used and what capacity is safe to work at. Social distancing, face masks, and plastic screens all serve a purpose, but they are not realistic long-term solutions in the workplace. An advantage that many workplaces have over public schools is the resources to invest in more sophisticated technology such as sensor-responsive HVAC systems. The Internet of Things (IoT) model for connected technological systems was increasing in popularity before the pandemic. Its growth will undoubtedly accelerate. Many organizations have already invested in occupancy sensors and digital thermometers to aid safety precautions. Connecting this tech to wider systems via the IoT can streamline workplace efficiency. Ventilation systems that are responsive to site occupancy can be used to improve workplace comfort and safety as efficiently as possible. While such systems may come at an initial cost, they can provide significant savings in the long term. They also offer opportunities to create greener workplaces. New investment in carbon-capture technology can remove 10m/t of CO2 from the UK environment every year up to 2030. Based on data produced by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, every 1,000 sq ft of office space used is the equivalent to a carbon footprint of 91t C02 a year. Therefore, if workplace sensor technology was applied across all workplaces in the UK, more than 2.4m tonnes of C02 could be saved annually by making office use more efficient. While offices are still fully or partially closed, organizations should take the opportunity to review their systems and invest in options that can improve the workplace experience. The pandemic has been an opportunity for employers and staff alike to reprioritize. Workplaces are no longer taken for granted as a ‘necessary evil’. Rather, both their strengths and weaknesses have been clearly highlighted. The work that building owners and managers put into creating safe and inspiring workplaces will reflect their investment in their workforce.