Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
a rich source of energy lay untapped till a chartered engineer and energy expert based in the uk found a way to use steam let out through the factory chimneys. This is also good news from the environmental viewpoint as steam let out into the atmosphere not only contributes to global warming but can also contain invisible pollutants. The economic importance of this invention can be gauged by the fact that steam released by factory chimneys costs the industry in the uk billions of dollars.
A range of steam traps have been invented thus far, but none has been successful as they employ moving valves that easily get jammed due to the harsh conditions in which they operate, apart from the fact that steam is extremely corrosive in nature.Enter Tim Gardner, the inventor who is today the managing director of Gardner Energy Management (gem ), a company established two years ago by him, which is based in Bristol. Gardner' invention has no moving parts, requires virtually no maintenance and can be manufactured easily through steel by any modern engineering works. Called the venturi orifice steam trap, the invention pays back the cost of installation within weeks in terms of energy saved alone. "I sort of bumped into the idea, then started doing research on patents," says Garner.
So, what came after the idea? Gardner started working on his idea in the winter of 1996 in a shed in his father's garden in Devon in south-west England. He came up with a steam rig through the installation of a two-tonne boiler fuelled by water from his family's swimming pool. A few months of research later, the result was a steam trap - the size of a human fist - with a venturi orifice somewhat similar to an hour-glass sand clock.
Gardner's arrangement of funds for his research is a story worth taking note off. Some of the funds came from the royalties of a medical invention by his father, who retired as a vascular surgeon. Inventions seem to be a hobby with the Gardner family. All that remained to be done was to convince factory owners of the benefits of replacing their old inefficient systems with the gem plant. "Steam is a very effective method of delivering heat at high temperatures for many industries, particularly food processing, breweries, pharmaceutical and chemical plants, laundries, airports and dockyards," points out Gardner.