I had an interesting through today whilst having a shower after coming back from the beach. Well, I was thinking about the energy the shower uses to turn water in to hot water for you to have your shower (we have one of these electric showers that heats the water jut before it comes out of the shower). The colder the water, the more energy is needed to heat the water up to the proper temperature. Once the water is hot enough, it comes out of the shower head, but what happens to it? Well, after running down your body is makes its way down the drain, wasting any heat energy it might have.
Now here’s the thought that struck me. If you could transfer some of the heat from the waste water into the water that’s heading into the electric shower, then you would need less energy to heat it up, and therefore save some energy in the process. What I’m talking is some sort of heat exchanger that could even be fitted into the shower base. It doesn’t have to be extremely efficient, but even just running the waste water side-by-side with the incoming water, I’m sure it would have a positive impact on your power consumption. Here’s what I have in mind:
The shower drain would be fed into “Tube-side fluid in” and proceed through the exchanged before coming out from the other end to continue on it’s way down the drain. The fresh supply of water to the electric shower would be fed into the “shell-side in” before actually getting to the shower. Even if the shower didn’t use an electric shower, but used an ordinary mixer, piping the cold water through this system could remove the chill from the water requiring less hot water to bring it to the required temperature.
Anyway, I wondered what I could do with the idea and, while reading the FuelMyBlog newsletter, I got introduced to a company called Perpetuity Direct who are offering loans of up to $25,000 which could be starting capital to actually taking the idea to fruition. If I could borrow the money, I would use it to do some proper engineering as well as market research to find out if the idea is a viable one to take to market.
I don’t think I have the time to take up another project at the moment, but if this idea had to come to market, would you consider changing your shower to be more energy efficient?