Story tips from the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, October 2000

ENERGY Super-efficient water heater

With water heating consuming about 17 percent of the energy for a typical household, its a good place to start when cutting costs. ORNLs Building Technology Center is assisting in developing a heat pump water heater as a "drop-in" replacement for a conventional 50- or 80-gallon water heater. It features the same footprint, electrical and plumbing requirements and can provide a two-year payback because of its greater efficiency. The heat pump water heater has an energy factor of 2.47 as compared with 0.95 for the most efficient conventional electric units. The unit can be installed where there is no floor drain, but where one is available, it will provide space cooling and dehumidification as well as hot water. If broadly adopted, use of this water heater could save almost 1 percent of the country's energy consumption. [Contact: John Tomlinson]

NUCLEAR ENERGY Next-generation safe power plants . . .

An ORNL team will receive more than $1.1 million over the next three years to develop technology for reliable and automatic forewarning of failure in critical equipment at next-generation nuclear power plants. Such forewarning would allow timely maintenance to reduce unanticipated shutdown time and improve plant safety. Forewarning algorithms would detect changes in the dynamics of motors, belts, gears, bearings and other vital components. This technology would replace the practice of waiting for failures or predicting failure by less sophisticated means. Researchers in ORNLs Engineering Technology Division are joined in the project by a team from Duke Engineering and Services in Charlotte, N.C. [Contact: Lee Hively]

HEALTH Lifesaver in the battlefield . . .

Many soldiers who die in battle could perhaps be saved if outfitted with a sensor system that could capture and identify noises generated within the chest. While the majority of combat casualties are the result of injuries that cannot be treat

Contact: Ron Walli
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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