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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Load Bank

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Ever find yourself involved in something that turns your stomach?

Here’s one of mine - the very short version of a long saga:

Project I worked on is way out in the country (two buildings).
The power company tells us initially that plenty of power available from nearby substation, but midway through construction decides that there is not enough capacity in their lines to support the buildings.

[Insert disparaging remarks about power company here.]

Big hubbub, spare you the details, but basically no power available for the buildings for many months after completion date of building.
Owner's solution after consultation with engineering professionals: install a very large diesel generator - 200kVa.

Generator uses 45 litres per hour of fuel; approximately $7000 a week's worth of fuel.
Generator must run all day and night to support minimal but important electric load: locks, freezers, fire and security system, etc.
Generator only needs to idle to supply the night time power, BUT must be kept running at a minimum of 30% capacity or it will void warranty and eventually fail.

So at night we are supposed to just leave everything on and running in two empty buildings.

But we responsibly designed environmentally-minded systems to monitor and shut down the buildings to prevent waste.

So the solution is to install a "load bank" – a piece of equipment whose sole purpose is to consume electricity.
It just burns fuel to blow useless hot air into the sky, all night long.

And it was my job to make this happen.
I’m so sorry, Planet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn - I'm feeling quite a bit better about the useless Chanel stores that I used to do.

Thanks for the morale booster (not to be confused with a morel booster - as I write to you from a cozy nook in Eugene).


3:30 PM  
Blogger Hunter Williams said...

morel booster - what a great idea.

Forget Red Bull, have a Shroom Shot!

Eugene is one of the best places I can think of to arrange for such a thing.

9:41 AM  

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