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Say good bye to gas

unclejohn
unclejohn Member Posts: 1,778
I know that Heating Help has a no “Politics” rule but sometimes when “Politics” inserts its self into the Heating Industry a discussion needs to take place. Thank goodness Erin is here to throw water on any fires that may erupt. When California decides it will lead the way on the latest green fad many states want to jump quickly onto that bandwagon. Banding gas heating furnaces will soon extend to gas heating boilers and then all gas heating appliances. Even while they implement these bands on gas they [environmentalist] are drafting bans on air conditioning. Are we simply to sit by and watch our industry be regulated out of existence? I would like too know what others think, If you can express your thoughts without name calling or sarcasm.
Crissie
«134567

Comments

  • Sal Santamaura
    Sal Santamaura Member Posts: 429
    edited September 27
    unclejohn said:

    ...Banding gas heating furnaces will soon extend to gas heating boilers and then all gas heating appliances...

    California's 2030 ban already covers all natural gas-fired space and water heating appliances.
    unclejohn said:

    ...Even while they implement these bands on gas they [environmentalist] are drafting bans on air conditioning...

    I've heard nothing about any such ban(s). Electrically powered systems are what the environmental movement is driving toward. It might seek different refrigerants, but not elimination of what meshes perfectly with its preferred heat pump ecosystem.
    Two days ago I tried motivating Wallies to get ahead of this. No one bit:
    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/189226/ev-mechanics#latest
    Hot_water_fanJohnGellatly
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,632
    Some of this will regulate itself when they realize the electric grid cannot possibly support what they expect it to support
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 890
    The market might end up driving this transition anyway - I don't like paying $2/therm and I do like having AC.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,799
    edited September 27
    The world is resourced based, sorry but true. Without resources, nothing gets done. Energy is a resource. There are physical limits to resources. It's called reality. Blustering dictates by those detached from reality wishing to make real what isn't leads to failure, always has. I'm reminded of King Canute commanding the tides to recede.

    Changes in energy sys is always based upon the "economy of time". Horses were an improvement, in time, over walking, getting from one place to another. Motor cars were an improvement over the horse and buggy. Pex over hard piping, ProPress over soldering. Nat gas was an improvement over coal stoves as was the stoker over coal stoves. These changes didn't need to be sold to the people, the savings in terms of time was readily apparent.

    But these changes in energy sys are always based upon sub sys that lead to the eventual development of major changes in what and how energy is used. These sub sys must be in place, first.

    The "blustering dictates" to move to green energy ignore the fact that these sub sys don't exist. Building these sub sys takes a lot of time. The public isn't going to be very happy with an attempt to change from one sys to another, over nite, because of the distortions that will occur.

    Nat gas will, I predict, be here for a long, long time. For a laff, "The future ain't what it use to be."--Yogi Berra



  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 559
    GGross said:

    They are changing the fuel type, not regulating the industry out of existence. It is pretty hard to have any real honest conversations about this stuff when this type of hyperbolic statement is the catalyst.

    from the New York Times article:
    "Ms. Nelson converted her building with the help of Donnel Baird, an entrepreneur who grew up nearby and founded a company called Bloc Power. His contractors installed the equipment. Ms. Nelson rents it on a long-term lease."
    GGross, if you are a contractor who gets half your business from small to medium apartments in NYC, what happens to your business when Bloc Power comes along and takes half of your business? Bloc Power is politically connected. They have lobbyists. They offer no money down conversions. How do you compete with that? Your license to buy Freon is not enough.
    You guys should take some time and read up on Donnel Baird, Bloc Power and the Unreasonable Group. They want to kick your **** and take your lunch money. Some of you won't even see it coming.
    https://unreasonablegroup.com/ventures/blocpower
    Disruptive change is coming to your industry.
    STEVEusaPA
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,541
    edited September 27

    The market might end up driving this transition anyway - I don't like paying $2/therm and I do like having AC.

    Perhaps I'm remembering wrong but....

    From what I recall natural gas production dropped a few years ago because there was a huge surplus so they stopped drilling new wells. The price dropped big time so it wasn't worth investing in more wells or pipelines.

    Now with prices up again I'm betting they're back to drilling or will be soon. This will give more supply and the price will come down.

    This is similar to the electrical grid being improved if the demand is there and not being improved if the demand isn't.

    Changing fuels and investing in new equipment because the price shot up for a few months or even a few years is similar to changing lanes on an interstate because 1 lane moved faster for 3 seconds. And then you get to sit there and watch the lane you used to be move while you're stopped. Yes, yes, I'm aware sometimes the accident is in your lane, but that's obviously not the situation I'm using.


    If the price of NG doesn't come down by the time you need new equipment then consider switching but even then, who knows.

    Before someone says "The government isn't allowing new wells" I would guess that's in some states but not most. For example as far as I know PA is still drilling.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Hot_water_fan
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 890
    edited September 27
    @ChrisJ I agree- investment follows demand. As for gas, if it goes down, it's used for electricity too! I feel protected whether it goes up or down using a heat pump.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,324
    @Erin Holohan Haskell

    Time to take a Vacation! o:)
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,212
    edited September 27
    Over 100 years ago, Coal was King. Who rides on coal driven railroads. Coal powered cars or heats their home with coal?

    My great grandfather was one of those people who delivered coal. Today he would be out of a job. If we continued to follow in his footsteps, we would not have grown to become one of the largest independent fuel dealers in the city of Philadelphia. And if I stuck to only servicing oil burners, I would have only had about 1/3 of the customers that I serviced over my lifetime.

    The HVAC industry is no going anywhere. People will always want to be comfortable in their homes, Even the homes in California! (although I can't think of any reason you might want to live there) Oops that was a little sarcastic... Sorry.. If the Railroad owners thought of themselves as transportation companies in stead of railroad companies, We might have never had a BOAC or PanAm or TWA airline. There might have been the Reading Railroad and trucking company, or the Union Pacific Airline. But JP Morgan and other Rail Tycoons had blinders on. That is why the government needed to step in and help in the formation of ConRail and Amtrak. Same could be said about the owners of sailing ships of the previous century and the canal operators, and the steam ship lines.

    Start thinking of your company as providing indoor environmental comfort, not just Gas heaters and central air conditioners.

    My father used to carry 100# sacks of coal, one in each arm, to ALL his customers, in the snow, up hill, in both directions!

    Now my son fixes heaters as "side work" from his day job!

    Won't be long before he realizes he can make more as a self employed HVAC guy! Scratch that... Indoor Environmental Systems Information and Applications Specialist
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org

    DJD775PC7060GGross
  • fentonc
    fentonc Member Posts: 157
    There is a very large effort to reduce the large amount of greenhouse gases we're pumping into the atmosphere - this means eliminating direct-burning of fossil fuels where possible, eliminating leaky gas distribution infrastructure where possible, and switching to low-GWP refrigerants where possible (I don't think anyone is trying to ban A/C, but they definitely want to get rid of refrigerants with GWPs greater than 1000). It also, of course, means reducing energy demand directly through things like insulation, air sealing, etc. None of this happens overnight, and increased electrification makes it easier to amortize the cost of grid upgrades needed to support that electrification. Cold-climate heat pumps fit well into this plan because they can significantly reduce or eliminate direct emissions from end users in the short term, and will have reduced indirect emissions going forward as grid generation decarbonizes (even today, it's usually more efficient in terms of GHG output to burn natural gas in a combined-cycle plant and use it to power a heat pump in someone's home rather than fire a boiler or furnace).

    Now, to find a contractor willing to sell me an A2W heat pump instead of trying to sell me a 4x-oversized cast iron boiler =)
    JakeCKEdTheHeaterManDJDrew
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,799
    edited September 27
    Has anyone looked at the cost of this change of the energy sys and who's going to pay for it. It's going to impact you and your business, in not a nice way.

    Erin, I predict vacations will be a luxury, not for the plebs.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 890
    @HomerJSmith the way I see it working for the vast majority is like this:
    1. Most American used forced air heating.
    2. Most Americans have AC.
    3. Therefore, if you have forced air heating, you will add a heat pump at next AC replacement. Shouldn't cost much at all. More generation will be needed, but it'll be added at a slow pace - basically the replacement time of AC units. The utilities can try to keep the winter peak = summer peak, or they can try to grow the peak. Should lead to lower distribution prices as more kwhs flow across the same wires.

    Has anyone looked at the cost of this change of the energy sys and who's going to pay for it. It's going to impact you and your business, in not a nice way.
    fentonc
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,928
    More or less agreed, but the joker is that word "most". As usual, there is a minority. In heating, it is the folks with older hot water or (shudder) steam. In high speed internet, it is the folks without fibre optic service. In vehicles it is the folks who have to drive any distance with a load. In some cases it is the families who are just barely making the ends meet.

    In all cases, it would be nice to see the majority actually take these people into account...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ZmanreggiSuperTechdabrakeman
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,778
    Very interesting takes by all. As far as efficiency of heating equipment goes I cant see many heatpumps beating a 97% furnace.1/2 of Californias electricty is generated by natural gas so all I see is a switch in end users the same amount of gas will be burned. The hole in the ozone is now larger then it was before the fluro carbon ban. I,m old enough to know outright bans dont happen over night not since prohibition but when government says something is bad the will to remove it is strong. If there is a ban on ammo your gun is use less. If there is a ban on refrigerants, well. We have moved from Puron to save the ozone to now not caring about the ozone its now all about potential, we all have the potential to be billionaires, but.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 890
    Very interesting takes by all. As far as efficiency of heating equipment goes I cant see many heatpumps beating a 97% furnace.


    You'd be surprised! Pretty easy for a combined cycle plant + heat pump to beat out the most efficient furnace, as combined cycle plants are about 50% efficient and even the worst heat pumps have COPs of >2 (understanding that of course COPs change constantly).
    CLamb
  • R Mannino
    R Mannino Member Posts: 438
    And............how do we make electricity?
  • fentonc
    fentonc Member Posts: 157
    Yeah, the numbers are surprisingly compelling. Say you've got a therm of gas - a 97% efficient boiler gives you 97K BTU of heat and puts 5.3 KG of CO2 into the atmosphere. If half of CA's grid is NG, and its plants average 50% efficiency - we burn that therm of gas and get 0.5 x 29.3 = 14.65kwh of electricity (and the same CO2 in the atmosphere), another 14.65kwh of electricity from non-carbon-emitting sources, and now we can either use 100% efficient resistance heating and get 100K BTU of heat back out, or maybe a heat pump with a COP of 3 or 4 (in much of CA that's probably reasonable) and get out 300K-400K BTU of heat. If gas power plants run less frequently in a few years, the numbers get even better without changing out any equipment for the end user.
    PC7060
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 890
    And............how do we make electricity?
    Ha we know this. The next step is rejecting the black and white binary and thinking in shades of gray - reductions count! 
    Canucker
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 17,497

    And............how do we make electricity?
    Ha we know this. The next step is rejecting the black and white binary and thinking in shades of gray - reductions count! 
    Many more ways to generate electricity compared to NG or fossil fuels for heat and cooling.
    Coal, gas, diesel, hydro, wind, solar, cogen, hydrogen, nuclear, waste heat recovery.
    The grid will be the bottleneck to mass electrification. But that too will evolve.

    I doubt gas or other fossil fuels vanish completely in our lifetime. There will be exceptions as there are in CA currently.

    We will all protest at capitols if Jamie cannot keep his place heated :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Hot_water_fanJakeCKTinman
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,045
    Gas-X, relieves gas FAST
    PC7060
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,541
    edited September 28
    fentonc said:

    Yeah, the numbers are surprisingly compelling. Say you've got a therm of gas - a 97% efficient boiler gives you 97K BTU of heat and puts 5.3 KG of CO2 into the atmosphere. If half of CA's grid is NG, and its plants average 50% efficiency - we burn that therm of gas and get 0.5 x 29.3 = 14.65kwh of electricity (and the same CO2 in the atmosphere), another 14.65kwh of electricity from non-carbon-emitting sources, and now we can either use 100% efficient resistance heating and get 100K BTU of heat back out, or maybe a heat pump with a COP of 3 or 4 (in much of CA that's probably reasonable) and get out 300K-400K BTU of heat. If gas power plants run less frequently in a few years, the numbers get even better without changing out any equipment for the end user.


    I'm still not fully awake but your numbers seem odd.
    Where did 50% efficiency come from on a NG plant and where's 50% of the power coming from?

    Why would NG plants run less in future years if most if not all cars and houses are 100% electric?

    I guess the numbers are surprisingly compelling if they're completely made up.

    @Jamie Hall Thoughts?



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • fentonc
    fentonc Member Posts: 157
    @ChrisJ - I was mostly using @unclejohn's numbers, but the real numbers are even better. Combined-cycle NG plants are typically in the 50-60% efficiency range. We have full data for 2021 in California from here: https://www.energy.ca.gov/data-reports/energy-almanac/california-electricity-data/2021-total-system-electric-generation

    In 2021 Natural gas generation provided 37.9% of total GWh used in the state, 3% from coal, and the rest was nuclear/hydro/solar/wind. Solar PV is growing the fastest, going from 223 GWh in 2011, to 13,000 GWh in 2015 to 31,600 GWh in 2021. As renewable generation increases, the duty-cycle of the existing gas plants will likely decrease (why would you curtail zero marginal cost solar or wind and pay for increasingly expensive NG?).
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,541
    @Jamie Hall I was looking more for your input on 50-60% efficiency of natural gas power plants.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • fentonc
    fentonc Member Posts: 157
    From this source: https://www.energy.ca.gov/publications/2020/thermal-efficiency-natural-gas-fired-generation-california-2019-update-staff


    It looks like state-wide NG thermal efficiency averaged ~44.2% in 2018 for CA (including all plants) with combined-cycle plants only averaging 46.6%. There is an interesting discussion in there about how the efficiency of the NG plants is reduced due to cycling overhead from their low capacity factor (many of the individual plants would be at ~60% thermal efficiency if they ran non-stop - power plants hate short-cycling too!). A particularly crazy statistic from that report is that the capacity factor of CA's natural gas fleet in 2018 was pretty much identical to their solar PV plants - both around 25%. That number was almost 45% in 2001.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 559
    @fentonc, did you include electrical transmission line losses in your math? I don't see where you account for that, needs to be in there if you want to make a fair comparison.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 890
    @WMno57 this is a good link too: in short, new combined cycles are efficient and are used more than other less efficient forms of generation, including old combined cycles. Cleaner and cheaper electricity is a good thing! Even if we have 10% line losses, 50% efficiency x (1-.1)line losses x 2.5 COP > the best gas furnace/boiler. 

    https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=47556
  • fentonc
    fentonc Member Posts: 157
    Sure, throw in a couple % for transmission losses on the generation side, and add in the methane with a GWP of ~30 leaked from the residential distribution infrastructure on the other side. Most of these numbers are easy to google for - You just don't need particularly impressive COPs from a heat pump to make the numbers come out favorably today, and they seem to get better from year to year.

    Bringing it back to home heating, it seems like the ability to time-shift with a thermal storage tank could be an interesting advantage for hydronics (vs just trying to overheat/overcool your house with an A2A heat pump to take advantage of time-of-use rates).
    Hot_water_fan
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,928
    ChrisJ said:

    @Jamie Hall I was looking more for your input on 50-60% efficiency of natural gas power plants.

    A cogen plant advertise such efficiencies, but only if the waste heat is used for a beneficial purpose. Otherwise, they are limited -- as any other heat engine is -- by the maximum theoretical efficiency, which is determined by the high temperature and low temperature ends of the cycle in use. For the simplest -- Carnot -- it is equal to 1 minus the low temperaature divided by the high temperature, both in absolute measure. Such an efficiency is not achievable in practice due to other losses -- primarily thermal -- and, of course the high temperature is limited by the materials.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,541

    ChrisJ said:

    @Jamie Hall I was looking more for your input on 50-60% efficiency of natural gas power plants.

    A cogen plant advertise such efficiencies, but only if the waste heat is used for a beneficial purpose. Otherwise, they are limited -- as any other heat engine is -- by the maximum theoretical efficiency, which is determined by the high temperature and low temperature ends of the cycle in use. For the simplest -- Carnot -- it is equal to 1 minus the low temperaature divided by the high temperature, both in absolute measure. Such an efficiency is not achievable in practice due to other losses -- primarily thermal -- and, of course the high temperature is limited by the materials.
    What is the waste heat usually used for?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 890
    Bringing it back to home heating, it seems like the ability to time-shift with a thermal storage tank could be an interesting advantage for hydronics (vs just trying to overheat/overcool your house with an A2A heat pump to take advantage of time-of-use rates).


    I'd love to a see an ice tank melted during winter non-peak hours then refrozen with a water-to-water heat pump - which would more or less double COP during the coldest stretches of the year. COP of 3 when it's -5F? Yes please.
  • fentonc
    fentonc Member Posts: 157
    @ChrisJ - A combined-cycle plant burns the gas to drive a turbine, and then the turbine exhaust is used to generate steam to drive a 2nd-stage generator (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_cycle_power_plant). A co-generation plant just effectively feeds the exhaust (steam or hot water) to a nearby customer - either an industrial customer, or some kind of district heating scheme I would imagine.

    @Hot_water_fan - The salt-based schemes that have popped up on here in the last year are also pretty neat.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 559
    fentonc said:

    Sure, throw in a couple % for transmission losses on the generation side, and add in the methane with a GWP.............

    It's much more than a couple percent. It's more than 10 percent. Ever felt the heat coming off a transformer? I have. There are transformers at both ends of the electrical distribution system. There are also losses along the lines in between the transformers. If the losses weren't significant we would be building all the solar farms in the desert southwest instead of farmland within 10 miles of my home in the corn belt.
    GWP is irrelevant to the calculation of efficiency.
    I'm only interested in my total cost of ownership. I could care less about saving the planet or a minority viewpoint that wants to demonize fossil fuels and oil companies. If you really want heat pumps to catch on you will have to convince people like me that they make financial sense. I'm willing to accept the shorter life of a heat pump if it saves me enough in fuel costs to pay for multiple heat pump installs. My current gas boiler is 75 years old. I could replace it with a cast iron three pass non-atmospheric gas power burner that I estimate would last 50 years. Really hard to compete with that, but I'm willing to consider alternatives if the numbers make sense. Show me the math.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 890

    It's much more than a couple percent. It's more than 10 percent. Ever felt the heat coming off a transformer? I have. There are transformers at both ends of the electrical distribution system. There are also losses along the lines in between the transformers. If the losses weren't significant we would be building all the solar farms in the desert southwest instead of farmland within 10 miles of my home in the corn belt.
    GWP is irrelevant to the calculation of efficiency.
    I'm only interested in my total cost of ownership. I could care less about saving the planet or a minority viewpoint that wants to demonize fossil fuels and oil companies. If you really want heat pumps to catch on you will have to convince people like me that they make financial sense. I'm willing to accept the shorter life of a heat pump if it saves me enough in fuel costs to pay for multiple heat pump installs. My current gas boiler is 75 years old. I could replace it with a cast iron three pass non-atmospheric gas power burner that I estimate would last 50 years. Really hard to compete with that, but I'm willing to consider alternatives if the numbers make sense. Show me the math.


    EIA estimates line losses at 5%, so really, heat pumps are much more efficient than onsite burning, so for the fuel cost, heat pumps win. There are different distribution/delivery costs between gas/oil/coal/whatever and electricity, so every utility will have a different analysis. Few Americans care about total cost of ownership - I don't think it's necessarily good or bad, just is what it is. People move, things happen, having a 50 year boiler is great if you stay in the same house for 50 years.

    Heat pumps have already caught on - there are probably 10x more heat pumps than boilers in the US. If you don't want a heat pump, then don't get one! It's an easy, cheap switch if someone has central AC, which is many Americans.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,541
    @Hot_water_fan What about absorption type setups?

    Anyone make an absorption heat pump? Yet?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment