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Energy from the atmosphere

Water is essential for the preservation of life. While we tend to think of water in it's drinkable forms, the air above us holds vast reserves of water. Water exists in a variety of forms such as ice  and steam. Whenever there is a transformation in the physical property of water there is energy released which can be available for reuse.


Moerenuma Park Glass Pyramid

Architectural design ARCHITECTE 5
structure Structure: S+RC
floors 4storeys / tower 1storey
Building area 3,864㎡
Total floor space 5,322㎡

Gallery, Restaurant ,
Administration office

Snow store Area 693㎡ height 6m


Stored Snow-Based Thermal Storage

Snow fallen in winter can be kept until summer and may well provide an efficient energy source for cooling. There are many precedents for this type of utilisation. Systematically it is not complicated. "Yukimuro" (snow cellar) as they may be referred to are used to stockpile snow through the winter until the summer without melting. The concept is simple to visualize given the quantity of snow that falls each year.

Snow Cooling System Outline

1. Snow storage
The amount of snow stored was assumed sufficient for the cooling load for 2 summer months. (planned storage capacity: 3,180m3) The snow store has been built on a sloping area on the north side of the building, mostly underground and covered by a lawn,an arrangement favorable to the landscape as well as providing insulation.

2. Indirect use of melt water & water thermal storage tank
Melt water accumulates in a cistern installed in a pit below the snow store and cold energy is extracted indirectly by means of a plate type heat exchanger (Total capacity 386kw) supplying cold air to secondary air-conditioners. To secure a stable cold water supply temperature, as well as avoiding wastage of melt water, a water thermal storage tank has been installed. When the temperature of the melt water tank is lower than the temperature set point, using only the melt water cold thermal storage, primary melt water condensate is returned to the higher temperature side of the melt water tank and not to the snow store. When the temperature of the fusion water tank rises and exceeds a predetermined point, a 2-way valve switches over, and the snow store thermal storage is sprayed with condensate return which is cooled on direct contact with the snow.

3. Melt water aqueous layer
To ensure that the sprayed condensate return comes into contact with the snow, a dam has been installed and the entire floor surface of the snow store retains melt water and the lower 250mm section of the snow is always submerged. This arrangement prevents the influx of foreign bodies such as gravel, and also works to maintain the stability and uniformity of snow melt water, in turn improving the overall performance of the system. This can be regarded as a landmark design as this method had not previously been used, and it was named the "melt water aqueous layer method".

4. Results
In 2004, 1,735t of snow was stockpiled. The total amount of cold energy provided by the snow was 478GJ, effectively utilizing 76% of the stored snow. It was confirmed that the remaining volume of snow was around 5% while maintaining an average melt water supply temperature of around 8C, a stable performance equivalent to a gas-fired cooling and heating machine. The total quantity of heat from snow was 478GJ and is equivalent to a refrigeration machine of 368kw in operation for 360 hours at full load. It was calculated that CO2 emissions were lower when compared to a refrigeration unit.