Molten Salt to Keep it Cool

Nowadays almost all big buildings use large, high energy consuming airconditioning units to keep their buildings at a reasonable temperature throughout the year. Especially in the summer these cost an enormous amount of energy.

This problem has lead to some very fine solutions lately to keep the temperature in buildings down, of which the melting and solidifying of salts is one of the coolest.

The two types of salts used in this test have melting points between 20-25 degrees Celsius, which means that whenever the temperature is below they will solidify, thereby sending out heat and when it’s above they will take up heat to be able to melt the salt.

The main problem right now is that it’s very hard to give a small spread to the salts. Currently the spread of about 3 degrees Kelvin is normal, but the hope is to bring it down to maximum one degree spread.

The good point already is that these salts are able to almost take away the entire cooling need for part of an ABN AMRO office, as the research by TNO has shown. All we can hope for now is that many more buildings will follow.

How to Sound Fancy as Photographer

One thing photographers are very good at is making it sound like they’re doing something amazing.

We’re not just shooting landscapes, no we”re shooting Fine-art. And we’re not just taking some holiday shots, no, we’re doing Travel Photography.

If you want to be able to sound just as awesome as photographer, take a look at this website, where one photographer has written down very well (and funny) what photographers actually mean when they say what they do.

Something I Was Told and I Am Secretly Very Proud Of

Yesterday I had a meeting about an innovation project, and it’s not so much that I’m proud of that, but the person I had the meeting with characterized me only from my resumé as the following:

” Nerdy combined with Creativity”

And secretly I am very proud of being called that, because that is exactly what I usually do: I combine the more hard core technical (or nerdy, as you like), with more soft of which creativity is the most important.

And I’m proud that I’ve been able to bring that across in a simple way, and I hope that more people will see that. (And else I’ll just tell them.)

Electricity Safety Issues (but in a good way)

One of the many things that Grontmij does is measuring a lot of things at the electricity grid within a building. Not only the amount of electricity used and voltage of the system can be measured, but also the more hardcore stuff like harmonics .

The issue with measuring things, however, is that these measuring instruments need to be connected to live wires to be able to measure. And finding a live wire to which you can connect your equipment is quite a challenge, as we found out yesterday.

To see how one of these measurement works we went on a quest to find a place where we could connect this apparatus to the grid. We visited three different places where we thought could do this, but all were protected in such a manner that it was impossible to connect to the system without shutting it down.

Is this a good or a bad thing then? I, and with me my colleagues, think that this is the best. Live wires are dangerous, and so one shouldn’t just be able to touch them by accident when you’re near them.

Only trained people with the right skills should be able to handle this, but still it is the best option to just take off the electricity while working on it. This might be more hassle then years back, but still the costs of an injury or even a fatality are never worth the risk for doing this.

So please, don’t try to do anything with live electricity unless you know extremely well what you’re doing.

Do you have any other nice examples of safety innovations requiring a change of workflow? Share them below!

First Test With the D750

This weekend I picked up my new camera at Kamera Express (great service by the way), and I must say after testing it for some time in a forest that I am extremely pleased with what I’ve been able to get out of it.

The Nikon D750 together with the 24-120mm F4 is a really a very good combination, giving you both quite a wide range, while still preserving much of the Depth of Field (which is awesome anyway with a full frame).

And I’m also extremely pleased with the 85mm 1.8 I picked up at a small price, which gives awesome bokeh.

I haven’t tested it very thoroughly so no real in-depth review for now. However, I do have some examples from this weekend. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do and did taking them.

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Fun For Electrical Engineers

As I was looking up some information about electrical systems I came across this guy’s YouTube channel, and I was triggered by the title of the video.

On his blog you can find an enormous amount of vlogs about electrical stuff, including unboxing videos, but also opening up of electrical machines to see what they’re made of.

Not only a fun, but also an entertaining way to spend some time.

The Future of Photography (According to the Trade Show)

Last weekend the annual Dutch photography trade show Professional Imaging was held, and I must watch out to not fall in the same mood as last year.

However, just like last year very little news was found at the trade show. Still an enormous amount of print companies printing wedding books and still many companies presenting cheap Chinese gadgets (and not the good ones).

So the future of photography according to this trade show lies in wedding books and filming with the help of cheap Chinese gadgets. But for the rest, almost no special attention for video, no real news about really innovative solutions for presenting your work, just the plain old same …. (fill in for yourself).

It’s still a shame that the trade show is like that, but luckily there were still enough enthousiasts with too big cameras walking around the floor with their enormous tele lenses to show off how awesome they are (and if you were they walking around like that, you are awesome!) to make my day.

Still, I wonder what this will look like in ten years, if it exists at all, since for the real news you can better check the internet.

Power Failure Back-up?

This morning a high voltage power station failed near to Amsterdam, leading to a large scale black-out for over 1 million people.

Not much new there, sh*t happens, but what really struck me (besides the fact that the railways are still failing five hours after solving the problem) was that Schiphol Airport had to divert all incoming flights for not only themselves but also for the other airports in the Netherlands, including Rotterdam-The Hague Airport.

The main issue is that you can not keep a flight in the air for as long as you want. It will run out of fuel sooner or later.

I seriously wonder why they don’t have a sufficient power back-up system at Air Traffic Control to at least make sure that you can safely land the planes at one of the airports. It shouldn’t be that hard and especially for such a vital part of air transport it is an absolute must to have a sufficient back-up.

Anything is possible: batteries, generators, you name it.

What would you suggest to them? Suggestions are welcome in the comments!

Header image: The information sign in the overly crowded bus I took to get home, stating Bus Full, taken a minute after departure. Yes, there were some sad faces at some busstops when we didn’t take them with us.