Atmospheric Energy Systems

Heat extracted from (or rejected into) the atmosphere can be used for heating and cooling buildings, a process that can be applied on a very large scale if summer heat is stored for use in the winter. The storage medium can be water (as in Toronto's Enwave system), underground aquifers (as at Carleton University) or rock (as at UOIT). The potential scale of application is not determined by supply (which is enormous) but rather by our consumption of energy in thermal forms, which presently amounts to about 2000 petajoules per year, which is about four times larger than current nuclear power production. Such storage is cost effective now in efficient systems like the Minimalist system described in the reports, and the rise in temperature for Ontario caused by global warming will make it even more attractive.

Sustainability Journal

February 2007 Issue (files are in PDF format)