Canadian Consulting Engineer

Pass the soap, please

Canadian researchers are investigating the potential of adding surfactants to water heating systems in buildings. S...

December 15, 2004   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Canadian researchers are investigating the potential of adding surfactants to water heating systems in buildings. Surfactants are a kind of hi-tech biodegradable soap that can reduce the surface drag on liquids.
Paul Sears, a scientist with Natural Resources Canada’s CANMET Energy Technology Centre who is doing the studies, suggests that adding surfactants could reduce the electricity needed to pump water through the pipes by 60-80%, reducing costs by a factor of three or four.
Another benefit is that by reducing the drag on water, surfactants could enable the capacity of pipes to be increased.
Dr. Sears is testing the process on an existing individual building with Public Works and Government Services Canada. In the long-term, though, greater benefits of the additive might be in district heating systems, of which there are currently more than a dozen in Canada.


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