Coffee Time Challenge
Flood damage can be devastating and take months to dry out. So what can be done to speed up the process?
Whether you are a believer in climate change or not, the last decade did seem to have more than its fair share of flooding. The UK is notoriously wet and whether flood waters were the result of human impact on the environmental, increasing building on flood plains, or just part of the natural pattern of things, they nevertheless remain extremely unpleasant for those that lose their homes. Insurers estimate they pay out some £1.5billion per year for flood damage and restoration, and they expect that to soon top £2billion.
Of course, those that suffer the misery of flood damage want to return to their properties and homes as soon as possible to begin repairs. However, once soaked through, building can take months to dry out, which they must do thoroughly, before people can move back in and begin restoration.
Removing the bulk of water is usually easily accomplished with pumps and water naturally receding in just a few days. But it is the residual water and damp embedded in walls, brick work and plaster that causes the most problems.
Our challenge this month is therefore to come up with a way of drying rooms and buildings more quickly and efficiently. The solution should not be a way to avoid floods altogether, nor should it involve a pump to remove the bulk of water. The challenge is the best way to remove water and damp soaked in to buildings.
Current methods often involve using heaters, dehumidifiers and fans but this is rather inefficient, expensive and generates a lot of CO2 to continuously run them for months at a time. By shortening drying times houses are less likely to suffer from mould damage, families can get back to their property sooner, and in a flood damaged area more properties can be helped in a shorter period of time.
You could use desiccants to help in the process, or perhaps invent a special vacuum cleaner to suck the water from the floors and walls? Alternatively, if you are environmentally conscious you could try to harness the sun rays with giant mirrors and direct them where necessary; though you might be there a while... especially in the UK.
The device developed is remarkably elegant and simple, is twice as quick as traditional methods and it can easily be deployed. Find out the solution in next month's issue, but in the meantime, see if you can come up with something better.
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Coffee Time Challenge Entries
Pera Technology has recently taken part in an FP7 project to look at this very activity - it's the MicroDry project, http://microdry.pera.com/
Here's a brief summary of what we have found:
MicroDry is an intelligently controlled automatic microwave drying unit, which is able to dry water from within walls, floors and ceilings of a room or structure affected by water damage.
In excess of 50 million European citizens live and work in areas at risk of flooding. MicroDry is the rapid drying portable solution which dries in just 10% of the time taken by conventional methods, enabling communities to return to their homes and businesses sooner.
MicroDry is powered by a mains electrical supply. The moisture sensors determine the residual moisture content and automatically adjust the power output accordingly, in order to maximise efficiency. The penetration of the microwaves elevates the temperature causing the diffusion rates of the moisture to significantly increase.
No human intervention is required when MicroDry is in use, telecommunication components enable communication between the unit and the end user. These comprehensive safety features of MicroDry ensure that microwave hazards are eliminated.
For more information please visit http://microdry.pera.com/
Pera Technology is a member of the MicroDry project.
Floodbond are currently providing a solution to this very problem, using a hydronic drying system that can dry household properties to their core in just 4 days.
Our technology creates a positive pressure, hot air chamber in the property and water is extracted via capillary action. With a four day drying time this significantly reduces disruption to homes and businesses. In addition to this we can often dry fittings and fixtures with the property, reducing the need to strip out and often eliminating it completely.
Our technology has been independently tested as safe to use on all building materials. We monitor RH and temperature in live time throughout the duration of the project. Due to the 4 day drying period, plus reduced strip out and therefore refurbishment our system represents a reduction in C02 emissions of around 80% when compared to traditional dehumidifier drying.
For more information please visit www.floodbond.com