Pioneers 119

Canada's first and only solar-heated worm-farm


Art Ma(:kay Deer Island, N.B.
Art Mackay went into •the solar-heating experiment at his marine research station as a non-believer, a solar atheist. He finished the experiment comyletely convinced about the benefits 0 solar heating and would not hesitate to use solar heat on a new house or commercial building. The experiment, using six 2 by 6-foot Solathenn aluminum absorber collectors, a 2S0-gallon water storage and a differential thermostat compared solar power and electricity for the purposes of space and water heating. One of the functions of Marine Research Associates on Deer Island, N. B., is to supply marine organisms around the world. Myxicola Infundibulum, a marine worm, is noted for its giant axon and is in widespread use in neurophysiological work throughout the world. This worm is best cultured in seawater at 50° F, but during the winter, incoming water can be as cold as 34°F. The purpose of the experiment was to compare two identical rooms, each containing a culturing tank. Electricity was used in both rooms to heat the sJ?aces and to preheat the seawater entenng the tanks. But in one of the rooms, these heating tasks were shared by the solar system. The relative electrical consumption of the two rooms \~'as then compared. The results left little doubt. During Feb­ ruary, the room with the solar system used 20 per cent less electricity than the all-electric room. They then discovered that a southeast-facing window in the electric room was supplying passive solar heat which upset the results. During March, when that window was blocked off, the solar system saved 70 per cent of the energy needs! Art had an interesting experience trying to determine the optimum length of the titanium heat exchanger in the culturing tank (titanium was used because it is non-toxic). Three engineers gave three different answers ranging from 2.6 to 30 feet. They finally solved the problem Deer Island Engineers' Style (over a beer), by deciding that 2.6 sounded too short, and 30 was too long, so they settled on 24 feet.


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Three of the six collectors are covered; they were giving too much heat

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