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Techniques: Heating, Ventilation, Airconditioner


The heat capacity of a material is the energy it needs to heat up.

  • For iron this is about 448 Joule / (Kg.Kelvin)

  • For concrete this is about 840 Joule (Kg.Kelvin)

  • For water this is about 4186 Joule / (Kg.Kelvin); best coolant ever !

The part of the ship that is under water adjust its temperature to the stable temperature of hte water. Cool in the summer; reasonable in the winter. Compare it to a cellar with no heating. Water is the best coolant ever and transports heat to and from very good ! Make sure there is enough isolation below the water line or you are trying to heat the whole canal / river in the winter. In the summer, it will never get much hotter than 20°C (in Belgium).

The part of the ship that is above the water will vary very easily depending on the weather. Freezing cold on a cold day; extremely hot on a sunny day. Compare it to a car with no engine running.

So in both cases, you like to have sufficient isolation to avoid loss of heat in the winter, too much heat in the summer and condensation on the cold metal.

Wood/pellet stove

Comfort you can expect from a wood/pellet stove;

  • Bring in fire woods every day; bring out the ashes.

  • be always at home in the winter so your boat does not freezes and no water damages happen.


this works in the cities where you have gas from the shore; whenever you want to move, don’t count on it you will find gas elsewhere. Working with small gastanks will not work, the gas consumption is too much. It would be possible to have a serious gastank, but then the problem is how to fill it up. Not sure how the safety/certification will like this


use the diesel tanks from the engine and put a conventional dieseloil High efficiency burner.

Heat pump

New technology, looks promising as water-water could be used. Creative minds might think of using the main engine cooling circuit. Air-water and Air-Air are also possible but less performant.


I'm not familiar with it, but seems like a very good technology for on a ship where electricity is not always available.

According to Wikipedia:

Cogeneration or combined heat and power (CHP) is the use of a heat engine or power station to genreate electricity and useful heat at the same time. Trigeneration or combined cooling, heat and power refers to the simulaneous generation of electricity and useful heating and cooling from the combustion of a fuel or a solar heat collector. The terms cogeneration and trigeneration can be also applied to the power systems generating simultaneously electricity, heat, and industrial chemicals – e.g., syngas or pure hydrogen (article: combined cycles, chapter: natural gas integrated power & syngas (hydrogen) generation cycle). Cogeneration is more thermally efficient use of fuel than producing process heat alone because in electricity production some energy must be rejected as waste heat, but in cogeneration some of this thermal energy is put to good use.


A badly isolated house has a natural ventilation; air flows in and out from all sides. Almost impossible to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

As houses (and houseboats) get more and more isolated, a forced ventilation is necessary. A number of types are on the market.

System A:

This is in fact not forced, but natural ventilation through strategical openings. These openings can be manual or automatic be opened or closed. Wet rooms might have a vertical channel that exits above the roof, like a chimney.

System B:

The air is mechanically forced inwards the house by fans. The air naturally leaves the house like for a system A. This system is hardly used in houses.

System C:

Opposite of system B. The air is mechanically forced outwards the house by fans, typically in the wet rooms. The air naturally flows in hte house like for a system A. The activation of the fans might be automised by detection of humidity, temperature, motion and Co2.

System D:

The air is mechanically forced inwards and outwards the house. This means that there needs to be two channels. Typically the air is sucked out of the wet rooms throught the exit channel and blown in the dry rooms through the fresh air channel. This kind of ventilation is also called balans-ventilation. No need to say that this works the best in perfect isolated houses.

Additionally, it is possible to have a system D ventilation with heat recuperation. In the winter, the heat from the hot inside air is transferred to the cold ouside air in order not to loose thermal energy. For the summer, when the inside temperature gets too high, there is typically a bypass function. This bypass function becomes active when outside temperature is lower than inside temperature. Cold air is pulled into the house until the room temperature is normal again.


When the house is under the water line, you can survive without airconditioner.

Above the waterline, temperatures can go higher than 60°C; compare it like a car in the blistering sun.with no airconditioner running.

Monobloc airconditioners are one piece containing all the elements of an airco. Split systems have a unit outside (compressor and condensor) and a unit inside the house (fan).


A window cooler can be fit in the place of a window; sometimes above a door. As it is a monoblock system, it is quite easy to install en quite efficient. Disadvantage is the noise and it does not always look very nice.

Mobile monoblock systems

air for ondensation and cool medium is sucked out of the room and evacuated as hot air to the outside via a tube. Can be put in service by everybody. Disadvantage is the noise and the little cooling capacity (one room).

Mobile split system>

easy to install, having less noise and more cooling capacity.

Fixed split systems

Most expensive but having best ratio price/cooling capacity. The inside unit can be up to 25m away from the outside unit. Needs only small openings in the wall for the coolant tubes. To be installed by a professional.

Multi split systems

more inner units are connected to one outer unit.

Central aircondition systems

Typical for very big buildings. A central cooling battery will cool down the air for all rooms. Mostly not possible to choose the temperature per room.

Solar for airconditioning

Solar air conditioning refers to any air conditioning system that uses solar power. This can be done through passive solar, solar thermal energy conversion and photovoltaic conversion (sunlight to electricity). More information on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_air_conditioning .

Water cooling

instead of using air as cooling medium; it is also possible to use water as medium.

Eiter water-water systems (circulate cool air through the floor heating or radiators) or water-air. These tehnology can be part of a heat pump system.

Our choice:

We have a dieseloil burner in the machine room that works on three groups,

  • low temperature floor heating in the main house (in the former cargo)

  • high temperature radiator heating in the former shippershouse

  • high temperature tank-in-tank hot water

All three groups are controlled by one central control unit at the burner in the machine room. A secundary unit with less functions but also a thermostate is present in the living room of the main house in the cargo. A tertiary thermostate unit is present in the shippershouse and can do the local control.

We have a System D ventilation with heat recuperation with individual plastic canals per room. There is a collector for incoming air (blow in the dry rooms) and a collector for outgoing air (suck out from wet rooms).

We do not (yet) have and aircontionersysem. Temperature inside can raise to approximately the same temperature outside. We manage it now with a fan in the room in the summer; We would like it better with an real airco sysem.

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