Title:
Drain-water recycling
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Systems and methods for recycling drain water, which exists substantially at atmospheric pressure, are presented. The systems and methods employ a venturi restriction, inserted into a water line, for creating a low-pressure zone in the water line, and feeding the drain water to the water line at the location of the low-pressure zone, thus causing the drain water to be drawn into the water line.



Inventors:
Nagler, Ehud (Kiryat Tivon, IL)
Lemelshtrich-latar, Noam (Caesarea, IL)
Application Number:
11/222855
Publication Date:
05/04/2006
Filing Date:
09/12/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H75/34
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
FOX, JOHN C
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARTIN D. MOYNIHAN d/b/a PRTSI, INC. (P.O. BOX 16446, ARLINGTON, VA, 22215, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for recycling drain water, comprising: a water line, substantially at a first pressure; a venturi restriction, mounted on said water line, for creating a zone of a second pressure, substantially below said first pressure; an opening in said water line, substantially at said zone of said second pressure, for allowing water from a drain water source to be drawn into said water line, substantially at said zone of said second pressure; and said drain water source, at a third pressure, substantially below said first pressure, but substantially above said second pressure.

2. The system of claim 1, and further including a one-way valve, between said drain water source and said water line, allowing flow into said water line only.

3. The system of claim 1, and further including a drain-water feed line, for connecting said drain water source with said water line.

4. The system of claim 1, and further including: another water line, substantially at said first pressure; another venturi restriction, mounted on said another water line, for creating another zone of said second pressure, substantially below said first pressure; and another opening in said another water line, substantially at said another zone of said second pressure, for allowing water from said drain water source to be drawn into said another water line, substantially at said another zone of said second pressure.

5. The system of claim 4, and further including another one-way valve, between said drain water source and said another water line, allowing flow into said another water line only.

6. The system of claim 4, and further including another drain-water feed line, for connecting said drain water source with said another water line.

7. The system of claim 4, wherein said water line and said another water line operate in series.

8. The system of claim 4, wherein said water line and said another water line operate in parallel.

9. The system of claim 1, wherein said system includes a water engine, and said water line is an inlet to said water engine.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein said system includes a water engine, and said drain water source is an outlet of said water engine.

11. The system of claim 1, wherein said system includes a water engine, and said drain water source is a water-storage tank, fed by an outlet of said water engine.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein said drain water source is a water-storage tank.

13. The system of claim 1, wherein said system includes a watering hose, and said water line leads to said watering hose.

14. The system of claim 1, wherein said system includes a watering hose, and said water line is said watering hose.

15. The system of claim 1, wherein said system includes a watering hose, designed for automatic rewinding by a water engine.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein said water line is an inlet to said water engine.

17. The system of claim 15, wherein said drain water source is an outlet of said water engine.

18. The system of claim 15, wherein said drain water source is a water-storage tank, fed by an outlet of said water engine.

19. The system of claim 15, wherein said drain water source is a water-storage tank.

20. The system of claim 15, wherein said water line leads to said watering hose.

21. The system of claim 15, wherein said water line is said watering hose.

22. A method for recycling drain water, comprising: providing a system for recycling drain water, said system including a water line, substantially at a first pressure; inserting a venturi restriction to said water line, for creating a zone of a second pressure, substantially below said first pressure, on said water line; providing a drain water source, at a third pressure, substantially below said first pressure, but substantially above said second pressure; and providing communication between said drain water source and said water line, substantially at said zone of said second pressure, to allow said drain water to be drawn into said water line.

23. The method of claim 22, and further including a one-way valve, between said drain water source and said water line, allowing flow into said water line only.

24. The method of claim 22, and further including a drain-water feed line, for connecting said drain water source with said water line.

25. The method of claim 22, and further including: another water line, substantially at said first pressure; another venturi restriction, mounted on said another water line, for creating another zone of said second pressure, substantially below said first pressure; and another opening in said another water line, substantially at said another zone of said second pressure, for allowing water from said drain water source to be drawn into said another water line, substantially at said another zone of said second pressure.

26. The method of claim 25, and further including another one-way valve, between said drain water source and said another water line, allowing flow into said another water line only.

27. The method of claim 25, and further including another drain-water feed line, for connecting said drain water source with said another water line.

28. The method of claim 25, wherein said water line and said another water line operate in series.

29. The method of claim 25, wherein said water line and said another water line operate in parallel.

30. The method of claim 22, wherein said system includes a water engine, and said water line is an inlet to said water engine.

31. The method of claim 22, wherein said system includes a water engine, and said drain water source is an outlet of said water engine.

32. The method of claim 22, wherein said system includes a water engine, and said drain water source is a water-storage tank, fed by an outlet of said water engine.

33. The method of claim 22, wherein said drain water source is a water-storage tank.

34. The method of claim 22, wherein said system includes a watering hose, and said water line leads to said watering hose.

35. The method of claim 22, wherein said system includes a watering hose, and said water line is said watering hose.

36. The method of claim 22, wherein said system includes a watering hose, designed for automatic rewinding by a water engine.

37. The method of claim 36, wherein said water line is an inlet to said water engine.

38. The method of claim 36, wherein said drain water source is an outlet of said water engine.

39. The method of claim 36, wherein said drain water source is a water-storage tank, fed by an outlet of said water engine.

40. The method of claim 36, wherein said drain water source is a water-storage tank.

41. The method of claim 36, wherein said water line leads to said watering hose.

42. The method of claim 36, wherein said water line is said watering hose.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of priority of U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/608,859, filed on Sep. 13, 2004.

FIELD AND BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to systems and methods for recycling drain water, which exists substantially at atmospheric pressure, and in particular, to water systems and water engines with built-in drain-water recycling features.

FIG. 1 schematically illustrates a water engine system 10, having an engine 12, which may be a turbine, a rotary engine, a piston-cylinder type engine, or another engine as known, an inlet 14, and an outlet 16. Water flows in via the inlet 14, powers the engine 12, and is discharged via the outlet 16. By its nature, the water engine system 10 is an open-cycle engine—the water that powers it flows on downstream. Running tap water may be used for powering the water engine system 10.

Hydro-Industries (www.hydro-industries.com) has developed self-winding reels, such as ReelSmart™ water hose reels and ReelSmart™ garden hose reels, powered by water engines, which run on tap water for automatically winding a hose onto a reel.

FIGS. 2A and 2B schematically illustrate a ReelSmart™ reel system 20, of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., as known.

As seen in FIG. 2A, the ReelSmart™ reel system 20 includes the water engine system 10, a hose 30 on a reel 34, and an operating valve 22. The operating valve 22 has a first position 24, which directs a flow of water to the water engine system 10. The engine 10 is connected to the reel 34 by a mechanical link 32, and is adapted for winding the hose 30 onto the reel 34. The water is then discharged from the outlet 16, as drain water 18.

As seen in FIG. 2B, the operating valve 22 has a second position 26 which directs the flow of water via a water line 28, to the hose 30 for watering, as a water discharge 36.

The ReelSmart™ reel system 20 is an open-cycle system—the water used for winding the hose onto the reel goes unused, as the drain water 18.

Systems and methods of reducing the amount of water that goes unused, by recycling drain water, are desired.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to systems and methods for recycling drain water, which exists substantially at atmospheric pressure. The systems and methods employ a venturi restriction, inserted into a water line, for creating a low-pressure zone in the water line, and feeding the drain water to the water line at the location of the low-pressure zone, thus causing the drain water to be drawn into the water line.

There is thus provided a system for recycling drain water, comprising:

a water line, substantially at a first pressure;

a venturi restriction, mounted on the water line, for creating a zone of a second pressure, substantially below the first pressure;

an opening in the water line, substantially at the zone of the second pressure, for allowing water from a drain water source to be drawn into the water line, substantially at the zone of the second pressure; and

the drain water source, at a third pressure, substantially below the first pressure, but substantially above the second pressure.

In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the system further includes a one-way valve, between the drain water source and the water line, allowing flow into the water line only.

In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the system further includes a drain-water feed line, for connecting the drain water source with the water line.

In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the system further includes:

another water line, substantially at the first pressure;

another venturi restriction, mounted on the another water line, for creating another zone of the second pressure, substantially below the first pressure; and

another opening in the another water line, substantially at the another zone of the second pressure, for allowing water from the drain water source to be drawn into the another water line, substantially at the another zone of the second pressure.

In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the system further includes another one-way valve, between the drain water source and the another water line, allowing flow into the another water line only.

In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the system further includes another drain-water feed line, for connecting the drain water source with the another water line.

In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the water line and the another water line operate in series.

In accordance with an alternative aspect of the present invention, the water line and the another water line operate in parallel.

In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the system includes a water engine, and the water line is an inlet to the water engine.

In accordance with an additional aspect of the present invention, the drain water source is an outlet of the water engine.

In accordance with an alternative aspect of the present invention, the drain water source is a water-storage tank, fed by an outlet of the water engine.

In accordance with an alternative aspect of the present invention, the drain water source is a water-storage tank.

In accordance with an additional or an alternative aspect of the present invention, the system includes a watering hose, and the water line leads to the watering hose.

In accordance with an alternative aspect of the present invention, the water line is a watering hose.

In accordance with an alternative aspect of the present invention, the system includes a watering hose, designed for automatic rewinding by a water engine.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, there is thus provided a method for recycling drain water, comprising:

providing a system for recycling drain water, the system including a water line, substantially at a first pressure;

inserting a venturi restriction to the water line, for creating a zone of a second pressure, substantially below the first pressure, on the water line;

providing a drain water source, at a third pressure, substantially below the first pressure, but substantially above the second pressure; and

providing communication between the drain water source and the water line, substantially at the zone of the second pressure, to allow the drain water to be drawn into the water line.

Unless otherwise defined, all technical and scientific terms used herein have the same meaning as commonly understood by one of ordinary skill in the art to which this invention belongs. Although methods and materials similar or equivalent to those described herein can be used in the practice or testing of the present invention, suitable methods and materials are described below. In case of conflict, the patent specification, including definitions, will control. In addition, the materials, methods, and examples are illustrative only and not intended to be limiting.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is herein described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings. With specific reference now to the drawings in detail, it is stressed that the particulars shown are by way of example and for purposes of illustrative discussion of the preferred embodiments of the present invention only, and are presented in the cause of providing what is believed to be the most useful and readily understood description of the principles and conceptual aspects of the invention. In this regard, no attempt is made to show structural details of the invention in more detail than is necessary for a fundamental understanding of the invention, the description taken with the drawings making apparent to those skilled in the art how the several forms of the invention may be embodied in practice.

In the drawings:

FIG. 1 schematically illustrates an open-cycle water engine, as known;

FIGS. 2A and 2B schematically illustrate a ReelSmart™ reel system, of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., as known;

FIGS. 3A and 3B schematically illustrate a venturi constriction, as known;

FIGS. 4A and 4B schematically illustrate a device, for drawing drain water at a low pressure into a water line, in accordance with the present invention;

FIGS. 5A and 5B schematically illustrate an improved ReelSmart™ reel system of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which a device for drawing drain water at a low pressure has been added, in accordance with the preferred embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 6 schematically illustrates an improved ReelSmart™ reel system of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which a device for drawing drain water at a low pressure has been added, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention;

FIGS. 7A and 7B schematically illustrate an improved ReelSmart™ reel system of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which a device for drawing drain water at a low pressure has been added, in accordance with still another embodiment of present invention;

FIGS. 8A and 8B schematically illustrate an improved ReelSmart™ reel system of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which a device for drawing drain water at a low pressure has been added, in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present invention; and

FIG. 9 schematically illustrates an improved ReelSmart™ reel system of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which a device for drawing drain water at a low pressure has been added, in accordance with still another embodiment of the present invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention relates to systems and methods for recycling drain water, which exists substantially at atmospheric pressure. The systems and methods employ a venturi restriction, inserted into a water line, for creating a low-pressure zone in the water line, and feeding the drain water to the water line at the location of the low-pressure zone, thus causing the drain water to be drawn into the water line.

The principles and operation of the systems and methods for recycling drain water, according to the present invention, may be better understood with reference to the drawings and accompanying descriptions.

Before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and the arrangement of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of other embodiments or of being practiced or carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein is for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

Referring now to the drawings, FIGS. 3A and 3B schematically illustrate a venturi constriction, as known, for creating a low-pressure zone along a flow line.

FIG. 3A schematically illustrates a device 40, which may be inserted into a water line 42 of a constant diameter and a steady state flow of Q. The device 40 has a venturi constriction 41 formed as a convergent section 43, a throat 46 and a diverge section 47. A differential nanometer 48, containing mercury 45, connects the water line 42 at a location of a constant diameter 44, with the throat 46. As seen by a height h formed in the mercury 45, due to the constriction at the throat 46, the throat 46 is at a reduced pressure vis a vis the constant diameter location 44 in the water line 42.

This may be appreciated from the conservation of energy along a streamline, as expressed by the Bernoulli's equation for steady state, incompressible flows: PγzV**22g=const

Where P is the pressure, z is the elevation, V is the velocity, g is the gravitational constant, and γ is the ration of the density ρ, to the gravitational constant, μ/g.

In essence, this equation stipulates that the sum of what is often called the pressure, elevation, and velocity heads remain constant along a flow line of a steady state, incompressible flow. Thus, at a constant elevation, where the velocity increases due to the constriction, for example at the throat 46, the pressure must decrease.

As seen in FIG. 3B, a similar situation may be generated by a device 50, having a venturi constriction 51 formed as a flow nozzle 55, inserted in a water line 52 of constant diameter and a steady state flow of Q. The differential nanometer 48, containing the mercury 45, connects the water line 52 at a location 54 of the constant diameter, with a location 56, at the outlet of the flow nozzle 55. As seen by the height h formed in the mercury 45, due to the constriction formed by the flow nozzle 55, the location 56 is at a reduced pressure vis a vis the location 54 of the constant diameter.

Referring further to the drawings, FIGS. 4A and 4B schematically illustrate a device 60, for drawing drain water at a low pressure, such as atmospheric pressure or another low pressure, into a water line, operating at a pressure higher than that of the drain water, in accordance with the present invention.

As seen in FIG. 4A, the device 60 includes a constant diameter water line 62, substantially at a first pressure P1, wherein P1 may be, for example, substantially the pressure of the main, or another feeding pressure. The water line 62 includes the venturi constriction device 41, in the form of a convergent-divergent nozzle, for creating a low pressure zone, of a second pressure P2, substantially lower than P1. The water line 62 carries a constant flow Q(main). But at the throat 46, a secondary inlet line 64 feeds in a drain water flow Q(drain water), substantially at a third pressure P3, to the water line 62, wherein P3 is substantially less than the first pressure P1, but substantially more than the second pressure P2. The drain water may be calm, reservoir water, so that P3 is substantially atmospheric pressure. It is drawn into the water line 62 because of the second pressure P2 is lower than the drain water pressure P3 (i.e., P1>P3>P2). In consequence, a constant flow Q(out) will be:
Q(out)=Q(main)+Q(drain water)

Similarly, as seen in FIG. 4B, the device 60 includes the constant diameter water line 62, substantially at the first pressure P1, into which the venturi constriction device 51, in the form of a flow nozzle, has been inserted, for forming the low pressure zone of the second pressure P2. The water line 62 carries the constant flow Q(main). But at the constriction 56, the secondary inlet line 64 feeds the Q(drain water) to water line 62, substantially at the third pressure P3, substantially lower than P1 but substantially higher than P2 (i.e., P1>P3>P2). Again, the constant flow Q(out) will be the sum of Q(main) and Q(drain water).

In this manner, in accordance with the present invention, even when a drain water reservoir is not pressurized, nor set at an appreciable height above the water line 62, the drain water may nonetheless be fed into the water line 62 by suction created by the low pressure at the venturi restriction, such as 41 or 51 or another restriction, as known.

Referring further to the drawings, FIGS. 5A and 5B schematically illustrate an improved ReelSmart™ reel system 70, formed as the ReelSmart™ reel system 20 of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which the device 60, for drawing drain water at a relatively low pressure, has been added, in accordance with the present invention.

As seen in FIG. 5A, the improved ReelSmart™ reel system 70 includes the operating valve 22, having a first position 24, which directs the flow of water to the water engine system 10, connected to the reel 34, by the mechanical link 32, and adapted for winding the hose 30 onto the reel 34. The water is then discharged from the outlet 16, as the drain water 18.

Additionally, the improved ReelSmart™ reel system 70 includes a water storage tank 39, which collects the drain water 18, forming a drain water reservoir 33. Preferably, the water storage tank 39 further includes an overflow pipe 38. As the drain water 18 flows into the water storage tank 39, the level of the drain water reservoir 33 rises.

As seen in FIG. 5B, the improved ReelSmart™ reel system 70 further includes the operating valve 22, having the second position 26, which directs the flow of water via the water line 28, to the hose 30 for watering, as the water discharge 36.

Additionally, the improved ReelSmart™ reel system 70 includes the device 60, having the venturi constriction 41 (FIG. 4A), preferably located on the water line 28, leading to the hose 30. Furthermore, a drain-water feed line 35, with a one-way valve 37, leads from the drain water reservoir 33 of the water storage tank 39 to the water line 28, at the low-pressure zone of the venturi constriction 41.

The drain water reservoir 33 is at the pressure P3, for example, atmospheric pressure, and preferably, at substantially or nearly the same height as the water line 28 and the hose 30. Preferably, the pressure P1 of the water at the valve 26 is substantially the pressure of the main, and is thus appreciably higher than P3. Yet, in accordance with the present invention, the low pressure zone of the pressure P2, at the venturi constriction 41, is lower than the drain water pressure P3 (i.e., P1>P3>P2), so that the drain water will be drawn into the water line 28, at the location of the constriction 41.

Thus when the water storage tank 39 contains the drain water reservoir 33, the drain water reservoir 33 will flow in the direction of an arrow 31 to the water line 28 and the hose 30.

In consequence, the water which went unused as drain water 18, as illustrated in conjunction with FIG. 2A of the prior art, hereinabove, is used, for example, for watering, as illustrated herein.

It will be appreciated that the venturi constriction 51 (FIG. 4B) may be used in place of the venturi constriction 41 of (FIGS. 4A).

Referring further to the drawings, FIG. 6 schematically illustrates an improved ReelSmart™ reel system 72 of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which the device 60 for drawing drain water at a low pressure has been added, in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention.

In accordance with the present embodiment, the device 60, with the venturi constriction 41 or 51, communicates with the inlet 12, and the drain water feed line 35 connects the water storage tank 39 with the inlet 12.

In consequence, while the inlet 12 operates substantially at the first pressure P1, for example, the pressure of the main, it includes the second pressure zone of P2, operative to draw the drain water at the third pressure P3, since P1>P3>P2.

Thus the drain water reservoir 33 is filled and emptied simultaneously, and the water engine system 10 approaches a closed-cycle system.

Referring further to the drawings, FIGS. 7A-7B schematically illustrate an improved ReelSmart™ reel system 74 of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which two devices 60 for drawing drain water at a low pressure have been added, in accordance with still another embodiment of present invention.

In essence, the system 74 combines the features of the device 72 of FIG. 6 with those of the device 70 of FIGS. 5A-5B. Thus, the device 76 includes two devices 60, one connected to the inlet 14 and the other to the water line 28.

As illustrated in FIG. 7A, during the self winding of the hose 30 on the reel 34, by the water engine system 10, the drain water 33 is drawn up to the inlet 14 of the water engine 12 and is used for powering the water engine 12.

As illustrated in FIG. 7B, during the watering by the hose 30, the drain water 33 is drawn up to the water line 28, and is used for watering.

Although in the present example, either the inlet 14 or the water line 28 operate at any one time, it will be appreciated that in another water system, the two water lines may operate in parallel.

Referring further to the drawings, FIGS. 8A and 8B schematically illustrate an improved ReelSmart™ reel system 76 of Hydro-Industries, Ltd., to which the device 60, for drawing drain water at a low pressure has been added, in accordance with yet another embodiment of present invention.

As seen in FIG. 8A, no drain water storage tank is used. Rather, and the drain-water feed line 35, with the one-way valve 37, leads from the outlet 16 of the water engine system 10, substantially at the low pressure P3, to the inlet 14, substantially at the high pressure P1, for example, the pressure of the main. The device 60 communicates with the inlet 12, forming the low pressure zone P2, at the inlet 14, by the venturi constriction 41 or 51. Again, the water engine system 10 approaches a closed-cycle system. While there is some drain water discharge 18, it is reduced in quantity, when compared with that of FIG. 2A hereinabove, of the prior art.

FIG. 8B schematically illustrates an enlargement of the device 60 of the improved ReelSmart™ reel system 76.

FIG. 9 schematically illustrates another water system 78, having a water engine system 10, to which the device 60 for drawing drain water at a low pressure has been added, in accordance with still another embodiment of the present invention.

In the system 78 the inlet 14 to the water engine 12 is submerged in a water storage tank 77, and communicates with the water storage tank 77 via an opening 77, preferably, but not necessarily, through the one-way valve 37. Additionally, an outlet 16A leads from the water engine 12 to the water tank 77, while an outlet 16B leads from the water storage tank 77. As such, the water storage tank 77 is integrated with the outlet 16.

The inlet 14 includes the device 60, having the venturi constriction 41, enabling the drawing of water from the water storage tank 77 to the inlet 14.

Preferably, the water tank 77 is covered by a cover 73, bolted down by bolts 71, and sealed with a seal 75.

It will be appreciated that other drain water reservoirs may be used, for example reservoirs of rain water, or of industrial water discharge.

It will be appreciated that other water systems may similarly be used for incorporating therein the drain water.

It is expected that during the life of this patent many relevant systems and methods for recycling drain water will be developed and the scope of the term systems and methods for recycling drain water is intended to include all such new technologies a priori.

As used herein the term “about” refers to ±20%.

As used herein the term “substantially” refers to ±40%.

It is appreciated that certain features of the invention, which are, for clarity, described in the context of separate embodiments, may also be provided in combination in a single embodiment. Conversely, various features of the invention, which are, for brevity, described in the context of a single embodiment, may also be provided separately or in any suitable subcombination.

Although the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.

All publications, patents and patent applications mentioned in this specification are herein incorporated in their entirety by reference into the specification, to the same extent as if each individual publication, patent or patent application was specifically and individually indicated to be incorporated herein by reference. In addition, any citation or identification of any reference in this application shall not be construed as an admission that such reference is available as prior art to the present invention.