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Title:
THERMAL TRANSFER DEVICE AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2011/100731
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
Embodiments of thermal transfer devices and associated systems and methods are disclosed herein. In one embodiment, a thermal transfer system can include a conduit that has an input portion, an output portion, and a sidewall between the input and output portions. Heat can enter the conduit at the input portion and exit the conduit at the output portion. The thermal transfer system can further include an end cap proximate to a terminus of the conduit. A working fluid can circulate through the conduit utilizing a vaporization-condensation cycle. The thermal transfer device can also include an architectural construct having a plurality of parallel layers of a synthetic matrix characterization of a crystal.

Inventors:
MCALISTER, Roy Edward (2350 W. Shangri La, Phoenix, AZ, 85029, US)
Application Number:
US2011/024814
Publication Date:
August 18, 2011
Filing Date:
February 14, 2011
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
MCALISTER, Roy Edward (2350 W. Shangri La, Phoenix, AZ, 85029, US)
International Classes:
F24J3/08; F25B30/06
Foreign References:
US20030183372A12003-10-02
US20050019234A12005-01-27
US20050061486A12005-03-24
US20050230085A12005-10-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BETCHER, Susan D. et al. (Perkins Coie LLP, P.O Box 1247Seattle, WA, 98111-1247, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

I/We claim:

1. A thermal transfer system, comprising:

a conduit having an input portion, an output portion opposite the input portion, and a sidewall between the input and output portions, wherein heat enters the conduit at the input portion and heat exits the conduit at the output portion, and wherein a working fluid enclosed in the conduit changes from a liquid phase to a vapor phase proximate to the input portion and from the vapor phase to the liquid phase proximate to the output portion;

an end cap proximate to a terminus of the conduit; and

an architectural construct including a plurality of layers oriented generally parallel to one another, wherein individual layers comprise a synthetic matrix characterization of a crystal.

2. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the architectural construct comprises at least one of graphene, graphite, and boron nitride.

3. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein:

the sidewall comprises the architectural construct, the layers being substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit, and the architectural construct being configured to drive the liquid phase from the output portion to the input portion by capillary action; and

the layers are angled toward the conduit proximate to the input and output portions.

4. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the sidewall comprises the architectural construct, the layers being approximately perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the conduit.

5. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the end cap comprises the architectural construct, and wherein the layers are approximately perpendicular to a longitudinal axis of the conduit.

6. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the end cap comprises the architectural construct, and wherein the layers are substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit.

7. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein:

the end cap is proximate to the output portion, the end cap comprising the architectural construct having layers substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit; and

the architectural construct is configured to separate at least one predetermined constituent from the working fluid.

8. The thermal transfer system of claim 7 wherein a solution enters the conduit at the input portion and the predetermined constituent includes a portion of the solution.

9. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein:

the end cap is proximate to the input portion, the end cap comprising the architectural construct having layers substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit; and

the architectural construct is configured to prevent at least one predetermined material from entering the conduit via the end cap.

10. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the end cap is proximate to the input portion, and wherein the end cap comprises the architectural construct having layers substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit such that the end cap receives radiant heat having a first wavelength between the layers and the architectural construct re-radiates at least a portion of the radiant heat at a second wavelength different from the first wavelength.

11. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the end cap is at the input portion and includes the architectural construct, and wherein the system further comprises;

a liquid reservoir proximate in fluid communication with the input portion of the conduit;

a controller operably coupled to the liquid reservoir, wherein the controller regulates flow of the working fluid between the liquid reservoir and the conduit; and

wherein the thermal transfer system includes a first condition and a second condition, the end cap absorbing heat and the liquid accumulator storing the working fluid in the first condition, the liquid reservoir directing the working fluid into the conduit and the working fluid absorbing heat from the end cap in the second condition.

13. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein:

the architectural construct includes a first architectural construct and a second architectural construct;

the sidewall includes the first architectural construct and the second architectural construct inward of the first architectural construct;

the layers of the first architectural construct are substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit;

the layers of the second architectural construct are substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis; and

the layers of the first architectural construct drive a fluid toward the input portion, the fluid being at least one of the working fluid and an external fluid outside the conduit.

14. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the liquid phase returns to the input region by at least one of gravity, capillary action, and centrifugal force.

15. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the input portion is installed proximate to at least one of a solar collector, a geothermal formation, and permafrost.

16. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the output portion is installed proximate to at least one of an aquifer, a gas hydrate deposit, and a geological surface.

17. The thermal transfer system of claim 1 wherein the input portion is a first input portion and the system further comprises a second input portion opposite the first input portion, the output portion being between the first and second input portions. 18. A thermal transfer device, comprising:

a conduit having a vaporization region, a condensation region opposite the vaporization region, and a sidewall wall extending between the vaporization region and the condensation region;

an architectural construct comprising multiple layers of a synthetic matrix characterization of a crystal, individual layers being oriented substantially parallel to one another; and

a working fluid within the conduit, wherein the working fluid includes a liquid phase at the condensation region and a vapor phase at the vaporization region. 19. The thermal transfer device of claim 18 wherein the architectural construct comprises at least one of graphene and boron nitride.

20. The thermal transfer device of claim 18 wherein:

the sidewall comprises the architectural construct, the layers being oriented substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit to form passageways between the layers from the vaporization region to the condensation region; and the layers are angled toward the conduit at the vaporization and condensation regions such that the working fluid moves through the passageways by capillary action.

21. The thermal transfer device of claim 20, further comprising:

a thermal accumulator at the vaporization region;

a liquid reservoir in fluid communication with the peripheral channels at the vaporization region, wherein the liquid reservoir stores the working fluid in the liquid state; and

a controller operatively coupled to the liquid reservoir, the controller regulating flow of the working fluid between the liquid reservoir and the vaporization region.

22. The thermal transfer device of claim 20 wherein:

the architectural construct is a first architectural construct; and

the thermal transfer device further comprises a second architectural construct including multiple layers substantially parallel to one another and comprising the synthetic matrix characterization of the crystal, the second architectural construct being inward of the first architectural construct and the second layers being substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis.

23. The thermal transfer device of claim 18, further comprising:

an end cap at the condensation region, the end cap including the architectural construct, the layers being substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit.

24. The thermal transfer device of claim 23 wherein the layers of the architectural construct are configured to separate a preselected constituent from the working fluid.

25. The thermal transfer device of claim 18, further comprising:

an end cap at the vaporization region, the end cap including the architectural construct, the layers being substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit.

26. The thermal transfer device of claim 25 wherein the layers of the architectural construct are configured to filter a preselected material from the conduit. 27. The thermal transfer device of claim 18 wherein the vaporization region is a first vaporization region and device further comprises a second vaporization region opposite the first vaporization region, the condensation region being between the first and second vaporization regions.

28. A method of transferring heat, comprising:

absorbing heat with a first end cap at an input portion of a conduit;

changing the working fluid from a liquid phase to a vapor phase at the input portion;

advancing the vapor phase through the conduit;

changing the working fluid from the vapor phase to the liquid phase at the output portion;

directing heat from a second end cap at the output portion, at least one of the first end cap, the second end cap, and the conduit including an architectural construct having multiple layers substantially parallel to one another, individual layers comprising a synthetic matrix characterization of a crystal; and

returning the liquid phase along a sidewall of the conduit to the input portion.

29. The method of claim 28 wherein returning the liquid further comprises driving the liquid phase between the layers of the architectural construct at the sidewall by capillary action.

30. The method of claim 28 wherein returning the liquid phase along the sidewall of the conduit to the input portion further comprises applying a centrifugal force to the conduit.

31. The method of claim 28 wherein absorbing heat through the first end cap further comprises absorbing heat from at least one of a solar source, a permafrost source, and a geothermal source.

32. The method of claim 28 wherein directing heat from the second end cap further comprises directing heat to an aquifer, a turbine, and a gas hydrate deposit.

33. The method of claim 28, further comprising:

positioning the architectural construct at the first end cap such that the layers generally align with a heat source;

absorbing a radiative energy having a first wavelength between the layers of the architectural construct; and

radiating at least a portion of the radiative energy from the first end cap at a second wavelength different from the first wavelength.

34. The method of claim 28, further comprising:

positioning the architectural construct at the second end cap such that the layers are substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit; and adsorbing a preselected constituent from the working fluid via the architectural construct.

35. The method of claim 34, further comprising:

receiving a solution through the first end cap; and

combining the solution and the working fluid in the conduit to form the preselected constituent.

36. The method of claim 28, further comprising:

positioning the architectural construct at the first end cap such that the layers are substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit; and filtering a preselected constituent from a heat source via the architectural construct.

37. The method of claim 28, further comprising:

storing the working fluid in a liquid reservoir, the liquid reservoir being in fluid communication with the conduit;

absorbing heat at the first end cap; and

directing the working fluid into the input region.

38. The method of claim 37, further comprising:

modulating the rate of flow of the working fluid to the input region.

39. The method of claim 28 wherein the input portion is a first input portion, and wherein the method further comprises:

absorbing heat with a third end cap at a second input portion of the conduit, the third end cap being opposite the first end cap and the second end cap being there between; and

changing the working fluid from a liquid phase to a vapor phase at the second input portion.

40. A thermal transfer system, comprising:

a conduit having an input portion, an output portion opposite the input portion, and a sidewall between the input and output portions, wherein heat enters the conduit at the input portion and heat exits the conduit at the output portion;

a thermal accumulator at the input portion;

a reservoir in fluid communication with the input portion; and

a working fluid in the conduit, wherein the working fluid changes from a liquid to a vapor proximate to the input portion and from the vapor to the liquid proximate to the output portion.

41. The thermal transfer system of claim 40 wherein the thermal accumulator comprises an architectural construct having a plurality of layers substantially parallel to one another and substantially aligned with a heat source, wherein individual parallel layers comprise a synthetic matrix characterization of a crystal. 42. The thermal transfer system of claim 41 wherein:

the layers are substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit; and the layers prevent at least one constituent proximate to the thermal accumulator from entering the conduit.

43. The thermal transfer system of claim 40 wherein the sidewall comprises an architectural construct having a plurality of layers substantially parallel to one another and oriented substantially parallel to a longitudinal axis of the conduit, individual layers comprising a synthetic matrix characterization of a crystal, and the architectural construct being configured to apply a capillary pressure to the liquid.

44. The thermal transfer system of claim 40, further comprising:

an end cap at the output portion; and

an architectural construct at the end cap, the architectural construct having a plurality of layers substantially parallel to one another and substantially aligned with a longitudinal axis of the conduit, wherein individual parallel layers comprise a synthetic matrix characterization of a crystal, the architectural construct being configured to load the at least one preselected constituent of the working fluid.

45. The thermal transfer system of claim 40 wherein:

the thermal accumulator stores heat in a first condition;

the thermal accumulator transfers heat to the input region in a second condition; the liquid reservoir stores the working fluid in the first condition;

the liquid reservoir substantially vacates the liquid reservoir in the second condition; and

the working fluid circulates between the input and output portions in the second condition.

46. The thermal transfer system of claim 40, further comprising: a controller operably coupled to the liquid reservoir, the controller manipulating a flow of the working fluid between the liquid reservoir and the input portion.

47. The thermal transfer system of claim 40 wherein the thermal accumulator is installed proximate to at least one of a solar source, a geothermal source, and a permafrost source.

48. The thermal transfer device of claim 40 wherein the input portion is a first input portion and the system further comprises a second input portion opposite the first input portion, the output portion being between the first and second input portions.

49. A method of transferring heat, comprising:

storing a working fluid in a liquid reservoir proximate to a vaporization region of a conduit;

absorbing heat with a thermal accumulator, the thermal accumulator being at the vaporization region;

directing the working fluid from the liquid reservoir into the vaporization region; absorbing heat from the thermal accumulator with the working fluid such that the working fluid changes from a liquid phase to a vapor phase at the vaporization region;

advancing the vapor phase through the conduit to a condensation region;

absorbing heat from the working fluid with an end cap at the condensation region such that the working fluid changes from the vapor phase to the liquid phase at the condensation region;

directing the heat away from the condensation region; and

driving the liquid phase to the vaporization region.

50. The method of claim 49, further comprising:

modulating a rate of flow of the working fluid between the liquid reservoir and the vaporization region of the conduit.

51. The method of claim 49 wherein absorbing heat with the thermal accumulator further comprises absorbing heat with an architectural construct having a plurality of layers positioned substantially parallel to one another and substantially aligned with a heat source, individual architectural layers comprising a synthetic matrix characterization of a crystal.

52. The method of claim 49 wherein absorbing heat with the thermal accumulator further comprises absorbing heat from at least one of a solar source, a permafrost source, and a geothermal source.

53. The method of claim 49 wherein directing the heat further comprises directing the heat toward an aquifer, a turbine, and a methane deposit.

Description:
THERMAL TRANSFER DEVICE AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND

METHODS

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION(S)

[0001] The present application claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Patent Application No. 61/304,403, filed on February 13, 2010 and titled FULL SPECTRUM ENERGY AND RESOURCE INDEPENDENCE. The present application is a continuation in part of: U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,546, filed on August 16, 2010 and titled INCREASING THE EFFICIENCY OF SUPPLEMENTED OCEAN THERMAL ENERGY CONVERSION (SOTEC) SYSTEMS, and U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,228, filed on August 16, 2010 and titled GAS HYDRATE CONVERSION SYSTEM FOR HARVESTING HYDROCARBON HYDRATE DEPOSITS, each of which claims priority to and the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/304,403, filed February 13, 2010 and titled FULL SPECTRUM ENERGY AND RESOURCE INDEPENDENCE. U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,546 and U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,228 are also each a continuation-in-part of each of the following applications: U.S. Patent Application No. 12/707,651 , filed February 17, 2010 and titled ELECTROLYTIC CELL AND METHOD OF USE THEREOF; PCT Application No. PCT/ US10/24497, filed February 17, 2010 and titled ELECTROLYTIC CELL AND METHOD OF USE THEREOF; U.S. Patent Application No. 12/707,653, filed February 17, 2010 and titled APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CONTROLLING NUCLEATION DURING ELECTROLYSIS; PCT Application No. PCT/ US10/24498, filed February 17, 2010 and titled APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CONTROLLING NUCLEATION DURING ELECTROLYSIS; U.S. Patent Application No. 12/707,656, filed February 17, 2010 and titled APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR GAS CAPTURE DURING ELECTROLYSIS; and PCT Application No. PCT/ US10/24499, filed February 17, 2010 and titled APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR CONTROLLING NUCLEATION DURING ELECTROLYSIS; each of which claims priority to and the benefit of the following applications: U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/153,253, filed February 17, 2009 and titled FULL SPECTRUM ENERGY; U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 61/237,476, filed August 27, 2009 and titled ELECTROLYZER AND ENERGY INDEPENDENCE TECHNOLOGIES; U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/304,403, filed February 13, 2010 and titled FULL SPECTRUM ENERGY AND RESOURCE INDEPENDENCE. Each of these applications is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0002] The present technology relates generally to thermal transfer devices and associated systems and methods.

BACKGROUND [0003] Heat pipes transfer heat between a heat source and a heat sink utilizing a liquid-vapor phase change of a working fluid. For example, a working fluid enclosed in a conventional heat pipe contacts and absorbs heat from a hot interface such that it changes to a vapor phase. The vapor pressure drives the vapor phase working fluid through a conduit to a cold interface where the working fluid condenses to a liquid phase. The cold interface absorbs the latent heat from the phase change and removes it from the system. The liquid phase working fluid then returns to the hot interface using capillary action or gravity to continue the vaporization-condensation cycle.

[0004] Heat pipes can generally transport large amounts of heat with relatively small temperature gradients and without mechanical moving parts. Thus, heat pipes can provide efficient heat transfer means. However, non-condensing gases can diffuse through the heat pipe's wall and thereby cause impurities in the working fluid that diminish the heat pipe's efficiency. Additionally, extreme temperatures can cease the vaporization-condensation cycle. For example, extreme heat can prevent the working fluid from condensing, whereas extreme cold can prevent the working fluid from vaporizing. Accordingly, there is a need to improve the efficiency and adaptability of heat pipes and to harness the resultant thermal energy.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] Figure 1 is a schematic cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer device configured in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology. [0006] Figures 2A and 2B are schematic cross-sectional views of thermal transfer devices configured in accordance with other embodiments of the present technology.

[0007] Figure 3A is a schematic cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer device operating in a first direction in accordance with a further embodiment of the present technology, and Figure 3B is a schematic cross-sectional view of the thermal transfer device of Figure 3A operating in a second direction opposite the first direction.

[0008] Figures 4A and 4B are schematic plan views of thermal transfer devices configured in accordance with embodiments of the present technology.

[0009] Figure 4C is a schematic cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer device configured in accordance with an additional embodiment of the present technology.

[0010] Figure 5A is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system in a representative environment in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology, and Figure 5B is an enlarged operational view of a portion of the thermal transfer system of Figure 5A.

[0011] Figure 6A is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system in a representative environment in accordance with another embodiment of the present technology, and Figure 6B is an enlarged operational view of a portion of the thermal transfer system of Figure 6A.

[0012] Figure 7A is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system in a representative environment in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present technology, and Figures 7B and 7C are enlarged operational views of portions of the thermal transfer system of Figure 7A.

[0013] Figure 7D is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system in a representative environment in accordance with still another embodiment of the present technology.

[0014] Figure 8 is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system in a representative environment in accordance with a further embodiment of the present technology.

[0015] Figure 9A is a cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer system in a representative environment in accordance with an additional embodiment of the present technology, and Figure 9B is an enlarged view of detail 9B of Figure 9A. [0016] Figure 10 is a schematic cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer device configured in accordance with a further embodiment of the present technology.

[0017] Figure 11 is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system 1100 shown in a representative environment in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present technology.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] The present disclosure describes thermal transfer devices, as well as associated systems, assemblies, components, and methods regarding the same. For example, several of the embodiments described below are directed generally to thermal transfer devices that include a working fluid or combination of working fluids that transfer heat utilizing a vaporization-condensation cycle. As used herein, the term working fluid can include any fluid that actuates the thermal transfer device. In one embodiment, for example, the working fluid is water. In other embodiments, the working fluid can include ammonia, methanol, and/or other suitable working fluids selected based on available fluids and desired outputs of the thermal transfer device. Additionally, several embodiments described below refer to a vaporization- condensation cycle that changes the working fluid between a vapor phase and a liquid phase. As used herein, the term vaporization-condensation cycle is construed broadly to refer to any phase change of the working fluid resulting in a transfer of heat.

[0019] Certain details are set forth in the following description and in Figures 1-11 to provide a thorough understanding of various embodiments of the disclosure. However, other details describing well-known structures and systems often associated with thermal transfer devices and/or other aspects of heating and cooling systems are not set forth below to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the description of various embodiments of the disclosure. Thus, it will be appreciated that several of the details set forth below are provided to describe the following embodiments in a manner sufficient to enable a person skilled in the relevant art to make and use the disclosed embodiments. Several of the details and advantages described below, however, may not be necessary to practice certain embodiments of the disclosure. Many of the details, dimensions, angles, shapes, and other features shown in the Figures are merely illustrative of particular embodiments of the disclosure. Accordingly, other embodiments can have other details, dimensions, angles, and features without departing from the spirit or scope of the present disclosure. In addition, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that further embodiments of the disclosure can be practiced without several of the details described below.

[0020] Reference throughout this specification to "one embodiment" or "an embodiment" means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with the embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the present disclosure. Thus, the occurrences of the phrases "in one embodiment" or "in an embodiment" in various places throughout this specification are not necessarily all referring to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular features, structures, or characteristics described with reference to a particular embodiment may be combined in any suitable manner in one or more other embodiments. Moreover, the headings provided herein are for convenience only and do not interpret the scope or meaning of the claimed disclosure.

[0021] Figure 1 is a schematic cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer device 100 ("device 100") configured in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology. As shown in Figure 1 , the device 100 can include a conduit 102 that has an input portion 104, an output portion 106 opposite the input portion 104, and a sidewall 120 between the input and output portions 104 and 106. The device 100 can further include a first end cap 108 at the input portion 104 and a second end cap 1 10 at the output portion 106. The device 100 can enclose a working fluid 122 (illustrated by arrows) that changes between a vapor phase 122a and a liquid phase 122b during a vaporization-condensation cycle.

[0022] In selected embodiments, the device 100 can also include one or more architectural constructs 1 12. Architectural constructs 1 12 are synthetic matrix characterizations of crystals that are primarily comprised of graphene, graphite, boron nitride, and/or another suitable crystal. The configuration and the treatment of these crystals heavily influence the properties that the architectural construct 1 12 will exhibit when it experiences certain conditions. For example, as explained in further detail below, the device 100 can utilize architectural constructs 1 12 for their thermal properties, capillary properties, sorbtive properties, catalytic properties, and electromagnetic, optical, and acoustic properties. As shown in Figure 1 , the architectural construct 1 12 can be arranged as a plurality of substantially parallel layers 1 14 spaced apart from one another by a gap 1 16. In various embodiments, the layers 1 14 can be as thin as one atom. In other embodiments, the thickness of the individual layers 114 can be greater and/or less than one atom and the width of the gaps 116 between the layers 1 14 can vary. Methods of fabricating and configuring architectural constructs, such as the architectural constructs 112 shown in Figure 1 , are described in U.S. Patent Application entitled "ARCHITECTURAL CONSTRUCT HAVING FOR EXAMPLE A PLURALITY OF ARCHITECTURAL CRYSTALS" (Attorney Docket No. 69545-8701 US), filed concurrently herewith and incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0023] As shown in Figure 1 , the first end cap 108 can be installed proximate to a heat source (not shown) such that the first end cap 108 serves as a hot interface that vaporizes the working fluid 122. Accordingly, the first end cap 108 can include a material with a high thermal conductivity and/or transmissivity to absorb or deliver heat from the heat source. In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 1 , for example, the first end cap 108 includes the architectural construct 1 12 made from a thermally conductive crystal (e.g., graphene). The architectural construct 1 12 can be arranged to increase its thermal conductively by configuring the layers 1 14 to have a high concentration of thermally conductive pathways (e.g., formed by the layers 1 14) substantially parallel to the influx of heat. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the layers 1 14 generally align with the incoming heat flow such that heat enters the architectural construct 1 12 between the layers 114. This configuration exposes the greatest surface area of the layers 1 14 to the heat and thereby increases the heat absorbed by the architectural construct 112. Advantageously, despite having a much lower density than metal, the architectural construct 1 12 can conductively and/or radiatively transfer a greater amount of heat per unit area than solid silver, raw graphite, copper, or aluminum. .

[0024] As further shown in Figure 1 , the second end cap 1 10 can expel heat from the device 100 to a heat sink (not shown) such that the second end cap 110 serves as a cold interface that condenses the working fluid 122. The second end cap 1 10, like the first end cap 108, can include a material with a high thermal conductivity (e.g., copper, aluminum) and/or transmissivity to absorb and/or transmit latent heat from the working fluid 122. Accordingly, like the first end cap 108, the second end cap 1 10 can include the architectural construct 1 12. However, rather than bringing heat into the device 100 like the first end cap 108, the second end cap 1 10 can convey latent heat out of the device 100. In various embodiments, the architectural constructs 1 12 of the first and second end caps 108 and 1 10 can be made from the similar materials and/or arranged to have substantially similar thermal conductivities. In other embodiments, the architectural constructs 1 12 can include different materials, can be arranged in differing directions, and/or otherwise configured to provide differing thermal conveyance capabilities including desired conductivities and transmissivities. In further embodiments, neither the first end cap 108 nor the second end cap 1 10 includes the architectural construct 1 12.

[0025] In selected embodiments, the first end cap 108 and/or the second end cap 1 10 can include portions with varying thermal conductivities. For example, a portion of the first end cap 108 proximate to the conduit 102 can include a highly thermally conductive material (e.g., the architectural construct 1 12 configured to promote thermal conductivity, copper, etc.) such that it absorbs heat from the heat source and vaporizes the working fluid 122. Another portion of the first end cap 108 spaced apart from the conduit 102 can include a less thermally conductive material to insulate the high conductivity portion. In certain embodiments, for example, the insulative portion can include ceramic fibers, sealed dead air space, and/or other materials or structures with high radiant absorptivities and/or low thermal conductivities. In other embodiments, the insulative portion of the first end cap 108 can include the architectural construct 112 arranged to include a low concentration of thermally conductive pathways (e.g., the layers 1 14 are spaced apart by large gaps 1 16) such that it has a low availability for conductively transferring heat.

[0026] In other embodiments, the configurations of the architectural constructs 112 may vary from those shown in Figure 1 based on the dimensions of the device 100, the temperature differential between the heat source and the heat sink, the desired heat transfer, the working fluid 122, and/or other suitable thermal transfer characteristics. For example, architectural constructs 1 12 having smaller surface areas may be suited for microscopic applications of the device 100 and/or high temperature differentials, whereas architectural constructs 1 12 having higher surface areas may be better suited for macroscopic applications of the device 100 and/or higher rates of heat transfer. The thermal conductivities of the architectural constructs 1 12 can also be altered by coating the layers 114 with dark colored coatings to increase heat absorption and with light colored coatings to reflect heat away and thereby decrease heat absorption.

[0027] Referring still to Figure 1 , the device 100 can return the liquid phase 122b of the working fluid 122 to the input portion 104 by capillary action. The sidewall 120 of the conduit 102 can thus include a wick structure that exerts a capillary pressure on the liquid phase 122b to drive it toward a desired location (e.g., the input portion 104). For example, the sidewall 120 can include cellulose, ceramic wicking materials, sintered or glued metal powder, nanofibers, and/or other suitable wick structures or materials that provide capillary action.

[0028] In the embodiment shown in Figure 1 , the architectural construct 1 12 is aligned with the longitudinal axis 1 8 of the conduit 102 and configured to exert the necessary capillary pressure to direct the liquid phase 122b of the working fluid 122 to the input portion 104. The composition, dopants, spacing, and/or thicknesses of the layers 1 14 can be selected based on the surface tension required to provide capillary action for the working fluid 122. Advantageously, the architectural construct 1 12 can apply sufficient capillary pressure on the liquid phase 122b to drive the working fluid 122 short and long distances (e.g., millimeters to kilometers). Additionally, in selected embodiments, the surface tension of the layers 1 14 can be manipulated such that the architectural construct 112 rejects a preselected fluid. For example, the architectural construct 112 can be configured to have a surface tension that rejects any liquid other than the liquid phase 122b of the working fluid 122. In such an embodiment, the architectural construct 112 can function as a filter that prevents any fluid other than the working fluid 122 (e.g., fluids tainted by impurities that diffused into the conduit 102) from interfering with the vaporization-condensation cycle.

[0029] In other embodiments, the selective capillary action of the architectural construct 1 12 separates substances at far lower temperatures than conventional distillation technologies. The faster separation of substances by the architectural construct 1 12 can reduce or eliminates substance degradation caused if the substance reaches higher temperatures within the device 100. For example, a potentially harmful substance can be removed from the working fluid 122 by the selective capillary action of the architectural construct 112 before the working fluid 122 reaches the higher temperatures proximate to the input portion 104.

[0030] The conduit 102 and the first and second end caps 108 and 110 can be sealed together using suitable fasteners able to withstand the temperature differentials of the device 100. In other embodiments, the device 100 is formed integrally. For example, the device 100 can be molded using one or more materials. A vacuum can be used to remove any air within the conduit 102, and then the conduit 102 can be filled with a small volume of the working fluid 122 chosen to match the operating temperatures.

[0031] In operation, the device 100 utilizes a vaporization-condensation cycle of the working fluid 122 to transfer heat. More specifically, the first end cap 108 can absorb heat from the heat source, and the working fluid 122 can in turn absorb the heat from the first end cap 108 to produce the vapor phase 122a. The pressure differential caused by the phase change of the working fluid 122 can drive the vapor phase 122a of the working fluid 122 to fill the space available and thus deliver the working fluid 122 through the conduit 102 to the output portion 104. At the output portion 104, the second end cap 110 can absorb heat from the working fluid 122 to change the working fluid 122 to the liquid phase 122b. The latent heat from the condensation of the working fluid 122 can be transferred out of the device 100 via the second end cap 110. In general, the heat influx to the first end cap 108 substantially equals the heat removed by the second end cap 110. As further shown in Figure 1 , capillary action provided by the architectural construct 112 or other wick structure can return the liquid phase 122b of the working fluid 122 to the input portion 104. In selected embodiments, the termini of the layers 114 can be staggered or angled toward the conduit 102 to facilitate entry of the liquid phase 122b between the layers 114 and/or to facilitate conversion of the liquid phase 122b to the vapor phase 122b at the input portion 104. At the input portion 104, the working fluid 122 can again vaporize and continue to circulate through the conduit 102 by means of the vaporization-condensation cycle.

[0032] The device 100 can also operate the vaporization-condensation cycle described above in the reverse direction. For example, when the heat source and heat sink are reversed, the first end cap 108 can serve as the cold interface and the second end cap 110 can serve as the hot interface. Accordingly, the input and output portions 104 and 106 are inverted such that the working fluid 122 vaporizes proximate to the second end cap 1 10, condenses proximate to the first end cap 108, and returns to the second end cap 1 10 using the capillary action provided by the sidewall 120. The reversibility of the device 100 allows the device 100 to be installed irrespective of the positions of the heat source and heat sink. Additionally, the device 100 can accommodate environments in which the locations of the heat source and the heat sink may reverse. For example, as described further below, the device 100 can operate in one direction during the summer to utilize solar energy and the device 100 can reverse direction during the winter to utilize heat stored during the previous summer. [0033] Embodiments of the device 100 including the architectural construct 1 12 at the first end cap 108 and/or second end cap 1 10 have higher thermal conductivity per unit area than conventional conductors. This increased thermal conductivity can increase process rate and the temperature differential between the first and second end caps 108 and 110 to produce greater and more efficient heat transfer. Additionally, embodiments including the architectural construct 1 12 at the first and/or second end caps 108 and 1 10 require less surface area to absorb the heat necessary to effectuate the vaporization-condensation cycle. Thus, the device 100 can be more compact than a conventional heat pipe that transfers an equivalent amount of heat and provide considerable cost reduction. [0034] Referring still to Figure 1 , in various embodiments, the device 100 can further include a liquid reservoir 124 in fluid communication with the conduit 102 such that the liquid reservoir 124 can collect and store at least a portion of the working fluid 122. As shown in Figure 1 , the liquid reservoir 124 can be coupled to the input portion 104 of the conduit 102 via a pipe or other suitable tubular shaped structure. The liquid phase 122b can thus flow from the sidewall 102 (e.g., the architectural construct 1 12, wick structure, etc.) into the liquid reservoir 124. In other embodiments, the liquid reservoir 124 is in fluid communication with another portion of the conduit 102 (e.g., the output portion 106) such that the liquid reservoir 124 collects the working fluid 122 in the vapor phase 122a or in mixed phases. [0035] The liquid reservoir 124 allows the device 100 to operate in at least two modes: a heat accumulation mode and a heat transfer mode. During the heat accumulation mode, the vaporization-condensation cycle of the working fluid 122 can be slowed or halted by tunneling the working fluid 122 from the conduit 102 to the liquid reservoir 124. The first end cap 108 can then function as a thermal accumulator that absorbs heat without the vaporization-condensation cycle dissipating the accumulated heat. After the first end cap 108 accumulates a desired amount of heat and/or the heat source (e.g., the sun) no longer supplies heat, the device 100 can change to the heat transfer mode by funneling the working fluid 122 into the conduit 102. The heat stored in first end cap 108 can vaporize the incoming working fluid 122 and the pressure differential can drive the vapor phase 122a toward the output portion 106 of the conduit 102 to restart the vaporization-condensation cycle described above. In certain embodiments, the restart of the vaporization-condensation cycle can be monitored to analyze characteristics (e.g., composition, vapor pressure, latent heat, efficiency) of the working fluid 122.

[0036] As shown in Figure 1 , a controller 126 can be operably coupled to the liquid reservoir 124 to modulate the rate at which the working fluid 122 enters the conduit 102 and/or adjust the volume of the working fluid 122 flowing into or out of the conduit 102. The controller 126 can thereby change the pressure within the conduit 102 such that the device 100 can operate at varying temperature differentials between the heat source and sink. Thus, the device 100 can provide a constant heat flux despite a degrading heat source (e.g., first end cap 108) or intermittent vaporization- condensation cycles.

[0037] Figures 2A and 2B are schematic cross-sectional views of thermal transfer devices 200 ("devices 200") in accordance with other embodiments of the present technology. Several features of the devices 200 are generally similar to the features of the device 100 shown in Figure 1. For example, each device 200 can include the conduit 102, the sidewall 120, and the first and second end caps 108 and 1 10. The device 200 also transfers heat from a heat source to a heat sink utilizing a vaporization- condensation cycle of the working fluid 122 generally similar to that described with reference to Figure 1. Additionally, as shown in Figures 2A and 2B, the device 200 can further include the liquid reservoir 124 and the controller 126 such that the device 200 can operate in the heat accumulation mode and the heat transfer mode.

[0038] The devices 200 shown in Figures 2A and 2B can utilize gravity, rather than the capillary action described in Figure 1 , to return the liquid phase 122b of the working fluid 122 to the input portion 104. Thus, as shown in Figures 2A and 2B, the heat inflow is below the heat output such that gravity can drive the liquid phase 122b down the sidewall 120 to the input portion 104. Thus, as shown in Figure 2A, the sidewall 120 need only include an impermeable membrane 228, rather than a wick structure necessary for capillary action, to seal the working fluid 122 within the conduit 102. The impermeable membrane 228 can be made from a polymer such as polyethylene, a metal or metal alloy such as copper and stainless steel, and/or other suitable impermeable materials. In other embodiments, the devices 200 can utilize other sources of acceleration (e.g., centrifugal force, capillary action) to return the liquid phase 122b to the input portion 104 such that the positions of the input and output portions 104 and 106 are not gravitationally dependent.

[0039] As shown in Figure 2B, in other embodiments, the sidewall 120 can further include the architectural construct 1 12. For example, the architectural construct 112 can be arranged such that the layers 1 14 are oriented orthogonal to the longitudinal axis 1 18 of the conduit 102 to form thermally conductive passageways that transfer heat away from the conduit 102. Thus, as the liquid phase 122b flows along the sidewall 120, the architectural construct 1 2 can draw heat from the liquid phase 122b, along the layers 1 14, and away from the sidewall 120 of the device 200. This can increase the temperature differential between the input and output portions 104 and 106 to increase the rate of heat transfer and/or facilitate the vaporization-condensation cycle when the temperature gradient would otherwise be insufficient. In other embodiments, the layers 1 14 can be oriented at a different angle with respect to the longitudinal axis 118 to transfer heat in a different direction. In certain embodiments, the architectural construct 1 12 can be positioned radially outward of the impermeable membrane 228. In other embodiments, the impermeable membrane 228 can be radially outward of architectural construct 1 12 or the architectural construct 1 12 itself can provide a sufficiently impervious wall to seal the working fluid 122 within the conduit 102.

[0040] The first and second end caps 108 and 110 shown in Figures 2A and 2B can also include the architectural construct 1 12. As shown in Figures 2A and 2B, the layers 1 14 of the architectural constructs 1 12 are generally aligned with the direction heat input and heat output to provide thermally conductive passageways that efficiently transfer heat. Additionally, the architectural constructs 112 of the first and/or second end caps 108 and 1 10 can be configured to apply a capillary pressure for a particular substance entering or exiting the conduit. For example, the composition, spacing, dopants, and/or thicknesses of the layers 1 14 of the architectural constructs 112 can be modulated to selectively draw a particular substance between the layers 1 14. In selected embodiments, the architectural construct 1 12 can include a first zone of layers 1 14 that are configured for a first substance and a second zone of layers 1 14 that are configured for a second substance to selectively remove and/or add two or more desired substances from the conduit 102. [0041] In further embodiments, the second end cap 1 10 can utilize the sorbtive properties of the architectural constructs 1 12 to selectively load a desired constituent of the working fluid 122 between the layers 114. The construction of the architectural construct 1 12 can be manipulated to obtain the requisite surface tension to load almost any element or soluble. For example, the layers 1 14 can be preloaded with predetermined dopants or materials to adjust the surface tension of adsorption along these surfaces. In certain embodiments, the layers 114 can be preloaded with CO2 such that the architectural construct 112 can selectively mine C0 2 from the working fluid 122 as heat releases through the second end cap 1 10. In other embodiments, the layers 1 14 can be spaced apart from one another by a predetermined distance, include a certain coating, and/or otherwise be arranged to selectively load the desired constituent. In some embodiments, the desired constituent adsorbs onto the surfaces of individual layers 1 14, while in other embodiments the desired constituent absorbs into zones between the layers 1 14. In further embodiments, substances can be purposefully fed into the conduit 102 from the input portion 104 (e.g., through the first end cap 108) such that the added substance can combine or react with the working fluid 122 to produce the desired constituent. Thus, the architectural construct 1 12 at the second end cap 110 can facilitate selective mining of constituents. Additionally, the architectural construct 1 12 can remove impurities and/or other undesirable solubles that may have entered the conduit 102 and potentially interfere with the efficiency of the device 200.

[0042] Similarly, in selected embodiments, the architectural construct 1 12 at the first end cap 1 10 can also selectively load desired compounds and/or elements to prevent them from ever entering the conduit 102. For example, the architectural construct 112 can filter out paraffins that can impede or otherwise interfere with the heat transfer of the device 200. In other embodiments, the devices 200 can include other filters that may be used to prevent certain materials from entering the conduit 102.

[0043] Moreover, similar to selective loading of compounds and elements, the architectural construct 112 at the first and second end caps 108 and 110 may also be configured to absorb radiant energy of a desired wavelength. For example, the layers 114 can have a certain thickness, composition, spacing to absorb a particular wavelength of radiant energy. In selected embodiments, the architectural construct 112 absorbs radiant energy of a first wavelength and converts it into radiant energy of a second wavelength, retransmitting at least some of the absorbed energy. For example, the layers 114 may be configured to absorb ultraviolet radiation and convert the ultraviolet radiation into infrared radiation.

[0044] Additionally, the layers 114 can also catalyze a reaction by transferring heat to a zone where the reaction is to occur. In other implementations, the layers 114 catalyze a reaction by transferring heat away from a zone where a reaction is to occur. For example, heat may be conductively transferred into the layers 114 (e.g., as discussed in U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,515, filed August 16, 2010, entitled "APPARATUSES AND METHODS FOR STORING AND/OR FILTERING A SUBSTANCE" which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety) to supply heat to an endothermic reaction within a support tube of the layers 114. In some implementations, the layers 114 catalyze a reaction by removing a product of the reaction from the zone where the reaction is to occur. For example, the layers 114 may absorb alcohol from a biochemical reaction within a central support tube in which alcohol is a byproduct, thereby expelling the alcohol on outer edges of the layers 114, and prolonging the life of a microbe involved in the biochemical reaction.

[0045] Figure 3A is schematic cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer device 300 ("device 300") operating in a first direction in accordance with a further embodiment of the present technology, and Figure 3B is a schematic cross-sectional view of the device 300 of Figure 3A operating in a second direction opposite the first direction. Several features of the device 300 are generally similar to the features of the devices 100 and 200 shown in Figures 1-2B. For example, the device 300 can include the conduit 102, the first and second end caps 108 and 1 10, and the architectural construct 1 12. As shown in Figures 3A and 3B, the sidewall 120 of the device 300 can include two architectural constructs 1 12: a first architectural construct 1 12a having layers 1 14 oriented parallel to the longitudinal axis 1 18 of the conduit 102 and a second architectural construct 1 12b radially inward from the first architectural construct 1 12a and having layers 1 14 oriented perpendicular to the longitudinal axis 1 18. The layers 1 14 of the first architectural construct 1 12a can perform a capillary action, and the layers 1 14 of the second architectural construct 1 12b can form thermally conductive passageways that transfer heat away from the side of the conduit 102 and thereby increase the temperature differential between the input and output portions 104 and 106.

[0046] Similar to the device 100 shown in Figure 1 , the device 300 can also operate when the direction of heat flow changes and the input and output portions 104 and 106 are inverted. As shown in Figure 3A, for example, the device 300 can absorb heat at the first end cap 108 to vaporize the working fluid 122 at the input portion 104, transfer the heat via the vapor phase 122a of the working fluid 122 through the conduit 102, and expel heat from the second end cap 1 10 to condense the working fluid 122 at the output portion 106. As further shown in Figure 3A, the liquid phase 122b of the working fluid 122 can move between the layers 1 14 of the first architectural construct 1 12b by capillary action as described above with reference to Figure 1. In other embodiments, the sidewall 120 can include a different capillary structure (e.g., cellulose) that can drive the liquid phase 122b from the output portion 106 to the input portion 104. As shown in Figure 3B, the conditions can be reversed such that heat enters the device 300 proximate to the second end cap 1 10 and exits the device 300 proximate to the first end cap 108. Advantageously, as discussed above, the dual-direction vapor- condensation cycle of the working fluid 122 accommodates environments in which the locations of the heat source and the heat sink reverse.

[0047] Figures 4A-4C are schematic views of thermal transfer devices 400A-C, respectively, configured in accordance with embodiments of the present technology. Referring to Figures 4A-C together, several features of the devices 400A-C are generally similar to the features of the devices 100, 200, and 300 shown in Figures 1- 3B. For example, the devices 400A-C can include the conduit 102, the first and second end caps 108 and 110, the architectural constructs 112, and the liquid reservoir 124 (reference numbers not shown in Figures 4A and 4B for clarity). The devices 400A-C shown in Figures 4A-C rotate at an angular velocity ω, and thus undergo a centrifugal force. In the embodiments shown in Figures 4A and 4B, the devices 400A-B can be spaced apart from an axis of rotation 430. Referring to Figure 4A, for example, when the heat influx is radially outward from the heat output (i.e., the input portion is radially outward from the output portion), the device 400A can utilize centrifugal force to return the liquid phase 122b of the working fluid 122 radially outward to the input portion 104. When the heat output is radially outward from the heat input, such as the embodiment shown in Figure 4B, the device 400B must utilize a capillary action or another force to overcome the centripetal force and drive the liquid phase 122b radially inward to the input portion.

[0048] As the shown in Figure 4C, in other embodiments, the axis of rotation 430 can be spaced along the length of the device 400C. In the embodiment shown in Figure 4C, heat enters the device 400C at both the first and second end caps 108 and 110, and heat exits the device 400C at the axis of rotation 430. As shown in Figure 4A, this configuration creates a double vaporization-condensation cycle of the working fluid 122. For example, the working fluid 122 moves through the conduit 102 until it reaches the axis of rotation 430. From there, the device 400C expels from the output portion 106 such that the working fluid 122 condenses and returns to the input portion 104 via the centripetal force. In other embodiments, the input portion 104 and the output portion 106 are inverted such that the double vaporization-condensation cycle operates in reverse of that shown in Figure 4C.

[0049] In operation, the devices 400A-C shown in Figures 4A-4C can effectuate heat transfer in rotating environments, such as windmills, wheels, and/or other rotating devices. In certain embodiments, the device 400A-C can be installed in a centrifuge. The working fluid 122 can be plasma, blood, and/or other bodily fluids, and the architectural construct 112 can be included at the second end cap 110 to selectively mine the constituents of bodily fluid to measure the levels of the constituent and/or aid in diagnosis. In other embodiments, the devices 400A-C can utilize other characteristics of the architectural constructs 112 in conjunction with the rotating environment.

[0050] Figure 5A is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system 500 ("system 500") shown in a representative environment in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology, and Figure 5B is an enlarged operational view of a portion of the system 500 of Figure 5A. The system 500 can include a solar collector 552 proximate to the surface of a body of water, such as the ocean, a movable pickup bell 554 proximate to a gas hydrate deposit 553, and an appendage 556 connecting the solar collector 552 and the bell 554. The appendage 556 can include a thermal transfer device 550 ("device 550") that has generally similar features as the device 100 described above with reference to Figure 1. For example, as shown in Figure 5B, the device 550 can move the vapor phase 122a of the working fluid 122 down the conduit 102 and return the liquid phase 122b via capillary action. In other embodiments, the liquid phase can be returned to the input portion 104 using another suitable method.

[0051] In the embodiment shown in Figure 5A, the device 550 can be utilized to transfer heat from the solar collector 552 to the bell 554 to heat the gas hydrate deposit 553. The heated gas hydrate deposit 553 can release the gas hydrate (e.g., methane hydrate) up a conduit 558 to a methane recovery director 560. Accordingly, the system 500 can harness solar energy, transfer it via the device 550 to the methane hydrate deposit 553, and initiate the release of the methane hydrate. Further operation of such a methane hydrate collection system is described in U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,228, entitled GAS HYDRATE CONVERSION SYSTEM FOR HARVESTING HYDROCARBON HYDRATE DEPOSITS, filed August 16, 2010, which is herein incorporated by reference in its entirety.

[0052] It is also contemplated that the heating of water that is a product of the decomposition of gas hydrates may be accomplished using a system such as that which is disclosed in U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,546, filed on August 16, 2010, and entitled INCREASING THE EFFICIENCY OF SUPPLEMENTED OCEAN THERMAL ENERGY CONVERSION (SOTEC) SYSTEMS, which is incorporated by reference in its entirety as if fully set forth herein. In this instance it is optionally intended to evaporate such collected water for further energy conversion and purification of water inventories first collected in conjunction with decomposition of gas hydrates.

[0053] Figure 6A is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system 600 ("system 600") shown in another representative environment in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology, and Figure 6B is an enlarged operational view of a portion of the system 600 of Figure 6A. The system 600 can include a thermal transfer device 650 ("device 650") that absorbs heat from a geothermal formation 660 and expels heat to a factory, building, or other structure 662. The device 650 can be generally similar to the devices 200 described with reference to Figures 2A and 2B. For example, as shown in Figure 6B, the device 650 can drive the vapor phase 122a of the working fluid 122 up the conduit 102 and return the liquid phase 122b to a hot interface (e.g., the first end cap 108, not shown) via a gravitational force. In operation, the device 650 can capture the thermal energy supplied by the geothermal formation 660 and transfer it to the structure 662 where it can be used to provide heat, electricity, and/or otherwise utilize the thermal energy transferred to the structure 662. In other embodiments, the system 600 can be used to transfer heat away from the structure 662 and/or other formation. For example, the system 600 can be installed such that the structure 662 transmits heat to the device 650 and transfers it to another structure, engine, and/or other location spaced apart from the structure 662. As another example, the system 600 can be installed such that the device 650 transfers heat away from permafrost and into a heat sink not negatively affected by additional heat (e.g., outer space).

[0054] Figure 7A is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system 700 ("system 700") shown in yet another representative environment in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology, and Figures 7B and 7C are enlarged operational views of portions of the system 700 of Figure 7A. The system 700 can include a thermal transfer device 750 ("device 750") that includes features generally similar as the devices 100 and 300 described above with reference to Figures 1 , 3A, and 3B such that the device 750 can operate the vaporization-condensation cycle in both directions. For example, as shown in Figure 7B, under a first condition, the device 750 can drive the vapor phase 122a of the working fluid 122 down the conduit 102 and return the liquid phase 122b to the hot interface by capillary action. As shown in Figure 7C, under the second condition the device 750 can drive the vapor phase 122a of the working fluid 122 in the reverse direction, up the conduit 102 and return the liquid phase 122b to the hot interface using capillary action and/or gravitational force.

[0055] This dual-direction system 700 can be used in environments with reversing or otherwise changing temperature differentials. As shown in Figure 7A, for example, the system 700 can operate under the first condition during warmer seasons to absorb solar energy via a solar collector 766. An aquifer 768 positioned at the output portion 106 of the conduit 102 can function as a natural thermal accumulator that can store the heat transferred to it from the system 700. As seasons change, the system 700 can reverse directions and operate under the second condition to transfer the heat of the aquifer 768 to transfer the stored heat to a factory 767 and/or other structure or device that can utilize the thermal energy. Thus, the dual-directional system 700 provides an efficient way to capture solar energy and store it for a later use (e.g., electricity during the winter). Additionally, in certain embodiments, the portion of the device 750 at the aquifer 768 (e.g., the first or second end caps described above) can include an architectural construct (e.g., the architectural constructs 112 described above) that can use its capillary and/or sorbtive properties to selectively filter toxins from aquifer and thereby rehabilitate a previously hazardous aquifer.

[0056] Figure 7D is a schematic view of the system 700 shown in Figures 7A-7C in another representative environment in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology. As shown in Figure 7D, the device 750 can be installed between a dwelling 780 and an insulated structure 782 in the surface of the ground. The insulated structure 782 can be filled with sand, gravel, rocks, water, and/or other suitable materials that can absorb and store heat. In operation, the system 700 can absorb heat with a solar collector 784, transfer heat to the insulated structure 782 via the device 750, and accumulate the heat in the insulated structure 782. The heat stored in the insulated structure 782 can later be used to provide heat or other forms of energy to the dwelling 780. Accordingly, as discussed above, the dual-direction system 700 provides an efficient way to accumulate heat for later use.

[0057] Figure 8A is an enlarged schematic cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer system 800a ("system 800a") in a representative environment in accordance with a further embodiment of the present technology. The system 800a can include a thermal transfer device 850 ("device 850") that has features generally similar to the devices described above. For example, as shown in Figure 8A, the device 850 can include the architectural construct 1 12 with layers 1 14 arranged orthogonally to the sidewall 120 to transfer heat away from the conduit 102. As shown in Figure 8A, the system 800a can also include one or more external conduits 890 positioned along at least a portion of the device 850. The external conduits 890 can include openings 891 in fluid communication with the environment outside of the device 850. In some embodiments, the conduits 890 can be made from the architectural construct 112 and configured to selectively draw in desired substances from outside the conduit 102. For example, the architectural construct 1 12 can use capillary action to drive a preselected liquid through the external conduits 890 and/or use sorbtive properties to adsorb a preselected constituent from the liquid. The preselected liquids and/or constituents can be collected in a harvest located along any portion of the external conduits 890 (e.g., proximate to either of the end caps). In other embodiments, the external conduits 890 can be made from other materials (e.g., plastic tubing, wick structures, etc.) to draw in chemicals, minerals, and/or other substances from outside the device 850.

[0058] As shown in Figure 8A, the system 800a can absorb heat from at least two heat sources spaced apart from one another and expels heat toward a single heat sink to generate two vaporization-condensation cycles within the device 850. In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 8A, for example, the device 850 is installed between a solar collector 882 and a submarine geothermal formation 884 and releases heat at a submarine heat sink (e.g., proximate to an ocean floor 886). The system 800a thus includes one vaporization-condensation cycle spaced above the ocean floor 886 and one spaced below the ocean floor 886. Advantageously, the heat outputs from the two vaporization-condensation cycles can combine to generate a greater heat output from the system 800a than either cycle could individually. In selected embodiments, the system 800a can harvest thermal energy released from the device 850 to power turbines, another engine, and/or other suitable devices above or below the water.

[0059] The system 800a can also utilize the increased heat output of the dual vaporization-condensation cycles to release gas hydrates (e.g., methane hydrates) from their present state (i.e., ice crystals) such as described in U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,228, entitled GAS HYDRATE CONVERSION SYSTEM FOR HARVESTING HYDROCARBON HYDRATE DEPOSITS, filed August 16, 2010. As shown in Figure 8A, for example, the system 800a can be positioned proximate to a deposit 888 of gas hydrates at the ocean floor 886 such that the heat output of the system 800a can increase the local temperature of the deposit 888, melt the gas hydrate ice crystals, and release the gas hydrates. The gas hydrates can be drawn through the external conduits 890 to a harvest where they can be used for fuel, manufacturing materials, and/or other suitable applications. In some embodiments, carbon dioxide can drive the released gas hydrate through the external conduits 890. In other embodiments, the architectural construct 112 can be configured to selectively draw up the gas hydrate using capillary action. In other embodiments, the gas hydrates can be drawn through the external conduits 890 by a pump and/or other suitable liquid driving device.

[0060] Advantageously, the increased heat output of the system 800a can increase the local temperature of the deposit 888 faster and higher than a single vaporization- condensation cycle system to more efficiently harvest the gas hydrates. Additionally, as shown in Figure 8A, the heat transferred outward from the architectural construct 112 positioned at the sidewall 120 of the conduit 102 can transfer additional heat to the deposit 888 to further speed the release of the gas hydrates. The increased heat output of the system 800a can also increase the local temperature of a greater area of the deposit 888. For example, in some embodiments, the system 800a warms several square miles of the deposit 888 at one time. Therefore, the dual vaporization- condensation cycle increases the zone of influence that the system 800a can have over the deposit 888.

[0061] Figure 8B is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system 800b ("system 800b") in a representative environment in accordance with an embodiment of the disclosure. The system 800b can include generally similar features as the system 800a discussed above. For example, the system 800b can include the device 850 and the external conduit 890 configured to draw in desired fluids from the external environment. Additionally, the system 800b can be installed between two heat sources (e.g., the solar collector 882 and the geothermal formation 884) spaced apart from one another and a heat sink (e.g., proximate to the ocean floor 886) therebetween to effectuate two vaporization-condensation cycles that have a combined heat output. Similar to the system 800a described above, the system 800b shown in Figure 8B can transfer heat from the device 850 to a methane hydrate deposit 894. As discussed above, the dual vaporization-condensation cycle device 850b has a broad zone of influence over the methane deposit 894 such that the system 800b can efficiently harvest methane above and/or below the surface of the water.

[0062] In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 8B, the system 800b further includes a barrier film 896a over the zone of influence of the system 800b and a methane conduit 898 configured to receive methane from beneath the barrier film 896a. The barrier film 896a can be made of a non-pervious film, such as polyethylene, that prevents methane from escaping from the system 800b and releasing dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In selected embodiments, the barrier film 896 can be configured to distribute heat released from the device 850 to further increase the zone of influence of the system 800b. As further shown in Figure 8B, the system 800b can also include second barrier film 896b at the surface of the water to further ensure methane does not escape the system 800b. As further shown in Figure 8B, the system 800b can include an optional permeable film 897 that can permit methane to pass through it and block carbon dioxide and water such that only methane flows between the barrier film 896a and the methane permeable film 897 to the methane conduit 898. Accordingly, the methane can flow through the methane conduit 898 where the methane can be harvested for fuel, carbon materials, and/or other suitable purposes. The water and carbon dioxide blocked by the methane permeable layer 897 can flow up the external conduit 890 using lift from the carbon dioxide and/or capillary action. In selected embodiments, the external conduit 890 can be made from an architectural construct loaded with carbon dioxide such that the architectural construct 112 adsorbs carbon dioxide as it travels through the external conduit 890 and only the water is delivered from the external conduit 890. In other embodiments, the system 800b can be installed such that the external conduit 890, rather than the methane conduit 898, draws up the methane hydrate. In other embodiments, the system 800b can be used to harvest another gas hydrate and/or other substance released by heating the ocean floor 886 and/or other geothermal formation.

[0063] In selected embodiments, the system 800b can include an underwater methane harvest that can be used to drive a turbine 895 used to accelerate the flow of the working fluid 122 through the device 850. In other embodiments, the methane can be used to drive other underwater systems. In further embodiments, the system 800 can include a thermal deposit at the heat output of the system 800b to store heat for subsequent methane hydrate collection and/or drive systems above and/or below the surface of the water. For example, the thermal harvest can collect heat released from the system 800b and transport it via conduits to portions of the methane deposit 894 spaced beyond the zone of influence of the system 800b and/or other methane deposits.

[0064] As further shown in Figure 8B, the system 800b can further include an oxygen conduit 899 and an engine 801. The oxygen conduit 899 can drive oxygen from above the water or another oxygen source and deliver it to the engine 801 installed below the barrier layer 896a. The engine 803 can burn the oxygen delivered by the oxygen conduit 899 and the hydrogen produced as the system 800b (i.e., CH 4 + HEAT -> C + 2H 2 ) to provide hot steam to the methane deposit 894. The additional heat from the engine 803 can liberate additional methane. The engine 801 can be any suitable engine that delivers hot steam, such as a turbine. [0065] Figure 9A is a cross-sectional view of a thermal transfer system 900 ("system 900") in an additional representative environment in accordance with an embodiment of the present technology, and Figure 9B is an enlarged view of detail 9B of Figure 9A. The system 900 can include a thermal transfer device 950 ("device 950") that includes features generally similar to the devices described above. The system 900 shown in Figures 9A and 9B is installed in a microscopic environment, rather than the macroscopic systems shown in Figures 5A-8B, for use as a sensor or other type of monitor as described in U.S. Patent Application entitled METHODS, DEVICES, AND SYSTEMS FOR DETECTING PROPERTIES OF TARGET SAMPLES (Attorney Docket No. 69545-8801 US1), filed February 14, 2011 , concurrently herewith and incorporated by reference in its entirety. In other embodiments, the system 900 can be used for other microscopic applications that benefit from heat transfer.

[0066] In the embodiment illustrated in Figures 9A and 9B together, a tube 903 and a fitting 905 are sealed together. For example, the tube 903 and the fitting 905 are sealed together by tightening a nut 907. One or more devices 950 can be positioned between a tube 903 and the fitting 907 to test for incipient leaks of a fluid 909 running through the tube 903. For example, the devices 950 can sense the presence of the fluid 909 and/or the composition of the fluid 909. In selected embodiments, the device 950 can include a sensor positioned within an architectural construct (e.g., the architectural construct 112 described above). The architectural construct can be configured to selectively adsorb a predetermined constituent of the fluid 909 such that the sensor can determine the presence and/or trend in the presence of the predetermined constituent. In other embodiments, the architectural construct can be configured to selectively transfer a target sample of the fluid 909 or a constituent thereof to a reservoir (e.g., the liquid reservoir 124 described above) that includes a sensor to monitor or otherwise test the sample. In further embodiments, the devices 950 can be otherwise positioned to monitor other aspects of the system 900.

[0067] Figure 10 is a schematic view of a thermal transfer device 1000 configured in accordance with a further embodiment of the present technology. The device 1000 can include features and functions generally similar to the devices described above. However, the device 1000 shown in Figure 10 has a different aspect ratio than the devices shown above. More specifically, the first and second end caps 108 and 110 and the sidewall 120 are closer in length such that the device 1000 forms a wide conduit 102. Such an aspect ratio is well suited for transferring heat through a room. For example, the device 1000 can be used for dry cleaning. Garments can be positioned within the conduit 102, and the vapor phase 122a of the working fluid 122 (e.g., C0 2 ) can capture dirt, oils, and other filth from the garments as it moves through the conduit 102. The filth can be filtered from the device 1000 at the second end cap 110 with the architectural construct 112 and/or another suitable filter. Thus, rather than conventional dry cleaning methods that use toxic chemicals to clean clothes, the heat transfer provided by the device can be utilized to clean clothes. In other embodiments, the device 1000 can be used for other suitable heat transfer methods and/or the aspect ratio of the device 1000 can have other suitable variations.

[0068] Figure 11 is a schematic view of a thermal transfer system 1100 ("system 1100") shown in a representative environment in accordance with yet another embodiment of the present technology. The system 1100 shown in Figure 11 can include a thermal transfer device 1150 ("device 1150") that has features generally similar to the thermal transfer devices described above. For example, the device 1150 can transfer heat utilizing a vaporization-condensation cycle of the working fluid 122 within the conduit 102. As shown in Figure 11 , the system 1100 can further include a solar collector 1121 configured to concentrate heat and deliver it to a first pipe 1123. A pump 1125 can be operably coupled to the first pipe 1123 to drive a fluid (e.g., the working fluid 122) within the first pipe 1123 to a first heat exchanger 1127 proximate to the input portion 104 of the device 1150. The first heat exchanger 127 can heat and vaporize the fluid within the first pipe 1123 and thereby deliver heat to the input portion 104 of the device 1150. As shown in Figure 11 , the working fluid 122 can vaporize at the input portion 104 and circulate through the device 1150 to release heat at the output portion 106. The device 1150 can utilize the released heat for domestic water heating, crop drying, and other suitable applications.

[0069] In selected embodiments, the working fluid 122 flows through the first pipe 1121 such that the device 50 can apply capillary pressure to the working fluid 122 using the architectural construct 112 such that the working fluid 122 is drawn into the conduit 102. In other embodiments, the vaporized fluid emitted by the heat exchanger 1127 can be filtered by the architectural construct 112 to selectively admit one or more desired substances (e.g., chemicals that catalyze with the working fluid 122) into the conduit 102.

[0070] As shown in Figure 11 , the system 1100 can further include a second heat source 1129 (i.e., separate from the solar collector 1121) that can be used in conjunction with the solar collector 1121 to increase the heat influx to the device 1150 and/or to replace the solar collector 1121 when solar heating is unavailable or not desired. The second heat source 1129 can be a wind generator as shown in Figure 11 , resistive or inductive heating by grid power, and/or other suitable heat transmitting devices. In the embodiment illustrated in Figure 11 , the second heat source 1129 is coupled to a second pipe 1133 and a second heat exchanger 1131 that transfer heat to the input portion 104 of the device 1150. In other embodiments, the second heat source 1129 is connected to the first pipe 1121 and the first heat exchanger 1123.

[0071] Additionally, as shown in Figure 11 , the system 1100 can further include a supplementary processing portion 1135 positioned proximate to the input portion 104 such that heat is transmitted from the first and/or second heat exchangers 1127 and 1131 to the supplementary processing portion 1135. The supplementary processing portion 1135 can be used to provide additional manufacturing and/or services to the system 1100. For example, the supplementary processing portion 1135 can be used for drying fruit, dehydrating maple syrup to provide surplus water, and/or removing preselected substances such as flavinoids by the architectural construct 1 12.

[0072] The present application incorporates by reference in its entirety the subject matter of the following applications: U.S. Patent Application, entitled METHODS AND APPARATUSES FOR DETECTION OF PROPERTIES OF FLUID CONVEYANCE SYSTEMS (Attorney Docket No. 69545-8801 US1); U.S. Patent Application, entitled ARCHITECTURAL CONSTRUCT HAVING FOR EXAMPLE A PLURALITY OF ARCHITECTURAL CRYSTALS (Attorney Docket No. 69545-8701 US); U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,546, filed on August 16, 2010, and entitled INCREASING THE EFFICIENCY OF SUPPLEMENTED OCEAN THERMAL ENERGY CONVERSION

(SOTEC) SYSTEMS; U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,228, entitled GAS HYDRATE CONVERSION SYSTEM FOR HARVESTING HYDROCARBON HYDRATE DEPOSITS, filed August 16, 2010, all of which are herein incorporated by reference in their entirety.

[0073] From the foregoing, it will be appreciated that specific embodiments of the disclosure have been described herein for purposes of illustration, but that various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, any of the thermal transfer devices discussed above can have a different aspect ratio (e.g., between the sidewall 120 and the first and second end caps 108 and 110) than those shown in Figures 1-1 1 to accommodate differing applications. Certain aspects of the new technology described in the context of particular embodiments may be combined or eliminated in other embodiments. For example, the thermal transfer devices shown in Figures 3A-4C and 6A-10 can include the liquid reservoir and/or controller described with reference to Figure 1. Additionally, while advantages associated with certain embodiments of the new technology have been described in the context of those embodiments, other embodiments may also exhibit such advantages, but not all of the embodiments within the scope of the technology necessarily exhibit such advantages. Accordingly, the disclosure and associated technology can encompass other embodiments not expressly shown or described herein. Moreover, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, throughout the description and the claims, the words "comprise," "comprising," and the like are to be construed in an inclusive sense as opposed to an exclusive or exhaustive sense; that is to say, in a sense of "including, but not limited to." Words using the singular or plural number also include the plural or singular number, respectively. When the claims use the word "or" in reference to a list of two or more items, that word covers all of the following interpretations of the word: any of the items in the list, all of the items in the list, and any combination of the items in the list.

[0074] Features of the various embodiments described above can be combined to provide further embodiments. All of the U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety. Aspects of the disclosure can be modified, if necessary, to employ fuel injectors and ignition devices with various configurations, and concepts of the various patents, applications, and publications to provide yet further embodiments of the disclosure.

[0075] These and other changes can be made to the disclosure in light of the above-detailed description. In general, in the following claims, the terms used should not be construed to limit the disclosure to the specific embodiments disclosed in the specification and the claims, but should be construed to include all systems and methods that operate in accordance with the claims. Accordingly, the invention is not limited by the disclosure, but instead its scope is to be determined broadly by the following claims.

[0076] To the extent not previously incorporated herein by reference, the present application incorporates by reference in their entirety the subject matter of each of the following materials: U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,553, filed on August 16, 2010 and titled SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGH INTEGRATED PRODUCTION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY, MATERIALS RESOURCES, AND NUTRIENT REGIMES; U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,553, filed on August 16, 2010 and titled SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGH INTEGRATED FULL SPECTRUM PRODUCTION OF RENEWABLE ENERGY; U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,554, filed on August 16, 2010 and titled SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THROUGH INTEGRATED FULL SPECTRUM PRODUCTION OF RENEWABLE MATERIAL RESOURCES USING SOLAR THERMAL; U.S. Patent Application No. 12/857,502, filed on August 16, 2010 and titled ENERGY SYSTEM FOR DWELLING SUPPORT; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8505.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled DELIVERY SYSTEMS WITH IN-LINE SELECTIVE EXTRACTION DEVICES AND ASSOCIATED METHODS OF OPERATION; U.S. Patent Application No. 61/401 ,699, filed on August 16, 2010 and titled COMPREHENSIVE COST MODELING OF AUTOGENOUS SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES FOR THE PRODUCTION OF ENERGY, MATERIAL RESOURCES AND NUTRIENT REGIMES; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8601. US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled CHEMICAL PROCESSES AND REACTORS FOR EFFICIENTLY PRODUCING HYDROGEN FUELS AND STRUCTURAL MATERIALS, AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8602.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled REACTOR VESSELS WITH TRANSMISSIVE SURFACES FOR PRODUCING HYDROGEN-BASED FUELS AND STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS, AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8603.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled CHEMICAL REACTORS WITH RE-RADIATING SURFACES AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8605. US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled CHEMICAL REACTORS WITH ANNULARLY POSITIONED DELIVERY AND REMOVAL DEVICES, AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8606.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled REACTORS FOR CONDUCTING THERMOCHEMICAL PROCESSES WITH SOLAR HEAT INPUT, AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8608. US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled INDUCTION FOR THERMOCHEMICAL PROCESS, AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8611.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled COUPLED THERMOCHEMICAL REACTORS AND ENGINES, AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS; U.S. Patent Application No. 61/385,508, filed on September 22, 2010 and titled REDUCING AND HARVESTING DRAG ENERGY ON MOBILE ENGINES USING THERMAL CHEMICAL REGENERATION; Attorney Docket No. 69545- 8616.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled REACTOR VESSELS WITH PRESSURE AND HEAT TRANSFER FEATURES FOR PRODUCING HYDROGEN- BASED FUELS AND STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS, AND ASSOCIATED SYSTEMS AND METHODS; Attorney Docket No. 69545-8701. US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled ARCHITECTURAL CONSTRUCT HAVING FOR EXAMPLE A PLURALITY OF ARCHITECTURAL CRYSTALS; U.S. Patent Application No. 12/806,634, filed on August 16, 2010 and titled METHODS AND APPARATUSES FOR DETECTION OF PROPERTIES OF FLUID CONVEYANCE SYSTEMS; Attorney Docket No. 69545- 8801. US01 , filed on February 14, 2011 and titled METHODS, DEVICES, AND SYSTEMS FOR DETECTING PROPERTIES OF TARGET SAMPLES; Attorney Docket No. 69545-9002. US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled SYSTEM FOR PROCESSING BIOMASS INTO HYDROCARBONS, ALCOHOL VAPORS, HYDROGEN, CARBON, ETC.; Attorney Docket No. 69545-9004.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled CARBON RECYCLING AND REINVESTMENT USING THERMOCHEMICAL REGENERATION; Attorney Docket No. 69545-9006.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled OXYGENATED FUEL; U.S. Patent Application No. 61/237,419, filed on August 27, 2009 and titled CARBON SEQUESTRATION; U.S. Patent Application No. 61/237,425, filed on August 27, 2009 and titled OXYGENATED FUEL PRODUCTION; Attorney Docket No. 69545-9102.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled MULTI-PURPOSE RENEWABLE FUEL FOR ISOLATING CONTAMINANTS AND STORING ENERGY; U.S. Patent Application No. 61/421 ,189, filed on December 8, 2010 and titled LIQUID FUELS FROM HYDROGEN, OXIDES OF CARBON, AND/OR NITROGEN; AND PRODUCTION OF CARBON FOR MANUFACTURING DURABLE GOODS; and Attorney Docket No. 69545-9105.US00, filed on February 14, 2011 and titled ENGINEERED FUEL STORAGE, RESPECIATION AND TRANSPORT.