Multi-stage storage system

Abstract

The present invention discloses a multi-stage storage system that includes multiple storage modules that are coupled, with one or more coupled storage modules of the multiple storage modules defining one or more stages of the multi-stage storage system, with fluid concurrently maintained at various temperatures, which depends on fluid position within one or more stages and operational phases of the multi-stage storage system.

Claims

1 . A apparatus, comprising: a multi-stage storage system that includes: multiple storage modules that are coupled, with one or more coupled storage modules of the multiple storage modules defining one or more stages of the multi-stage storage system, with fluid concurrently maintained at various temperatures, depending on fluid position within one or more stages and operational phases of the multi-stage storage system. 2 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 1 , wherein: one or more stages are independent. 3 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 1 , wherein: a stage of one or more stages is independent of a next, subsequent stage of one or more stages. 4 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 1 , wherein: the fluid is concurrently maintained at various temperatures, at an inactive phase of operation, with one or more final storage modules maintaining fluid at a final temperature at an active phase of operation. 5 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 4 , wherein: a storage module of one or more coupled storage modules is coupled in with a next, subsequent storage module of one or more coupled storage modules. 6 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 4 , wherein: one or more first storage modules of multiple storage modules are coupled with a main inlet for receiving fluid; and one or more final storage modules of multiple storage modules are coupled with one or more main outlets for outputting fluid. 7 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 1 , wherein: a storage module has an outlet that is coupled with one or more inlet of one or more subsequent storage module. 8 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 1 , wherein: at least one storage module is coupled with a next, subsequent storage module via a transfer control mechanism for controlled movement of fluid between storage modules. 9 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 1 , wherein: at least one storage module is coupled with a transfer control mechanism for controlled movement of fluid between storage modules. 10 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 9 , wherein: the at least one storage module is a first storage module. 11 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 1 , wherein: an outlet of a storage module is coupled with a tube with an inlet of a next, subsequent storage module. 12 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 2 , wherein: a storage module includes a temperature variant system that maintains the fluid in that storage module at a desired temperature. 13 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 3 , wherein: the temperature variant system is an electric based system. 14 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 4 , wherein: the electric based system is an electric heater comprised of heating element. 15 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 5 , wherein: the heating element is coupled with an electrical control module that supplies electrical power from a power source to the heating element. 16 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 5 , wherein: a storage module is coupled with an inlet tube that has a first distal end for receiving fluid from a preceding storage module, and a second distal end positioned within a next, subsequent storage module, oriented to horizontally discharge and propel fluid at an interior bottom of the next, subsequent storage module, compelling horizontally discharged fluid therein to swirl within the next, subsequent storage module to maximize contact of fluid with an element therein, generating fluid stratification with respect to temperature within the next, subsequent storage module, whereby fluid with highest temperature is at a highest level of stratification. 17 . The apparatus as set forth in claim 5 , wherein: a first storage module is coupled with a main inlet that has a first distal end for receiving fluid from a source, with the main inlet having a second distal end coupled with a first end of a transfer control mechanism, with a second end of the transfer control mechanism coupled with main input port of the first storage module via a first distal end of a main tube, with a second distal end of the main tube positioned within the first storage module, oriented to horizontally discharge and propel fluid at an interior bottom of the first storage module, compelling horizontally discharged fluid therein to swirl within the first storage module to maximize contact of fluid with a first element therein, generating fluid stratification with respect to temperature within the first storage module, whereby fluid with highest temperature is at a highest level of stratification. 18 . A method for varying fluid temperature within a system, comprising: separating fluid into different stages; maintaining fluid at each stage at a first set of various temperatures during a first operational phase; and maintaining fluid at each stage at a second set of various temperatures during a second operational phase; wherein the fluid is concurrently maintained at various temperatures and at different stages, dictated by the first and second operational phases.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS [0001] This Application claims the benefit of priority of the co-pending U.S. Utility Provisional Patent Application No. 61/485,565 filed May 12, 2012, the entire disclosure of which is expressly incorporated by reference herein. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION [0002] 1. Field of the Invention [0003] This invention relates to a multi-stage storage system and, more particularly to a multi-stage fluid storage system that concurrently maintains fluid at different temperatures, stages and operational phases of the system. [0004] 2. Description of Related Art [0005] Conventional water heaters are well known and have been in use for a number of years. Most conventional water heaters use a single large tank that continuously maintains large volume of water at a generally constant high temperature (e.g., approximately about 190° F.) ready for use, regardless of the need for the large volume of heated water by the consumers. That is, the amount of large volume of heated water in a conventional water heater tank usually greatly exceeds the maximum required amount needed for a normal consumption (e.g., making tea or coffee, washing hands, or washing a dish, a cup, etc.). This makes conventional water heaters inefficient in that they require large quantity of energy to continuously maintain the large volume of water in the tank at a constant temperature, even though only a small fraction of heated water may be needed for general consumption at any moment in time. Further, as a result of constant application of high temperature, the components that constitute a typical water heater degrade faster and become prone to failure due to a variety of reasons, including material expansion, making the conventional water heaters unreliable. [0006] Additional disadvantages with conventional water heaters are related to required additional safety equipment to account for the required thermal cycling of water at close to boiling points. Constantly maintaining water near the boiling point may result in increased pressure (due to the expansion of potentially boiling water) within the tank, which requires complex pressure releasing mechanisms to drain the expanded boiling water from the tank, relieving built-up pressure within the tank. Non-limiting examples of pressure releasing mechanisms may include the use of pressure relief valves or other added external thermal cycling relieving systems such as an external chamber that takes in the additional volume of water (expanded due to the temperature increase in the water). That is, the additional increase in the volume of water due to the increased temperature back-expands into the added accumulator chamber to absorb and relieve pressure in the main tank. In most cases, most conventional water heaters require users to make manual adjustments to the temperature applied to the tank, taking into consideration many factors, a non-limiting example of which may include their geographic position (their altitude) because water boils at a lower temperature when heated at high altitude above the sea level. [0007] Accordingly, in light of the current state of the art and the drawbacks to current water heaters mentioned above, a need exists for an apparatus that would provide a multi-stage storage system for concurrently maintaining fluid at different temperatures, depending on fluid position within the different stages and operational phase of the system. BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION [0008] A non-limiting exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides an apparatus, comprising: a multi-stage storage system that includes: multiple storage modules that are coupled, with one or more coupled storage modules of the multiple storage modules defining one or more stages of the multi-stage storage system, with fluid concurrently maintained at various temperatures, depending on fluid position within one or more stages and operational phases of the multi-stage storage system. [0011] Another non-limiting exemplary embodiment of the present invention provides a method for varying fluid temperature within a system, comprising: separating fluid into different stages; maintaining fluid at each stage at a first set of various temperatures during a first operational phase; and maintaining fluid at each stage at a second set of various temperatures during a second operational phase; wherein the fluid is concurrently maintained at various temperatures and at different stages, dictated by the first and second operational phases. [0016] Such stated advantages of the invention are only examples and should not be construed as limiting the present invention. These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent to those skilled in the art from the following detailed description of preferred non-limiting exemplary embodiments, taken together with the drawings and the claims that follow. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS [0017] It is to be understood that the drawings are to be used for the purposes of exemplary illustration only and not as a definition of the limits of the invention. Throughout the disclosure, the word “exemplary” is used exclusively to mean “serving as an example, instance, or illustration.” Any embodiment described as “exemplary” is not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other embodiments. [0018] Referring to the drawings in which like reference character(s) present corresponding part(s) throughout: [0019] FIG. 1A is a non-limiting, exemplary illustration of a multi-stage storage system in accordance with the present invention [0020] FIG. 1B is a non-limiting, exemplary illustration of an alternate embodiment of a multi-storage system in accordance with the present invention; [0021] FIG. 2A is a non-limiting, exemplary top view illustration of a first storage module shown in FIGS. 1A in accordance with the present invention, and FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view of the same shown in FIG. 2A ; [0022] FIG. 3A is a non-limiting, exemplary top view illustration of final storage module shown in FIG. 1A in accordance with the present invention, and FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the same shown in FIG. 3A ; [0023] FIG. 4 is a non-limiting exemplary illustration of a phase switch in accordance with the present invention; and [0024] FIG. 5 is a non-limiting, exemplary illustration of circuit topography of the electrical system shown in FIG. 1A in accordance with the present invention. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION [0025] The detailed description set forth below in connection with the appended drawings is intended as a description of presently preferred embodiments of the invention and is not intended to represent the only forms in which the present invention may be constructed and or utilized. [0026] Throughout the disclosure, references to “water” or “water heater” are meant as illustrative and for convenience of example, only. That is, the use of the multi-stage storage system of the present invention should not be limited to water or heating of water but is also contemplated in applications for cooling fluids without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. The use of the term fluid is not limited to liquids, but may include gases or other finally granulated solids that behave like fluids. [0027] The present invention provides an apparatus and a method that includes a multi-stage storage system for concurrently maintaining fluid at various temperatures, depending on fluid position within the different stages and operational phase of the system. That is, instead of using one single large tank for continuously maintaining fluid therein at a constantly high temperature near boiling (as described above), the present invention divides the large volume of fluid in the single large tank into multiple, smaller storage modules, maintaining each at different temperatures depending on instantaneous use, which form the multi-stage fluid storage system of the present invention. The level of granulation of fluid in the single large tank into smaller storage modules (i.e., the amount by which fluid in a large tank may be divided into smaller storage modules) depends on application and use. The division of the larger fluid into multiple smaller storage modules and maintaining the fluids at different temperature based on use (or need) provides a more efficient system that uses much less energy, and is more reliable. [0028] Accordingly, the present invention provides an apparatus, comprising a multi-stage storage system that includes multiple storage modules that are coupled with one another, with one or more coupled storage modules of the multiple storage modules defining one or more stages of the multi-stage storage system, with fluid concurrently maintained at various temperatures, depending on fluid position within one or more stages and operational phases of the multi-stage storage system. [0029] FIG. 1A is a non-limiting, exemplary illustration of a multi-stage storage system in accordance with the present invention. As illustrated, the entire multi-stage storage system 100 may be accommodated inside a compact housing or cabinet 102 that can easily fit underneath a fixture (e.g., bathroom or kitchen fixtures), with a main inlet 108 extending out of the housing 102 and to be coupled with a supply source of fluid 110 (e.g., city water, a filtering system, etc.) and a main outlet 112 extending out of the housing 102 and to be coupled with a fixture (not shown). As described in more details below, the present invention efficiently provides conditioned fluid (e.g., heated water) on demand but without wasting energy because it does not continuously maintain water at a constant temperature near boiling point. This also obviates issues with respect to reliability and required safety equipment to account for the thermal cycling of fluid near boiling point. [0030] The multi-stage storage system 100 includes at least one or more first storage modules that may be coupled with the main inlet 108 for receiving fluid 110 , and at least one or more final storage modules 106 that may be coupled with one or more main outlets 112 for outputting fluid. The multi-stage storage system 100 includes the exemplary one or more first storage modules 104 in the form of a larger sized tank that can retain a larger volume of fluid continuously at a substantially constant first temperature, non-limiting example of which may depend on application and use, for example, the temperature may range from ambient temperature to approximately 120° F. or 125° F. Fluid may be maintained at a substantially first constant temperature within the first storage module 104 by a variety of well known mechanisms, non-limiting example of which may include a combination of an electrically controlled thermostatic temperature controller 114 and over temperature protection mechanism 116 A, both of which are electrically coupled to a power source through wiring 118 , and controlled by a power ON/OFF switch 120 . Non-limiting, exemplary circuit topography for powering the entire multi-stage storage system 100 is illustrated in FIG. 5 , detailed below. [0031] In general, water is known to expand at less than ½ percent at temperatures of about 120° F. to approximately 125° F. The benefit of maintaining water at about 120° F. to approximately 125° F. is that additional safety equipment to account for the thermal cycling of water at close to boiling points would no longer be required or needed. In addition, less energy is used to maintain the smaller volume of water at about 120° F. to approximately 125° F. than a larger volume in a single tank at 190° F., and because of application of lower temperature, the reliability and life span of the one or more first storage modules 104 is also increased. [0032] As further illustrated in FIG. 1A , a storage module of one or more coupled storage modules is coupled with a next, subsequent storage module of one or more coupled storage modules. In particular, the multi-stage storage system 100 also includes one or more final storage modules 106 in the form of a smaller tank that retains water at ambient temperature during an inactive phase of operation of the multi-stage storage system 100 , and significantly increases water temperature to near boiling point at an active phase of operation of the multi-stage storage system 100 to provide heated water on demand. It should be noted that one or more stages of the multi-stage storage system 100 may be independent of one another. That is, a stage of one or more stages may be independent of a next, subsequent stage of one or more stages. [0033] Regardless, the final storage module 106 may be though of as an on demand storage unit that quickly varies the temperature of fluid therein and discharges the fluid via the illustrated main outlet 112 at a new temperature, only when needed. The benefit of maintaining water at ambient temperature during the inactive (or static) phase is that no energy is used, and tank reliability (or life span) improves. This is particularly beneficial in terms of efficiency when considering that in majority of times the system 100 is idle, operating in the inactive phase. Additionally, since during the inactive phase the water is maintained at ambient temperature and in the active phase water is at near boiling, but discharged immediate, there would be no need or requirement for additional safety equipment to account for the thermal cycling of water at close to boiling points. It should be noted that the final storage module 106 may be maintained at a predetermined temperature (during an inactive phase of operation) that can include ambient, but which also can be at some pre-set elevated temperature as well. This way, fluid within the entire multi-stage storage system 100 is concurrently maintained at various temperatures (depending on fluid position within various stages of the system 100 ). Fluid temperature further varies depending on active/inactive phase of operation, with one or more final storage modules 106 maintaining fluid at a final desired temperature (prior to discharge from the main outlet 112 ) at an active phase of operation. All variations in temperatures for fluids may be accomplished by use of well-known energy efficient control systems like a thyristor that may control a heating mechanism in the final storage module 106 to maintain the temperature at some constant different set point. The control system itself may further comprise of the exemplary illustrated conventional over temperature protection 116 B, all of which are electrically coupled with a power source (best shown in FIG. 5 ). [0034] The active phase of operation of the multi-stage storage system 100 commences when an attached fixture (not shown) such as a faucet is turned ON to discharge water from the final storage module 106 via the main outlet 112 , with the active phase referring to the movement of fluid within the multi-stage storage system 100 . In general, the water within the multi-stage storage system 100 is maintained under a predetermined pressure, similar to most conventional water heater systems. That is, when the faucet is turned ON, water under pressure moves from a storage module (e.g., first storage module 104 ) at the first temperature and into the a next storage module (e.g., final storage module 106 ) where water temperature is significantly increased before it is discharged through the faucet. [0035] During the inactive (or static or idle) phase, the fluid in the system is maintained under pressure and is substantially idle. During the inactive phase fluid in the final storage module 106 is preferably maintained by default at ambient temperature. Maintaining fluid temperature at low or even ambient temperature levels within the first storage module 104 and at ambient temperature in the final storage module 106 improves reliability (i.e., working life span) for storage modules with increased efficiency. [0036] Efficiency and reliability is improved because in general, the duration of the inactive phase is much longer than the duration of the active phase of the system. That is, for a normal consumption (e.g. making coffee or tea, washing hands, or washing a dish, a cup, etc.) the active phase is only a very short time period, with the rest of the time the system remaining in inactive phase (or idle). [0037] FIG. 2A is a non-limiting, exemplary top view illustration of first storage module shown in FIG. 1A in accordance with the present invention, and FIG. 2B is a cross-sectional view of the same shown in FIG. 2A . As illustrated in FIGS. 1A , 2 A, and 2 B, the first storage module 104 is coupled with a main inlet 108 that has a first distal end 122 for receiving fluid 110 from a source. The main inlet 108 has a second distal end 124 coupled with a first end of a transfer control mechanism 126 . That is, at least one storage module is coupled with a transfer control mechanism 126 for controlled movement of fluid between storage modules. In this non-limiting, exemplary instance, the at least one storage module is the first storage module 104 . [0038] As best illustrated in an alternative embodiment shown in FIG. 1B , the transfer control mechanism 126 (with a flow control 227 and phase switch 229 ) may also be positioned in between the storage modules. That is, at least one storage module 104 may be coupled with a next, subsequent storage module 106 via a transfer control mechanism 226 for controlled movement of fluid between storage modules. The first storage module 104 of FIG. 1B is coupled with a main inlet 122 (at a bottom thereof) for receiving fluid 110 from a source. The first storage module 104 of FIG. 1B also has an outlet 130 that is coupled with an inlet 150 of the final storage module 106 by the transfer control mechanism 226 for controlled movement of fluid between storage modules. That is, the flexible tube 132 from the outlet 130 of the first storage module 104 is coupled with the transfer control mechanism 226 , which, in turn, is coupled with the inlet 150 of the final storage module 106 . [0039] It should be noted that at least only a single transfer control mechanism 226 may be used for the entire multi-stage storage system 100 , regardless of the number of storage modules or stages thereof. For example, the multi-stage storage system 100 may comprise of any number and combinations of parallel and or series coupled storage modules, with the entire system using at least a single transfer control mechanism 226 . [0040] For a series connection, the entire system is a single pass through system, allowing continuous, uninterrupted flow of fluid. That is, the same fluid flowing through the first module, will flow through the subsequent modules, with the volumetric fluid input equaling volumetric fluid output. Therefore, a single transfer control mechanism 226 positioned along any section of the entire series coupled system easily controls movement of fluid. However, for parallel arrangements one or more transfer control mechanism 226 may be required for a controlled parallel movement of fluid. In general, it is preferred to position the transfer control mechanism 226 upstream of the first storage module because of temperature sensitivity of the flow control switch 227 . That is, fluid from source entering the first storage module has a lower temperature and therefore, increases the longevity of the flow control switch. [0041] The transfer control mechanism 226 is comprised of a flow control 227 and a phase switch 229 . A non-limiting example of a flow control 227 may include a needle valve (which is well-known and has been in use for a number of years). Needle valves 227 are used for regulating the flow rate of fluid and, more specifically, the present invention uses needle valves to maintain a regulated (preferably, low) flow rate of fluid from a storage module to a next storage module. The preferred low flow rate of fluid from the first storage module 104 (wherein the fluid is kept at the first temperature) enables the final storage module 106 sufficient time to vary its stored fluid temperature from the second temperature at an inactive (static) phase of operation to the third temperature at an active (dynamic) phase of operation without the final storage module 106 being overwhelmed by the inflow of fluid from the first storage module 104 . The phase switch 229 stops and prevents supply of power to the first heating element 204 ( FIG. 2B ) and routes (or switches) supply of power to the second heating element 304 ( FIG. 3B ) during the active operational phase. When in the inactive operational phase, the phase switch 229 (by default), prevents activation of the second element 304 in the final storage module 106 . [0042] During the default inactive operational phase, the phase switch 229 enables activation or energizing of the first element 204 in the first storage module 104 based on predetermined criteria. For example, the first element 204 is energized during the inactive phase based on some sensed temperature that may be below or above a certain threshold to maintain the fluid 110 within the first storage module 104 at a first temperature. When the system is in the dynamic (or active) operational phase, the phase switch 229 deactivates the first element 204 in the first storage module 104 and activates the second element 304 in the final storage module 106 . [0043] As best illustrated in FIG. 4 , a non-limiting example of a phase switch (which is very well-known) may include a reed switch 402 . Other types of switches may be used, but the reed switch 402 is most cost effective. The phase switch 229 includes the reed switch 402 with a magnet (in the form of a magnetic “ball”) 404 that is biased away from the reed switch 402 (by a resilient member such as a spring 406 ) but forced near to the reed switch 402 when fluid 110 flows (ingress) through the first storage module 104 , the phase switch 229 itself, exits out of phase switch 229 (egress), and into the final storage module 106 during the active operational phase. The motion of the magnetic ball 404 compelled by flow of fluid 110 against the biasing mechanism 406 is illustrated with the arrow 408 . Once the magnet 404 is forced near the reed switch 402 (compelled by the push of the flow of the fluid 110 to move against the biasing spring 406 , shown as the arrow 408 ), the magnetic field of the magnetic ball 404 now near the reed switch 402 will move the lead or contact 410 of the reed switch 402 from its default (non-actuated) position to its actuated position, to provide a closed circuit condition to energize a coil 412 of a relay switch 140 , which, in turn, provides a closed circuit condition for the second element 304 in the final storage module 106 , enabling flow of supply of power from a power source 416 to the second element 304 . [0044] Referring back to FIG. 1A , a second end of the transfer control mechanism 126 is coupled with main input port 128 of the first storage module 104 via a first distal end of a main tube 202 ( FIG. 2B ). A second distal end of the main tube 202 is positioned within the first storage module 104 , oriented to horizontally discharge and propel fluid 110 at an interior bottom of the first storage module 104 (best illustrated in FIG. 2B ). This compels horizontal discharge of fluid 110 therein to swirl within the first storage module 104 (creating a vortex) to maximize contact of fluid 110 with a first element 204 therein, generating fluid stratification with respect to temperature within the first storage module 104 , whereby fluid with highest temperature is at a highest level of stratification. [0045] As illustrated in FIGS. 1A , 2 A, and 2 B, the first storage module 104 is configured in normal cylindrical body with a domed top. The first storage module 104 also includes fasteners that maintain the first temperature variant system 204 in proper orientation. The first storage module 104 further includes the first temperature variant system 204 that maintains the fluid in the first storage module 104 at a first temperature. In general, the first temperature variant system 204 is an electric based system in the form of an electric heater comprised of the exemplary illustrated heating element, a non-limiting example of which may include a low watt heating element that are well-known and are extensively used in a variety of appliances such as water heaters, stoves, coffee makers, etc. The illustrated heating element 204 is coupled with an electrical control module 140 ( FIG. 1A ) that supplies electrical power from a power source to the heating element 204 . It should be noted that the number, positioning, orientation, and type of the heating elements within their respective storage modules may be varied. For example, several elements may be juxtaposed horizontally along the axial height of a storage module, with the lower horizontally oriented elements being of lower watt heating elements progressively increasing with the highest watt heating element being the top most element near the top of the storage module. [0046] As further illustrated in FIGS. 1A , 2 A, and 2 b, the outlet 130 of the first storage module 104 is coupled with a tube 132 (preferably, a flexible tube). The reason for the use of flexible tube is to provide a limited amount of expansion capability to accommodate for any potential expansion of water due to heat. A non-limiting example of a flexible tube used may be a silicon based tube that expands to accommodate any potential water expansion due to heat. It should be noted that the expansion of the flexible tube may take place as a result of the temperature of the fluid, regardless of the inactive or active operational phase of the entire system. [0047] FIG. 3A is a non-limiting, exemplary top view illustration of final storage module shown in FIG. 1A in accordance with the present invention, and FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of the same shown in FIG. 3A . As illustrated in FIGS. 1A to 3B , the outlet 130 of the first storage module 104 is coupled with a flexible tube 132 , which, in turn, is coupled with an inlet 150 of the final storage module 106 . That is, in general, a storage module has an outlet that is coupled with one or more inlet of one or more subsequent storage modules. The final storage module 106 includes the inlet 150 that has a second open end (e.g., a 90 degree elbow) that is inserted within an interior bottom of the final storage module 106 (best illustrated in FIG. 3B ). The second opening end of inlet 150 is oriented to horizontally discharge and propel fluid at the interior bottom of the final storage module 106 , compelling horizontally discharged fluid 110 therein to swirl within the final storage module 106 (creating a vortex) to maximize contact of fluid 110 with the second element 304 therein, generating fluid stratification with respect to temperature within the second storage module, whereby fluid with highest temperature is at the highest level of stratification. [0048] The final storage module 106 is configured in normal cylindrical body with a domed top. The final storage module 106 also includes fasteners that maintain the second temperature variant system in proper orientation. As stated above, the main outlet 112 of the system 100 is coupled with the final storage module 106 that upon activation of an attached faucet, the phase switch 229 activates the second heating element 304 of the final storage module 106 (that is a high wattage heating element) to speed the rate of increase (or variation) in fluid 110 temperature from a second temperature to a third (or final discharge) temperature (e.g., ambient temperature to near boiling, for example, 190° F.). It should be noted that there is no issue with respect to expandability of fluid at high temperatures in the final storage module 106 since it is an open system. That is, the heated fluid 110 within the final storage module 106 is immediately discharged through the outlet 112 and hence, no need for equipment to account for the thermal cycling of water at close to boiling points since all heated water is simply discharged. [0049] FIG. 5 is a non-limiting, exemplary illustration of a circuit topography of the electrical system shown in FIG. 1A , which is also applicable to the system shown in FIG. 1B . The electrical system of the present invention includes a fused power supply module that has an ON/OFF switch 120 for supply of electric power to the elements 204 and 304 in the first and final storage modules 104 and 106 . During the standby phase, the relay 140 maintains power on the low wattage heating element 204 that maintains the large storage module 104 at a preset low temperature. When the outlet facet is opened and flow occurs, the electrical control box in communication with the phase switch 229 ( FIG. 4 ) energizes the relay switch 140 therein to provide power to the second element 304 and cut off power to the first element 204 based on predetermined conditions. Indicator lamps 502 A, 502 B, and 502 C show the status of each phase, as well as if the device's power switch is ON ( 502 A). A thermostat 114 controls the large storage module 104 to a pre-set temperature. Secondary thermal “High Temp” cut-off switches 116 A and 16 B provide redundant over-temperature protection for each storage modules separately. [0050] Although the invention has been described in considerable detail in language specific to structural features and or method acts, it is to be understood that the invention defined in the appended claims is not necessarily limited to the specific features or acts described. Rather, the specific features and acts are disclosed as exemplary preferred forms of implementing the claimed invention. Stated otherwise, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting. Therefore, while exemplary illustrative embodiments of the invention have been described, numerous variations and alternative embodiments will occur to those skilled in the art. For example, the final stage of the multi-stage system may be configured to be a substantially cooling rather than a substantially heating system of fluid. As another example, the multiple storage modules may be coupled with one another in series, parallel or a combination of series and or parallel couplings, defining one or more series and or parallel stages. The material from which the storage modules are made is conventional. Such variations and alternate embodiments are contemplated, and can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. [0051] It should further be noted that throughout the entire disclosure, the labels such as left, right, front, back, top, bottom, forward, reverse, clockwise, counter clockwise, up, down, or other similar terms such as upper, lower, aft, fore, vertical, horizontal, oblique, proximal, distal, parallel, perpendicular, transverse, longitudinal, etc. have been used for convenience purposes only and are not intended to imply any particular fixed direction or orientation. Instead, they are used to reflect relative locations and/or directions/orientations between various portions of an object. [0052] In addition, reference to “first,” “second,” “third,” and etc. members throughout the disclosure (and in particular, claims) is not used to show a serial or numerical limitation but instead is used to distinguish or identify the various members of the group. [0053] In addition, any element in a claim that does not explicitly state “means for” performing a specified function, or “step for” performing a specific function, is not to be interpreted as a “means” or “step” clause as specified in 35 U.S.C. Section 112, Paragraph 6. In particular, the use of “step of,” “act of,” “operation of,” or “operational act of” in the claims herein is not intended to invoke the provisions of 35 U.S.C. 112, Paragraph 6.

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    WO-2017139851-A1August 24, 2017Chertkow Brian LionelAn instant boiling water heater system