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Advanced Low Cost Air Handling Units for Buildings

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-SC0019989
Agency Tracking Number: 245519
Amount: $199,997.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 09a
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0001941
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-07-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-03-31
Small Business Information
244 Sobrante Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94086-4807
United States
DUNS: 183365410
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 John Kelly
 (408) 328-8302
Business Contact
 Alexander Kelly
Phone: (408) 328-8311
Research Institution

Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration applications consume more than half of the total energy used in domestic residential and commercial buildings, with Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning consuming approximately 40 percent (15.5 Quads) of total energy, in 2015. Air Handling Units that condition the air in homes and commercial buildings play an important role in these applications. Unfortunately, these units have become inefficient, relative to other system components. Innovations to improve Air Handling Units energy use (i.e. reduce blower power) could lead to more efficient Heating, Ventilating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration systems that would reduce power use, emissions and greenhouse gas emissions. The Air Handling Units improved performance need will be addressed at acceptable cost by the proposed Advanced Low Cost Air Handling Unit, which consists of a high-efficiency blower, tightly integrated with an innovative, compact and low-pressure drop heat exchanger. The blower design has been shown to reduce power use by 26.7 percent, for a 5 tons cooling air handler. The heat exchanger uses an innovative air-side porous fin to increase heat transfer by 43 percent, versus conventional high- performance fins. Importantly, this increase in heat transfer is achieved at high thermal efficiency (i.e. heat transfer per flow power required to drive the heat transfer) and low pressure drop. The objective of the Phase I effort will be to demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of a 9 kilowatt refrigerant- air evaporator design for an Air Handling Unit, which will reduce blower power by 25 percent, compared to state-of-art compact air conditioner Air Handling Units. Under the Phase I effort, the Advanced Low Cost Air Handling Unit design will be developed for a notional Air Handling Unit evaporator, using available Altex analysis and design tools, to generate a compact evaporator design. The design will then be converted into a small-scale 9 kilowatt test article design, which will be fabricated and tested in the available instrumented test facility. Using test and analysis results, the Advanced Low Cost Air Handling Unit performance, integrity and cost will be determined, and a conclusion reached on technical and economic feasibility. Besides showing a greater than 25 percent energy savings for the Air Handling Unit, the concept will increase the air conditioning system efficiency by over 5 percent, and reduce capital cost by 4 percent.There are approximately 374,000 Air Handling Units sold per year, which could benefit from implementing the more efficient and lower-cost proposed technology. This represents a 500 million dollars/year market, where costs could be reduced by 30 million dollars/year, by implementing the Advanced Low Cost Air Handling Unit. In addition, there are millions of other air conditioning, heat pump and refrigeration applications that could benefit from heat exchangers implementing the proposed technology. These implementations could save consumers and industry over 100 million dollars/year, in addition to reducing energy use by over 25 percent and improving air conditioning efficiency by over 5 percent.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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