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Efficient cooling projects receive $82.6m funding

USA: A supermarket refrigerated display cabinet, a vibrational defrosting system and isothermal compressor are amongst 44 new energy efficient projects awarded a total of $82.6m in US government funding.

The funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) is designed to drive innovations to help meet President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The 44 projects selected are projected to improve building energy efficiency through innovations in thermal energy storage, building envelopes, lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, and water heating.

The projects include:

• A project by Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions to design, manufacture and validate a highly efficient supermarket refrigerated display case that can also integrate with HVAC systems to serve as a flexible grid resource;

• The development by the University of Maryland of an adhesive-based hybrid manufacturing method for next-generation air-to-refrigerant heat exchangers that would be 50% cheaper and use 36% less energy in manufacturing. 

• The University has also received funding to develop an isothermal compressor that can reduce the energy consumption of refrigerators by an average of 40%.

• Wilmington, Delaware-based Baryon Inc will develop a novel air-conditioning system based on a new method of evaporative cooling combined with dehumidification through a new type of ionic membrane. The proposed system will be capable of consuming 50% to 85% less energy than traditional air conditioning systems, it is claimed, generating water for its own operation, and remaining highly effective in humid climates;

• The Palo Alto Research Center will engineer, construct, and demonstrate a packaged 5-ton HVAC system using a liquid desiccant that returns to a liquid phase at ambient temperature, and is capable of shifting load to reduce grid demand;

• Ultrasonic Technology Solutions of Knoxville, Tennessee, is looking to develop a vibrational defrosting system to remove ice from the evaporator in a refrigerator;

• A thermoelectric heat pump that can combine with a direct expansion air-to-air heat pump is proposed by the Electric Power Research Institute of Palo Alto, California. The proposed system would offer improved efficiency and heating capacity in cold outdoor temperatures at low cost. 

“Americans spend about $100bn every year on wasted energy from buildings, heating and cooling units, and more – increasing energy bills and needless emissions that dirty our air and worsen the climate crisis,” said US secretary of energy Jennifer M Granholm. “By pursuing advancements that make both existing and newly constructed buildings more energy efficient, we can save consumers money and reduce the climate impacts of the places we live and work.”

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