3 UMD Projects Receive DOE Funding

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The Building Technologies Office announced it is investing up to $19.5 million in 19 projects that will drive innovation in early-stage research and development for advanced building technologies and systems that will serve as a foundation for future technological developments and reductions in building energy consumption. These technologies will improve the efficiency of our nation’s buildings and will help American consumers and businesses save energy and money on their utility bills.

The BENEFIT FOA awards were distributed among six research topic areas, which include technologies that can significantly improve building energy efficiency in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), water heating, and appliances, and building envelope applications; developing highly insulating building envelope materials and windows, novel approaches to building energy modeling and sensors and controls; testing next-generation building systems and equipment in real-world conditions; and significantly improving the energy efficiency of natural gas and other fuel-driven equipment.

Two UMD projects received funding in the Advanced Separation Technologies for Building Energy Efficiency: 

 - “Highly-Efficient Micro-emulsion-Based Absorption Chillers for HVAC Application.” The research team will develop a waste-heat absorption cooling system that can be used in highly energy-efficient chillers, which are used to cool fluids or dehumidify air in commercial and industrial facilities. Dr. Bao Yang, UMD Professor and Director of Laboratory of Micro/Nanoscale Heat Transfer and Energy Conversion is the PI on the project.

- “Electrohydrodynamic Enabled Electrochemical Membrane Dehumidifier for Separate Sensible and Latent Cooling.” The research team will develop a novel electrochemical dehumidification device for separate sensible and latent cooling that will increase the energy efficiency of air conditioners significantly.

Dr. Yunho Hwang, Professor and Associate Director for the UMD Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, and Dr. Chunsheng Wang, UMD Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Robert Franklin and Frances Riggs Wright Distinguished Chair, are the co-PIs of this project. Their research will reduce the energy consumption of air conditioners by 22% and save 836 TBtu for the US in every year. Dr. Hwang hopes to expand the research for improving air conditioning system’s energy efficiency by developing novel membrane technology.

In addition, UMD received another award in the High-Performance Windows Project:

“Low-Cost Vacuum Insulated Glass (VIG) for Retrofit of Single Pane Windows.” The research team will develop a new approach to producing vacuum insulated glass; the approach uses small vacuum cells that can be cut to size on site, avoiding custom manufacturing of windows, making it economically attractive.

For more information, visit the Energy Department's Building Technologies Office.

Published January 29, 2019