ENME Press Release Story

UMD Researchers Win $1.5 Million DOE Award to Improve Home Cooling Efficiency

Center for Environmental Energy Engineering to collaborate with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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Mary Baugher

College Park, MD - The Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE), a world-renowned research facility at the University of Maryland at College Park (UMD), has been awarded $1.5 million as part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) efforts to help homeowners and businesses save money by saving energy.  

CEEE will conduct research on miniaturized air-to-refrigerant heat exchangers for the project in collaboration with the Knoxville, Tennessee-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The UMD research team is comprised of CEEE students, and Dr. Vikrant Aute and Prof. Yunho Hwang. The team will design and build prototypes of miniaturized air-to-refrigerant heat exchangers based on previously developed Parallel Parameterized CFD and Approximation Assisted Optimization technologies. The new heat exchangers are expected to be scale up to 10kW capacity with at least 20 percent less volume and 20 percent less material compared to traditional designs – making air conditioning and refrigeration systems for home use much more energy efficient and affordable.  Luvata Heat Transfer Solutions Division, a global leader in heat exchangers and refrigeration equipment, will participate as a technical and manufacturing partner. 

“It is very rewarding to see fundamental research previously supported by the Office of Naval Research move closer to commercialization,” said CEEE director and Minta Martin Professor of Engineering Dr. Reinhard Radermacher.  “The Parameterized Parallel Computational Fluid Dynamics (PPCFD) Algorithm and Approximation Assisted Optimization — developed jointly by UMD Department of Mechanical Engineering Professor Shapour Azarm — are proving themselves to be powerful and effective design tools for the expedient exploration of new heat exchangers and other fluid flow geometries.”

The DOE project is part of a $9 million investment in leading-edge building envelope technologies, including high-efficiency, high-performance windows, roofs, and heating and cooling equipment. This new investment supports six advanced manufacturing projects.  In addition to the University of Maryland study, research institutions in California, Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, and Tennessee will embark on new research that advances whole home energy performance.   This project will help bring new, affordable technologies to market that address opportunities for improved building performance and cost savings.  Learn more at about this endeavor at the DOE website. http://apps1.eere.energy.gov/news/progress_alerts.cfm/pa_id=821

The Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE)

CEEE is a leader in research and education in environmentally responsible, economically feasible integrated energy conversion systems for buildings and transportation. CEEE research focuses in particular on air-conditioning, refrigeration, heat pumping and integrated cooling heating and power systems. The center also provides software for the design and analysis of such systems with integrated optimization capabilities for finding best performing lowest cost designs. For more information about the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, visit www.ceee.umd.edu.