U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Building Technologies Office
Recovery Act-Funded Working Fluid Projects
The U.S. Department of Energy was allocated funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to conduct research into working fluid technologies and applications. Projects funded by the Recovery Act include:
Developing Next Generation Refrigeration Lubricants for Low Global Warming Potential and Low Ozone Depleting Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems
Funding amount: $1.45 million
The goal of this project is to develop, test, and bring to market new synthetic lubricants that possess high compatibility with new low ozone depleting and low global warming potential refrigerants and offer improved performance—including lubricity and wear protection—over current lubricant technologies. Lubricants play a pivotal role in both the operating efficiency and the service life of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and other types of refrigeration equipment. The investigators expect to find that the overall energy requirements for refrigeration and cooling systems can be reduced by as much as 2% based solely on using newly developed, highly compatible lubricants. Using mismatched or under-performing lubricants drives up energy use and operating expenditures. It also contributes to premature equipment failure. Ensuring optimal energy efficiency through the development and use of lubricants that are highly compatible with these new refrigerants could save U.S. consumers as much as $3.7 billion per year at present electricity rates.
Grant Award Summary
Experimental and Numerical Investigation to Enhance the Performance of Building Heating and Cooling Systems Using Nanofluids
University of Alaska Fairbanks
The transfer of thermal energy through heat exchangers is ubiquitous in building heating and cooling systems. A new generation of heat transfer fluids called nanofluids (nanometer-size particles dispersed in conventional fluids) possess properties of substantially enhancing convective heat transfer and will reduce the size and weight of the heat transfer systems and the volume of coolants presently used. This research will generate considerable benefits in cold regions such as Alaska, where a very high percentage of the total energy consumption goes to heating buildings due to the long winter season. The benefits will include the reduction of size, weight, and power consumption in the building energy system for millions of homes. Reducing the requirements for materials and power will reduce energy consumption and mitigate the adverse impact of emissions reducing global warming, which is more pronounced in the circumpolar regions of the world.