Kicking off this grant in 2021, Gradient is making important progress towards the optimized fan system by engaging multiple custom fan design firms with requests for quotes to determine these companies' capabilities. Based on these conversations, Gradient is now focusing on designing custom fan housings and using off-the-shelf blades, which will likely allow them to meet performance targets with significantly lower technical risks. Additionally, Gradient is optimizing fan motors for a revision of the polymer heat exchanger designed to integrate into the product. Finally, tube-fin heat exchangers are being evaluated for improved low temperature performance, using a high accuracy test stand specifically designed and built by Gradient.
Building HVAC systems consume more than 15 percent of all U.S. energy and contribute more to global warming than the entire transportation sector largely due to the high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant leaks. A significant breakthrough in building cooling technology that uses low-GWP refrigerants, is low cost, and has high efficiency is needed. The Recipient will develop customized fans, heat exchangers, and cold climate configurations that optimize the thermal performance and minimize power consumption of a high efficiency, low cost, low-GWP refrigerant HVAC system with the potential to reduce building air conditioning energy consumption by up to 30% and greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent.
Increasing the thermal range of heat pumps can expand the geographies where heat pumps can be deployed, bringing more options for electrification to more communities.
Key Project Members
Optimized Thermal Systems, Inc.