ORNL, Strangpresse sign additive manufacturing patent license agreement
Jaguar Land Rover and EPSRC announce $17M autonomous vehicle research program; 5 projects selected

ARPA-E announces $30M in funding for single-pane window efficiency technologies: SHIELD

The US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced up to $30 million in funding for a new program focused on improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential buildings. (DE-FOA-0001425) ARPA-E’s Single-pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Designs (SHIELD) program seeks to reduce heat-loss for improved building efficiency by developing innovative materials that are both transparent and insulating to retrofit existing single-pane windows.

Commercial and residential building heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems accounted for 14% of the nation’s total energy consumption in 2013, and about a quarter of that energy is wasted by heat leaking through windows. Many buildings with existing single-pane windows cannot support the weight, size or appearance of more efficient double pane window units, however retrofitting single-pane windows can reduce heat-loss and save roughly the amount of electricity needed to power 32 million US homes each year.

The SHIELD program aims to develop innovative materials to retrofit single-pane windows to demonstrate the benefits of double-pane insulated windows, and reduce their heat loss by 50% while significantly reducing retrofit costs.

SHIELD will support research in three broad technology categories. The first category will enable products that are applied onto existing windowpanes. The second is for manufactured windowpanes with similar weight and thickness to current panes, and that could be installed as replacements for existing windowpanes without necessitating replacement of the sash in which the pane is mounted. As a third category, SHIELD will support proof-of-principle development of innovative components that will enable superior performance in the first two technology categories.

Under SHIELD, ARPA-E will allocate up to $10 million to small businesses through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, with up to $20 million made available to all applicants.

ARPA-E also announced funding for SBIR/STTR projects under its GENSETS program which aims to design, build and test improved electric-power generators for use in residential combined heat and power systems. The GENSETS SBIR/STTR program aims to develop 1 kWe (electric) sized generators that are highly efficient (40% or greater); long lasting (10 years or more); low cost ($3,000 or less); and clean. The projects fall under three areas of technology focus: Stirling engines, internal combustion engines, and microturbines.

Comments

T2

ARPA-E also announced funding for SBIR/STTR projects under its GENSETS program which aims to design, build and test improved electric-power generators for use in residential combined heat and power systems. The GENSETS SBIR/STTR program aims to develop 1 kWe (electric) sized generators that are highly efficient (40% or greater); long lasting (10 years or more); low cost ($3,000 or less); and clean. The projects fall under three areas of technology focus: Stirling engines, internal combustion engines, and microturbines.

It is good to see ARPA proposing a model which does not align with the old school method of distributed electrical power. It's probably safe to assume that the electric power generators here are undoubtedly intended for running on natural gas.

To most of us it should be irrelevant how efficient megascale generating plants can be made when at the same time the residential buildings they supply happen to have their space heating provided by open flame natural gas furnaces and as we all know these forced air systems have a thermodynamic efficiency of ZERO per cent.

I wrote this about six months ago and not sure whether I got around to posting it, my apologies if this is a repost.

IT is an obvious but important fact that when consuming natural gas there is but one chance to obtain electricity from this process by the appropriate use of thermodynamics.

Since both electricity and mechanical power are both needed in a residence besides space heating it would seem unwise to waste this one time opportunity by the almost callous misuse of burning this non renewable energy source in the typical open flame gas furnace without considering a thermodynamic option. Methods are available with alternative equipment to allow the capture of a portion of the results of this combustion for conversion to electricity generation with the overflow providing heat for the home.

The simplest method is to use a single cylinder engine. There would be an emphasis to extract heat from the exhaust gas by a heat exchanger system before the spent gas is expelled up the flue. The operation of the heat exchanger would be governed by the amount of home heating required before the gas is expelled. If insufficient thermal heat is available the electrical power being generated could be increased by dissipating it in an electrical heating element located in the forced-air heating plenum.

The increased load on the engine would require the consumption of an increasing amount of gas the combustion of which will yield an even greater amount of exhaust gas. The multiplying effect of this electrical load by the plenum heater would amount to approximately a threefold output in the thermal heat expelled for an engine of 25% efficiency. A relatively small electrical load can therefore leverage a much greater amount of space heating.

The use of a small engine can be magnified further by the assistance of lead-acid or lithium ion batteries. In this stationary applicaton neither space nor weight is of a premium, lead acid has the price advantage at the moment.

The safe storage voltage is suggested to be around 24V DC. Lighting and most electronics could be found to suit this voltage as well as most kitchen counter appliances although some of the latter may need fitting with suitable plugs rated at 30Amps in order to be acceptable.
Further consideration is required for the more extreme demand devices consisting mainly white goods like clothes dryers and cooking ranges which will probably need be operated at conventional voltages. In each case an electronic inverter with an output of 220vAC with a 6Kw rating should be installed. Additionally these particular inverters would need to be located adjacent to the battery system. Since each inverter could be drawing as much as 250 amps from the 24Volt supply then clearly some power management involving the interleaving of a multiplicity of these devices will need be in place.

Some of this peak current demand from the storage battery will be offset by the current supplied from the engine generator assuming a reasonable expectation of it having a continuous rating of around 100 amps. Dryers rarely run for more than an hour and even the peak load of an electric range is usually less than 20 minutes and that normally occurs whenever the oven is needed to be brought up to temperature. Inverters should be arranged in a hierachy so that the least essential item will be the first to be disabled.

In lieu of a direct gas heater for domestic hot water a secondary heat exchanger loop of de-ionised water at low pressure could be sent over to a remote domestic hot water heater with insulated piping. It could circulate around or even through the hot water tank depending on the design before returning to the heat recovery unit of the exhaust cooling system.

As with the previously described forced-air plenum and its electrical heating element an immersion heater for the hot water tank would have similar effect on the electrical generating system with the increased load on the engine requiring the consumption of an increasing amount of gas. As before the element could have a reduced rating owing to the thermal assist boost from the heat recovery unit.

Summer would differ from winter operation by arranging for the forced air flow in the plenum to bypass the heat recovery unit.

HarveyD

Energy neutral large buildings is a reality and better window panes would make application easier and probable less costly.

The same could apply to private homes to reduce energy consumption in both hot and cold weather areas.

Less energy consumed = less GHG and pollution in most places.

The comments to this entry are closed.