Advanced HVAC Technologies



when you look at the architecture of these systems you know Willis carrier made the first direct commercial air conditioner back in 1902 and a lot of the systems is he today have a lot of similarities those systems that you know 50 or 60 years ago but there's a lot that we don't understand that we need to understand to really improve performance one project that we're working on right now relates to these heat exchangers for example and here's a good example of one sort of this is from this has been a piece of heat exchange that we have in our systems and you'll see that that the tubes in the heat exchange are these straight tubes well one of the trends that we have in air-conditioning system is that people want to make them smaller right you want air conditioners that don't take a whole lot of space in your house but as you try to shrink this we start to run into fundamental physical limitations for what the heat transfer can be so we have a number of projects that are trying to really improve the the sort of mechanics of exactly what's going on inside these systems both at a component level and at a system level so one project that were working on is where we're actually looking at how do you in how do you improve mixing in these channels basically for heat transfer you really want to have good mixing throughout the channel but as you again as you shrink these channels it goes to a flow regime region of flow where you don't get a whole lot of mixing and the performance actually goes down as you try to make them smaller so we're looking at some ways of actually optimizing the geometry improving exactly what the structure of the fluid flow is in here so that you can keep shrinking it without paying the penalty of heat transfer of reduced performance and so what we would expect is that this system which is in the commercial systems that you can back by today will be able to continue shrinking them without being penalized and that's going to be a really really big benefit another aspect that we're working on on a system level so this is on the component level on the system level we're also looking at adjusting the amount of refrigerant in the system what happens today is that when you put refrigerant in your air conditioner we sell these systems all over the world you might sell them in Dubai you might sell them in Atlanta might sell in Minnesota for every single one of these type of systems they'll have the same amount of refrigerant in it but the efficiency this system is a strong function of the mass so in Minnesota you might actually want to put a little bit more refrigerant in and Atlanta you might want to put a little bit less refrigerant in and that's not done today so working a technology that actually changes how much refrigerant is in the system based upon local conditions is going to be it's going to change it based on for the heating mode or some cooling mode it'll change your based upon weather not as a hot day or a cool day and you can get much better performance you can optimize performance of the system in a way that you couldn't optimize it without changing refrigerant mass so these are a couple of different areas that we're really working on improving the system improving components to get a performance where you wouldn't be able to achieve it without these sort of research results the trick is that the systems are very sensitive you know these systems have a lot of spatial dependencies and understanding what the sensitivity is if you put too much refrigerant in your performances and also be lousy so you have to it's not about putting a lot of refriger in or just a little bit refrigerant a very very small change you know on the order of for this system maybe 50 grams can make the difference between really good performance and really bad performance and so the highest sensitivity these systems makes them very hard to engineer and very challenging I mean this is again this is why these systems haven't been sort of developed and why there's still a lot of research to do and one of the things I is so exciting to me about working in Merrell is we really get to sit down and think hard about this complex spatially temporarily distributed physics and do computation to understand how to really squeeze the most performance value system is that people haven't been able to do and it's only by leveraging all the computation and mathematics that we have at our disposal here at Murrell an HVAC team there is a lot of different expertise and it's interesting to me that you know all of these different people are needed to really accomplish what seems really like a very simple goal and that's what's neat about 2d residential air conditioning in 2009 air conditioning heating systems consumed 4 quadrillion BTUs of energy at a cost of 95 billion dollars and represent about 40% of the energy consumption of houses a resident okay so it's a huge amount of energy at a huge cost if that's going to be this is a number that doesn't typically go down so if we can sort of bend the curve over and this is taken I take a lot of work both on you know sort of mathematics the experimental in the physics side as well as you know trying to spread these innovations throughout the industry because you know it's just a drop going in but what we're looking for is a diffusion effect if we can even make a small change in four quadrillion btus per year that ends up being having a really really big impact and that's what we're really going for here at Merl you

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