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The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) announced more than $20.1 million in federal funding for 58 projects supported by DOE’s Office of Technology Transitions Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). The projects are a part of a larger Department-wide TCF effort, in which 82 projects will receive more than $33 million in federal funding and more than $36 million in matching funds from the private sector.

TCF was established by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to promote promising energy technologies by supporting entrepreneurs’ efforts to engage with the DOE national laboratory complex. The TCF selections announced today will help increase the commercial impact of EERE’s research and development activities.

Of the 58 projects selected, nine are specific to EERE’s Building Technologies Office:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Primer-Less, Self-Healing Sealant for Building Envelopes: Leaks in the air-and-water-resistive barriers of building envelopes are typically related to sealant failures. ORNL will develop a primer-less, self-healing sealant that will outperform commercially available technologies by recovering near-original performance after damage.
  • Self-Healing Films for Vacuum Insulation Panels and Air/Vapor Barrier Membranes: This project will develop multi-layer barrier films with self-healing properties for vacuum insulation panels. ORNL will scale up from lab-scale to large-scale films and optimize the coating materials and processes.
  • 3D Reality Modeling Software: ORNL has developed a technology package called AutoBEM that can create EnergyPlus building energy models using data from disparate sources. Bentley Systems has developed ContextCapture, which creates 3D models from groups of images. In this project, ORNL will assist Bentley in integrating AutoBEM into ContextCapture to turn the 3D models into building energy models, which can be further refined using Bentley’s energy-simulation tools.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

  • Retro-Commissioning Sensor Suitcase for Energy Efficiency: This project will develop and demonstrate a second prototype version of a Retro-Commissioning Sensor Suitcase-based, market-ready product that will address the need for RCx in the small and medium commercial building markets. It will enable low-cost retro-commissioning of small buildings that can yield whole-building energy savings of approximately 10%.
  • Smart Building Start: PNNL will work with industry partner Verdicity to make a “shrink-wrapped product” of the VOLTTRON-hosted Smart Building Start application to use as a distributed energy solution. Verdicity plans to deploy the product at scale at its commercial building sites.
  • SMDS (Smart Monitoring and Diagnostic System): PNNL will work with JouleSmart to integrate SMDS algorithms into JouleSmart’s cloud-based analytics platform, providing an added service to JouleSmart customers. PNNL will validate and refine SDMS using JouleSmart customer data.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

  • 3D-Printed Desiccant Wheel with Thermo-Responsive Desiccants for Energy Efficiency and Thermal Comfort in Buildings: Solid desiccant air-conditioning systems are a potential alternative to conventional vapor-compression refrigeration systems, providing efficient control of humidity by separately treating latent and sensible heat loads. The proposed project will use modeling to optimize the desiccant wheel’s geometry, manufacture the wheel prototype with 3D printing to coat thermo-responsive desiccants onto the wheel, and perform a dehumidification performance test.
  • Improving the Accuracy of Building Energy Models Used in the Design Process: In this project, NREL will help Autodesk and Cedar Stack integrate the Building Component Library (BCL) and Technology Performance Exchange (TPEx) with Systems Analysis. This integrated resource should give users access to a broader array of HVAC component and system models, including manufacturer performance curves.

Argonne National Laboratory

  • Preparing Large Area of Thermochromic Nanocomposite Films for Smart Window Application: Smart, transparent nano-VO2/polymer composite films have emerged as a highly energy-efficient window product. Existing batch-manufacturing methods for preparing VO2 nanoparticles are extremely slow, have poor quality control, are labor intensive, and present safety concerns. A modern, intensified chemical process is required, which this project seeks to develop.