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Lead Performer: Architectural Applications – Portland, Oregon
Partner: Oregon State University – Corvallis, Oregon
DOE Funding: $1,009,999
Cost Share: $278,550
Project Term: July 28, 2015 – July 27, 2017
Funding Opportunity: DE-FOQ-0001258 – FY 2015 SBIR Phase 2 Release 2 (Phase 2B)

Project Objective

Approximately 39% of domestic energy, or 4.5 Quads, is consumed annually in the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) of buildings. Energy recovery ventilators (ERV) have the potential to save more than 2 Quads of this energy—but, to date, their low performance, large size, and other disadvantages have prevented their widespread commercial adoption. The subject technology for this SBIR Phase IIB project overcomes these key limitations via a novel, counter-flow ERV that exhibits superior performance due to its counter-flow configuration and a panelized form factor integrated into the building wall system to save space. Results measured during prior phases of the SBIR project indicated that the product outperforms current technology by 28-42% while saving space, improving indoor air quality, and reducing GHG emissions.

In Phase I and under prior ARPA-E funding, the feasibility of the technology was demonstrated at lab bench scale. In Phase II, the technology was developed and validated in full-scale, fully integrated operational units in the U.S. and in Singapore, demonstrating a host of advantages in terms of energy reduction, space savings, and potential health improvements. These demonstrations have generated strong, broad-based customer interest. The key next development steps must address manufacturing costs that remain too high to meet customer ROI. To address this challenge, lead organization Architectural Applications has teamed with Oregon State University, who brings world-renowned expertise in high-performance/low-cost microchannel heat- and mass-exchanger manufacturing.

The Phase IIB objective is to develop innovative, low-cost manufacturing techniques, exchanger architectures, and assembly sequences to manufacture the product at costs enabling broad market adoption. We will do so using a newly improved membrane product and novel methods borrowed from the printed circuit industry.

Project Impact

Successful deployment of the technology could produce large economic and social benefits.

The global addressable market for green building technologies is estimated by Lux Research to be $6 billion. In the United States alone, the subject technology could reduce building air conditioning by more than 0.9 Quads.

The U.S. military could save as much as $8 billion in annual air conditioning costs from broad adoption of the technology. Health-care system benefits could be as large as $6 to $14 billion from reduced respiratory disease, $2 to $4 billion from reduced allergies and asthma, $10 to $30 billion from reduced sick building syndrome symptoms, and $20 to $160 billion from direct improvements in worker performance that are unrelated to health.


DOE Technology Manager: Dr. Karma Sawyer
Lead Performer: John E. Breshears, Architectural Applications

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