Four Buildings Projects Part of $24 Million in DOE Funding for Development and Commercial Deployment of Promising Energy Technologies

June 26, 2019

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced more than $24 million in funding for 77 projects supported by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). The TCF selections were chosen from 166 proposals and are distributed across 12 National Laboratory facilities with more than 90 private partners.

The goal of the TCF is two-fold. First, it is designed to increase the number of energy technologies developed at DOE’s National Laboratories that graduate to commercial development and achieve commercial impact. Second, the TCF enhances DOE’s technology transitions system with a forward-looking and competitive approach to lab-industry partnerships. The TCF selections will continue to expand DOE’s efforts to catalyze the commercial impact of DOE’s portfolio of research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities.

Of the 77 projects selected, four are specific to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Building Technologies Office:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

  • Environmental Insights Explorer for Buildings, Google, Mountain View, California
    • Google’s Energy Insights Explorer (EIE) platform builds on Google Maps and Earth to provide climate and solar potential analysis. This project will evaluate the use of ORNL’s AutoBEM and other tools to add building energy use and savings potential to Google’s EIE.
  • Ionic liquids as novel lubricant additives for HVAC compressors for enhanced efficiency and durability, Ingersoll Rand, Bloomington, Minnesota
    • This project will assess the technical feasibility and market impact of applying ionic liquid-based lubricant additives to HVAC systems to improve their general efficiency. ORNL’s ionic liquids, a recipient of the 2014 R&D 100 Award, may help achieve energy savings of 8–10%.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)

  • Optimization and peak demand limiting in large multifamily apartment buildings, NextWatts, Spokane, Washington
    • The common spaces of high-rise, multifamily apartment buildings would benefit from a cost-effective automation solution for HVAC systems. The project team will combine and package a matured, peak-demand limiting and optimization application that leverages VOLTTRON to reduce energy use and peak-demand charges through careful benchmarking, measurement, and verification.
  • Surface acoustic wave sensor for refrigerant leak detection, Parker and Hannifin, Washington, Missouri
    • This project will develop compact, inexpensive sensors that use surface acoustic waves to detect refrigerant leaks. Leaking refrigerants can lower the efficiency of an HVAC system, so the early detection of leaks is a significant opportunity to save energy in both residential and commercial buildings.

See the full list of TCF selections and private sector partners.