A High-Efficiency Natural Gas–Fired Boiler for Residential and Light Commercial Applications

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Diagram: Water flow boiling process and associated flow regimes.
Water flow boiling process and associated flow regimes.

Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory – Oak Ridge, TN
Partners:
-- Gas Technology Institute
-- A.O. Smith Corp. – Milwaukee, WI
-- Rinnai Corp.
DOE Total Funding: $1,500,000
Cost Share: $125,000 per year
Project Term: June 1, 2019 – May 31, 2022
Funding Type: Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) 2018 Funding Opportunity

Project Objective

The project team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) develops the next-generation natural gas-fueled boiler for residential and light-commercial applications. The proposed concept relies on the deployment of high conductivity porous material to achieve higher heat transfer to the working fluid and controlled combustion process. 

Project Impact

The current project aims to achieve an unprecedented performance enhancement for a compact boiler technology. Based on preliminary calculations, the proposed boiler design is expected to provide an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) higher than 95% with an unprecedented reduction in emissions. This approach will lead to substantial energy savings, significant emissions mitigation, and reductions in capital and operating costs, removing these major barriers for the large-scale deployment of natural gas-based building technologies. The project team will provide a comprehensive infrastructure for the design, materials selection, and manufacturing process, which will influence multiple technology sectors. Such efforts will open a substantial job market and will enable U.S. manufacturers to lead the market in natural-gas driven equipment.

Contacts

DOE Technology Manager: Antonio Bouza
Lead Performer: Kashif Nawaz, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Figure: Various flow regimes for water flow boiling.
Various flow regimes for water flow boiling.