Responding to the call from BUILDING ROBOTICS and Berkeley lab, our SMART sensor entered the challenge to build ‘MEAN RADIANT TEMPERATURE SENSING FOR IMPROVED THERMAL COMFORT’ in July, 2016 and just won the $3000 cash price and now enters the pool to participate DOE Lab Impact Small Business Vouchers (SBV) Pilot Small Business Voucher to request $300k of in-kind technical support for prototype development, testing and other problem statements facing small businesses in the clean energy innovation space.
More about the call can be found on the JUMP website.
Or check out our sensor on the JUMP website here.
Enhancing wind power
A new apparatus will help researchers develop wind turbine designs without building full-scale prototypes. Given the massive size of today’s turbines, building test models at full size is not feasible, yet scaling down these models causes inaccurate predictions of their capabilities. However, it is possible to reproduce the full-scale dynamics by placing the scaled-down models inside a container of highly pressurized air.
A team composed of Marcus Hultmark, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Forrest Meggers, assistant professor of architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, and Elie Bou-Zeid, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, will build a test facility that uses a pressurized air tank and can accurately capture the physics of full-scale turbines. The apparatus will be housed on Princeton’s nearby Forrestal Campus.
“The Eric and Wendy Schmidt Transformative Technology Fund gives Princeton the capacity to invest in truly innovative and highly promising research — research that is often considered too forward-looking for traditional funding mechanisms,” said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and professor of chemical and biological engineering. “This year’s selected proposals are outstanding in terms of the quality of the science and engineering as well the potential to benefit humanity through practical benefits to human health and the environment.”
More information can be found on the ACEE website here.
Current building controls only maintain the thermal conditions of room air. Air temperature is only one of several factors that impact thermal comfort while heat transfer by radiation from surfaces influence roughly half of thermal comfort. To address these issues, Meggers’ lab has developed an inexpensive, non-contacting mean radiant temperature sensor that measures surface radiant temperatures, calculates the mean radiant temperature at any given location, tracks temperatures in a 3D space, and is also capable of perceiving the presence of occupants. The sensor can be deployed for building controls, diagnostics by HVAC technicians, and during the design phase of a structure. Usage of the sensor would not only increase comfort for occupants, but also save money and boost energy efficiency in buildings. For this project, Meggers obtained a provisional patent and developed working prototypes. Funds from this grant will be dedicated to producing a compact and robust design for the sensor, verifying performance of the device, and developing a user interface and building system integration in collaboration with Siemens and Princeton’s facilities department. The end goal is a sleek, compact, marketable product and application package that seamlessly allows analysis of any space.
More on the Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund
The University’s Intellectual Property Accelerator Fund awards gap funding to Princeton investigators with the goal of fostering and advancing the development of nascent technologies from University labs into commercial development, and, ultimately, the global marketplace.
The fund addresses the development gap between early stage research and attractive, investment- and venture-grade opportunities. The fund is meant to support proof-of-concept work, data collection, and/or prototyping that can yield important information or further development that would make a technology more commercially attractive.
Announcement by the Andlinger Center of Energy and the Environment can be found here.
Forrest Meggers, assistant professor of architecture and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, has received funding from Princeton University’s Project X Innovation Fund for a novel experiment that explores deep geothermal wells to heat buildings and cities while simultaneously sequestering carbon dioxide emissions.
Heat or geothermal energy naturally emanates from the Earth’s molten core. Harnessing this power requires drilling deep boreholes into the ground, which is an expensive process. In Meggers’ project, “Sequestering building heat demand and CO2 simultaneously: investigating wells for heat and CO2 injection,” Meggers proposes utilizing existing deep wells that have been used to extract fossil fuels to sequester CO2 and tap underground heat. This mitigates costs for drilling new holes.
“In preliminary work, we have leveraged data from the recently released National Geothermal Database System to investigate how a large network of existing holes can be exploited for medium--grade geothermal heat,” said Meggers. “The dataset for Pennsylvania shows 18,000 wells with typical depths of more than 1000 meters and temperatures more than 35 degrees Celsius or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This heat can be pumped directly into buildings.”
The geothermal energy would be harnessed for a district heating system, where heat for household and commercial use would be generated in a centralized location and distributed throughout a district. An alternative to individual boilers, engineers say district heating is more energy efficient, has lower carbon emissions, and saves money over the long run. District heating systems have been utilized in the Netherlands and Iceland.
Meggers proposes using pressurized carbon dioxide to transfer heat up and down from the boreholes’ terminus to the surface. The CO2 is sequestered underground for this use – thus reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions.
In this proposed two-year study, Meggers and his team plan on building a model setup of the well system at the School of Architecture’s new Embodied Computation Laboratory. This involves drilling a 2,000-foot borehole.
More on the Project X Fund
Project X Fund, whose goal is to support bold thinking and unconventional ideas, provides seed funding to engineers who wish to pursue projects that may be outside their formal areas of expertise or are too speculative to attract conventional funding. The fund, established by Lynn Shostack in memory of her late husband, David Gardner ’69, has supported research ranging from an exploration of techniques to sterilize hospital rooms to the development of an idea for playing realistic three-dimensional sound from conventional speakers.
Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment
The mission of the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment is to develop solutions to ensure our energy and environmental future. To this end, the center supports a vibrant and expanding program of research and teaching in the areas of sustainable energy-technology development, energy efficiency, and environmental protection and remediation. A chief goal of the center is to translate fundamental knowledge into practical solutions that enable sustainable energy production and the protection of the environment and global climate from energy-related anthropogenic change.
Announcement can also be found on the Andlinger Center of Energy and Environment’s website here.
The team was awarded funding for further development of a novel membrane desiccant dehumidification system from the Andlinger E-ffiliates program. We will continue our collaboration with Dow and Arkema on the novel system including new ideas for 3D printing the interface system.