ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Energy Concepts Co. is developing a waste heat powered 3-ton chiller for the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Research Development and Engineering Center (CERDEC). The engine exhaust heat powered chiller must operate in 122°F desert climates with dry cooling; it must also be lightweight, compact, and efficient. By providing electronics and comfort cooling from exhaust heat instead of engine power, forward operating bases can function with smaller generators and reduced fuel supply.

The chiller will use advanced heat and mass transfer components and controls in order to meet the performance, weight, and cost targets. Energy Concepts has teamed with the University of Maryland’s Smart and Small Thermal Systems Lab to develop microgroove heat exchangers for this application. Additional component and flow sheet enhancements will be incorporated from the company’s industrial and commercial product lines, including compact shell and coil heat exchangers, a non-adiabatic distillation column, and a new float valve that is necessary for the extreme range of operating conditions.

A component test stand has been assembled, and testing is underway at the company’s Annapolis, Md., facility. Energy Concepts said it will be seeking a commercialization partner to help market this product. Initial target markets are in the military and transportation sectors, including bus air conditioning and refrigerated transport. Future markets will include solar thermal chillers for residential/commercial applications. The company said the ideal commercialization partner is a military supplier, with distribution and service channels, seeking to expand their product offerings.

A U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) SBIR Phase II ARRA award is funding this 18-month effort.

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Publication date:05/02/2011