COLLEGE PARK, Md. — For the second straight year, a team of University of Maryland (UMD) students has won the Max Tech and Beyond Design Competition for Ultra-Low-Energy-Use Appliances and Equipment. The team, UMD Dryer, advised by Yunho Hwang, associate director of the university’s Center for Environmental Energy Engineering, received the first place gold medal for developing an energy saving, two-stage heat pump clothes dryer.

The competition is managed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Unlike most appliances, clothes dryers are not currently listed in the Energy Star® database since most models consume similar amounts of energy. Electric powered and gas fired clothes dryers dominated the U.S. residential market in 2010, but heat pump clothes dryers have only recently been emerging in the European and Japanese markets.

Heat pump dryers typically consume about one-third less energy than conventional electric and gas-powered clothes dryers, but the UMD team’s two-stage heat pump dryer has the potential to improve energy savings another 10 to 20 percent over the average European heat pump clothes dryer, and 40 to 46 percent over the average U.S. electric dryer.

According to Hwang, his students were “really interested in improving energy efficiency, more than just taking a class.” Students on the team spent extra lab hours and weekends working on constructing the dryer prototype and testing.

Hwang said, “Our team success stems from our talented students, who are eager to tackle engineering challenges, and from the support of our department chair, graduate office, undergraduate office, and CEEE staff. I greatly appreciate all of their efforts and support.”

The runner up team from Ohio State University received an honorary mention for its hybrid air/water conditioner.

The Max Tech and Beyond Design Competition supports faculty-led student design teams at U.S. universities to design, build, and test ultra-efficient product prototypes to reduce energy consumption in buildings and/or prototypes that greatly reduce the cost of such ultra-efficient products. The dual objectives of the competition are to support the development of next-generation prototypes as well as the next generation of scientists and engineers who will design them.

For more information on the completion, visit

Publication date: 9/16/2013

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