COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Dominion Foundation has presented the University of Maryland (UMD) with a $50,000 educational grant to support its project, “Design of Efficient Solar Cooling System with High Coefficient of Performance.” Led by Department of Mechanical Engineering Research Professor Yunho Hwang, the project aims to model, design, fabricate, and test a new solar cooling system that exceeds current efficiency standards.

“In the U.S., cooling and heating systems are responsible for 63 percent of building energy use,” said Hwang. “Therefore, utilizing solar energy to provide cooling and heating for buildings will contribute to saving energy and conserving our environment.”

“We are proud to support the University of Maryland and give students an opportunity to solve an important, real-world engineering challenge,” said Mike Frederick, vice president of liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations at the Dominion Cove Point LNG terminal in Lusby, Maryland. “Education and the environment have always been important to Dominion and Cove Point and this project matches up well with our ongoing commitment to both.” The Dominion Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources, parent company of Dominion Cove Point.

In addition to Hwang, the UMD research team includes three mechanical engineering students, juniors Jonathan Kagan and Joseph Baker, and graduate student Tao Cao. Through this research project, the students will gain a better understanding of the technologies for sustainable energy conversion and utilization, and through this hands-on experience, they will learn the challenges and opportunities in designing sustainable energy systems.

Hwang is the associate director of the Center for Environmental Energy Engineering (CEEE) and is part of CEEE’s Consortium for Energy Efficiency and Heat Pumps (EEHP). EEHP’s faculty and staff are said to be responsible for building the first carbon dioxide (CO2) hot water heat pump in the United States, helping to establish CEEE as a leader in CO2 refrigerant technology. Hwang is also chief science officer with the UMD startup, Optimized Thermal Systems Inc. (OTS), a company that provides engineering consulting for HVACR systems and customized design software and services for HVACR, thermal management, and energy conversion.

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Publication date: 10/7/2015

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