CINCINNATI — Melink Solar & Geo Inc. has been awarded grant funding by the United States Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). This funding will enable Melink to accelerate the research and development of its hybrid geothermal HVAC system, which stores energy using thermal batteries. The system can potentially reduce the installation costs of geothermal heat pump systems, which represent a significant energy savings opportunity for the U.S. with widespread implementation. The system’s prototype is currently heating and cooling Melink’s new Net-Zero Energy HQ2 facility in Milford, Ohio.
“Our company is developing a hybrid geothermal HVAC system to minimize the need for expensive ground loops. Instead, we are mimicking the thermal energy storage capacity of the water inside such ground loops with phase change materials (PCM),” said Steve Melink, founder and CEO. “Melink is piloting the first prototype at our Net-Zero Energy headquarters, and we are now developing next-generation prototypes for eventual commercialization. With our third U.S. Department of Energy grant, we are committed to mainstreaming this technology for the benefit of the entire HVAC industry.”
The funding is part of an ongoing innovation project with the DOE, which encourages small businesses to advance innovation at federal agencies. Melink received the recent funding because its hybrid geothermal HVAC system demonstrated technical feasibility during the first phase of research. Melink Solar & Geo’s team of engineers, designers, and researchers have worked collaboratively with the University of Dayton, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and industry partners to design a more cost-effective energy efficient HVAC system.
“This funding from the DOE is the result of a multi-year effort wherein a group of intelligent and highly dedicated people have proven that the system has merit, and I’m excited to say that the hybrid geothermal HVAC system is just one part of our growing platform of Net-Zero products,” said Seth Parker, vice president and general manager of Melink Solar & Geo.
The two-year funding awarded by the DOE will be used to finalize engineering and early commercialization of the hybrid geothermal HVAC system.