Leveraging NREL All-Electrical HVAC Know-how, Blue Frontier Earns $20 Million Improvement Increase | Information

Leveraging NREL All-Electrical HVAC Know-how, Blue Frontier Earns  Million Improvement Increase | Information

Sustainable HVAC System Analysis Startup Receives $20 Million From Invoice Gates-Funded
Breakthrough Power Ventures

Leveraging NREL All-Electrical HVAC Know-how, Blue Frontier Earns  Million Improvement Increase | Information
NREL engineers Eric Kozubal, left, and Jason Woods conduct preliminary analysis on the
Blue Frontier prototype, the primary sustainable HVAC system able to decreasing CO2 emissions by 85%. Photograph by Dennis Schroeder, NREL

Bolstered by applied sciences developed on the Nationwide Renewable Power Laboratory (NREL),
startup firm Blue Frontier earned $20 million from the Invoice Gates-funded Breakthrough Power Ventures.

The pioneering expertise is the primary energy-storing, grid-interactive, all-electric
air conditioner, with the potential to cut back CO2 emissions by as much as 85% over conventional refrigerant techniques. This funding makes the
creation of a Blue Frontier heating, air flow, and air-con (HVAC) pilot
mannequin doable inside the subsequent two years.

Eric Kozubal, senior mechanical engineer in NREL’s Constructing Applied sciences and Science Middle, mentioned it has been an extended stroll to this achievement. He developed the “Desiccant-Enhanced
Evaporative Air Conditioner” expertise greater than 10 years in the past with NREL colleagues
Ron Judkoff, Jason Woods, and Jay Burch. Their work went on to obtain a prestigious
R&D 100 Award as one of the crucial technologically vital innovations of 2012.

Funding was restricted at first, Kozubal mentioned, however the workforce knew they had been on to one thing
and joined forces with engineering entrepreneur Daniel Betts, who cofounded Blue Frontier.
Betts is now Blue Frontier’s CEO.

Kozubal mentioned their purpose was to merge a number of associated NREL applied sciences into one bundle,
with assist from the U.S. Division of Power’s Know-how Commercialization Fund,
and produce a extremely environment friendly, inexperienced HVAC system for the mass market. The primary prototype
was designed and examined over the previous two years at NREL beneath the Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, with Kozubal’s workforce specializing in creating a business production-ready

“The electrical energy grid of the longer term is in determined want of power storage options
like this,” Kozubal mentioned. “Blue Frontier and NREL are working to supply a extra economical
different for utilities.”

The demand for heating and cooling is rising. July 2022 witnessed among the hottest nighttime American temperatures ever recorded, creating extra
of a necessity for air-con in houses and companies.

“HVAC techniques are actually power intensive. When the climate will get scorching and humid, the
techniques activate and the grid should react to the load,” Kozubal mentioned. “Blue Frontier
is a expertise that may profit anybody. The provision air is cool and drier than conventional
AC models. That is distinctive in that it could management a constructing’s temperature and humidity
stage significantly better.”

Plugging Into the Energy of NREL

Blue Frontier expertise leverages two NREL improvements in its HVAC answer. The
first is a cooling course of utilizing oblique evaporative air-con, which offers
the refrigeration impact. The second is a concentrated salt answer (or desiccant),
which controls humidity. The 2 processes are mixed right into a single conditioner
system that cools and dehumidifies constructing areas utilizing minimal electrical energy to run
followers and pumps.

Kozubal mentioned the system’s grid flexibility is derived from NREL’s second innovation:
an all-electric warmth pump desiccant regenerator that reconcentrates the cheap
desiccant and shops it in a compact tank throughout low-emission, low-cost electrical energy
durations. Storing the desiccant permits as much as 12 hours of low energy conditioner operation
when electrical charges and carbon depth are excessive.

“The electrification of this expertise is an actual breakthrough,” Kozubal mentioned. “The
mixture of environment friendly electrical regeneration mixed with easy, cheap
storage creates a system that saves as much as 80% in power prices whereas shifting the remaining
power to low-carbon sources.”

Along with Kozubal and Woods, NREL researchers concerned embody Greg Shoukas,
Nelson James, and Kerry Rippy, in addition to postdoctoral researchers Omar Labban, Ransisi
Huang, and Yi Zeng. Different traders embody 2150, VoLo Earth Ventures, and Trendy

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