The Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced 11 awards worth $30 million for new projects aimed at developing localized thermal management systems that can regulate temperatures, focused on a building’s occupants and not the overall building. The projects are funded through ARPA-E’s program Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities (DELTA), which was announced in April 2014.
ARPA-E’s DELTA program will develop localized heating and cooling systems and devices to expand temperature ranges within buildings. This localization of thermal management will enable buildings to operate in wider temperature ranges while still ensuring occupant comfort, which would dramatically reduce the building’s energy consumption and associated emissions.
One selected DELTA project is Syracuse University in New York, which will receive $3.2 million to develop a near-range micro-environmental control system. The system leverages a high-efficiency micro-scroll compressor in a micro vapor compression system, whose evaporator is embedded in a phase-change material. This material will store the cooling produced by the micro vapor compression system at night, releasing it as a cool breeze to make occupants more comfortable during the day. This micro-environmental control system could save more than 15 percent of the energy provided for heating and cooling.