Highly Efficient Membrane Heat Exchanger for High Performance Building

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Researchers at Purdue University have developed a membrane heat exchanger which separates vapor from air. This concept allows for the separation of sensible (temperature) and latent (humidity/phase change) loads in one device, allowing vastly more flexibility to optimize for energy efficiency. Currently, HVAC systems overcool outdoor air to its dew point to dehumidify the air through condensation, and then, the air is reheated to the desired indoor temperature. This inefficiency of overcooling and reheating has long been accepted as the industry standard and best available process. The Purdue system targets 2x efficiency improvements compared to vapor compressions systems and a seasonal COP of 12. Cost estimates indicate a payback of up to 2 years in target climates, and with long-term reductions in membrane pricing, costs could approach a target of $1,000 for this element of a residential cooling system. In addition to these substantial energy savings, benefits include improved air quality (from more outside air), improved comfort, rapid ROI, new part load capabilities, reduced heat exchanger size, and zero water consumption. This solution has the potential to serve as a major breakthrough in the field of high performance buildings.

-Substantial energy
-Improved air quality (from more outside air)
-improved comfort
-Rapid ROI
-New part load capabilities
-Reduced heat exchanger size
-Zero water consumption

Potential Applications:
-High performance buildings
Feb 24, 2020
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
1801 Newman Road
West Lafayette, IN 47906

Phone: (765) 588-3475
Fax: (765) 463-3486
Email: otcip@prf.org