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Energy Efficiency

Energy-efficient P.N.N.L. technology gets fund to keep army cool

Energy-efficient P.N.N.L. technology gets fund to keep army cool
PNNL has been awarded $2.8 million to adapt its nanomaterial-using adsorption chiller system for field military bases on the front lines of battle. By using up to 50 percent less diesel than the air-chilling technologies currently used by the military, the system could save soldiers’ lives by reducing attacks on troops who transport fuel in supply convoys.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is the recipient of nearly $2.8 million in grants to develop an energy-efficient cooling system for the U.S. Army.

The lab will get the funds over the course of three years from the Department of Defense, Navy and the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy.

Partnering with Oregon State University and Power Partners, Inc. of Athens, Georgia, P.N.N.L. will develop a next-generation adsorption chiller that is specially designed to be smaller, lighter, more efficient and able to operate under extreme temperatures to be deployed at bases on the front lines.

"This will be the most advanced adsorption cooling system ever developed, and these advances are needed to meet very demanding military requirements," said P.N.N.L. Laboratory Fellow and project leader Pete McGrail.

The chiller will use a novel nanomaterial called metal organic framework or M.O.F. M.O.F.s are crystal-like compounds made of metal clusters connected to organic molecules or linkers. Together, the clusters and linkers assemble into a porous 3D structure.

P.N.N.L. has developed a M.O.F. that can hold three times more water than the silica gel used in current adsorption chillers. This allows for an adsorption chiller system that is smaller and lighter without losing its efficiency.

The system will run off of waste heat coming from a diesel generator, reducing the diesel fuel use needed to cool field military installations by up to 50 percent.

The planned 3-killowatt chiller will weigh about 180 pounds and take up about 8 cubic feet.

Further improvements will include breakthroughs in micro channel heat exchanger technology and upgrades in the MOF’s thermal properties.

The project builds on advances that P.N.N.L. has made on adsorption cooling technology under ARPA-E’s Building Energy Efficiency Through Innovative Thermodevices programme in 2010. P.N.N.L. had received funding to develop a similar chiller for commercial buildings.

The lab also obtained ARPA-E funding in 2011 for an adsorption chiller to heat and cool electric vehicles with minimal impact on driving distance. – EcoSeed Staff

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