The ESTCP Office is excited to announce that one of our projects under the Energy and Water Program Area won the 2016 Department of Energy’s (DOE) JUMP (Join in the discussion, Unveil innovation, Motivate transformation, and Promote technology to market) competition!  This ESTCP project led by Mr. Dahtzen Chu of ERDC-CERL and Scott Duncan of Retrofit Originality Inc. on a high efficiency dehumidification system (HEDS), beat out two other finalists by popular vote. At the 2016 Energy Exchange Conference held in Rhode Island earlier this year, the DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) and Building Technologies Office (BTO) asked the conference participants to vote for the building technology project they believed had the greatest potential to save energy.

Millions of dollars are spent at DoD facilities each year on maintenance due to the negative impact of biological growth related to improper or poor relative humidity (RH) control.  Undesirable biological growth is often made worse by common heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems which are incapable of proper RH control.  There are currently no dehumidification/reheat systems that can reduce chiller plant, boiler plant and base energy consumption without a considerable increase in maintenance and construction costs. ESTCP has funded Mr. Chu and his team to address this humidity problem.

Figure 1: HEDS patent design

1 = The mixed air stream upstream of the fan, 2 = the mixed air stream downstream of the fan, entering the cooling coil, 3 = the supply air stream coming off of the cooling coil, 4 = supply air which has been cooled, dehumidified and reheated to reduce moisture content and maintain desired space conditions, 5 = the cooling coil, 6 = the cooling recovery coil (acts as the reheat coil, but uses reclaimed heat from the cooling process.)

The HEDS unit is essentially a standard air handling unit equipped with a very large face area and depth cooling coil designed to deliver very warm chilled water return temperatures, and a “Cooling Recovery Coil” designed to reclaim the wasted low quality heat that was generated in the cooling process.  The large cooling coil increases the chilled water return temperature leaving the cooling coils to 70°F or higher while drying the air out to 55°F dewpoint or lower. It then uses that warm water to heat the air back up to 65°F, which lowers the relative humidity of the air to 55% and reduces the potential for condensation in the spaces. The result is reduced cooling plant loads of approximately 30% and elimination of the need for new reheat energy on peak load days.

This technology has great potential to reduce energy costs and improve facility performance across DoD.  Assuming that HEDS-based efficiency projects can be applied to approximately 13% of the DoD portfolio, the reduction in energy costs, capital expenditures, biological remediation costs, and facilities disruptions can be expected to save more than $2 billion over 20 years.

As the winner of the 2016 JUMP competition, Mr. Chu and his team will receive technical assistance from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) worth up to $50,000 to validate, evaluate, and analyze the winning technology and its potential energy savings impact in federal buildings. ORNL will then produce a case study report documenting the analysis results which can be used to promote the transfer of this technology to federal and private sector end-users. Congratulations to Mr. Chu and Mr. Duncan on winning the 2016 JUMP Award!  We look forward to seeing the results of this demonstration project, anticipated be complete in early 2017.