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HVAC

Turbomachine expander improves energy efficiency for businesses and vehicles

Purdue University researchers have developed a turbomachine expander that helps harvest previously wasted energy used in the process of moving the air from high to low pressure.

By Chris Adam March 2, 2020
Purdue University researchers created a turbomachine expander that offers an efficient and safe strategy for heating and cooling. Courtesy: Purdue University

A device developed by Purdue University researchers to help homeowners cut electricity bills also could provide more efficient and safer cooling options for companies and vehicles. The team created a turbomachine expander that helps harvest previously wasted energy used in the process of moving the air from high to low pressure.

The device can be used as a control agent within an existing heat pump. The researchers developed their device to decrease energy consumption of the vapor-compression heat pump cycle, which is commonly used in homes, businesses and vehicles for cooling and heating.

“Our solution packs a twofold punch in that it’s more efficient but still just as safe as conventional vapor-compression heat pump cycle operations,” said Riley Barta, a graduate research assistant in Purdue’s College of Engineering. “We created a device that’s the best of both worlds with a fixed nozzle and variable options for phase separation that allow a much broader range of applications than are possible with more conventional approaches.”

The other members of the Purdue team are Eckhard Groll, the Reilly Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and David Ziviani, a research assistant professor of engineering.

“Not only does our device help cut down wasted energy, which helps reduce electricity costs and improve efficiency, but it works across a range of ambient conditions,” Barta said. “Our expander and control method ensure the safe operation of the heat pump system.”

The Purdue device can be used with any common heating and cooling systems found in homes, vehicles and industrial buildings.


Chris Adam
Author Bio: Chris Adam, Purdue University