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Wirelessly Powered Heating and Cooling Devices

University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
Heating and Cooling the Human Body with Wirelessly Powered Devices
Program: 
ARPA-E Award: 
$2,618,462
Location: 
Berkeley, CA
Project Term: 
05/14/2015 to 05/13/2018
Project Status: 
ACTIVE
Technical Categories: 
Critical Need: 
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) account for 13% of energy consumed in the U.S. and about 40% of the energy used in a typical U.S. residence, making it the largest energy expense for most homes. Even though more energy-efficient HVAC technologies are being adopted in both the commercial and residential sectors, these technologies focus on efficiently heating or cooling large areas and dealing with how the building's net occupancy changes during a day, a week and across seasons. Building operators have to tightly manage temperature for an average occupancy comfort level; but the occupants only occupy a small fraction of the building's interior. There is a critical need for technologies that create localization of thermal management to relax the temperature settings in buildings, reduce the load on HVAC systems and enhance occupant comfort. This is achieved by tailoring the thermal environment around the individual, thus saving energy by not over-heating or over-cooling areas within the building where the occupants do not reside.
Project Innovation + Advantages: 
Until now, local comfort devices have had little market traction because they had to be tethered by a cord to a power source. The University of California at Berkeley will team with WiTricity to develop and integrate highly resonant wireless power transfer technology to deliver efficient local thermal amenities to the feet, hands, face, and trunk of occupants in workstations. Until now, local comfort devices have had little market traction because they had to be tethered by a cord to a power source. The team will leverage on-going developments in wireless charging systems for consumer electronics to integrate high-efficiency power transmitting devices with local comfort devices such as heated shoe insoles and cooled and heated office chairs. The team will develop four types of local comfort devices to deliver heating and cooling most effectively. The devices will draw very little electrical power and enable potential HVAC energy savings of at least 30%.
Potential Impact: 
If successful, DELTA technology could increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions produced by powering traditional HVAC systems, and enable more sustainable heating and cooling architectures for energy-efficient building design.
Security: 
If successful, DELTA technology could increase energy efficiency, reduce emissions produced by powering traditional HVAC systems, and enable more sustainable heating and cooling architectures for energy-efficient building design.
Environment: 
The heating and cooling of buildings generates about 16% of the U.S. domestic greenhouse gas emissions. Through improved utilization of energy produced by fossil fuels with full adoption DELTA can reduce these emission by 2%.
Economy: 
DELTA program innovations can help U.S. businesses eventually reduce reliance on tightly controlled building environments, thus enabling radical and sustainable architecture in next-generation energy-efficient building designs.
Contacts
ARPA-E Program Director: 
Dr. Jennifer Gerbi
Project Contact: 
Dr. Hui Zhang
Release Date: 
12/16/2014