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ARGONNE TO DEVELOP NEW SOFTWARE TO HELP DESIGN HIGH-EFFICIENCY HEAT PUMP

 ARGONNE, Ill., March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago, announced today that it will develop new computer software to help Energy Concepts Co., Annapolis, Md., design a high-efficiency heat pump that saves energy and is easy on the environment.
 Heat pumps transfer heat from cold areas to hot ones, despite its natural tendency to flow the other way. More efficient than conventional heaters or air conditioners, they can heat or cool homes and office buildings and use low-grade waste heat to provide industrial refrigeration.
 Heat pumps also have applications on islands and in other remote locations that are not wired to a central generating grid. Heat pumps can capture and use waste heat from small generators remote communities use to generate electricity.
 The one-year, $182,700 joint research project focuses on an advanced "absorption" heat pump being developed by Energy Concepts. Absorption heat pumps use an ammonia-and-water mixture instead of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), refrigerants that damage the ozone layer that protects the earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays. By law, manufacturers of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment must phase out use of CFCs by the year 2000.
 "The project's goal is to provide Energy Concepts with a tool it can use to test different designs before risking the time and expense of building and testing prototypes in the shop," said Chandrakant Panchal of Argonne.
 Energy Concepts wants to push the efficiency of their advanced GAX heat pump to deliver 2.6 Btus of heat for every Btu of heat input, said Donald C. Erickson of Energy Concepts.
 The company plans to do this, Erickson said, by using heat given off naturally when ammonia dissolves in water, something that happens in the "absorber" component at the end of the heat-pump cycle.
 "This heat is wasted now," he said. "We want to reclaim it and use it to help evaporate ammonia from water, which takes place in the ammonia `generator' component at the cycle's start."
 Energy Concepts plans to combine the two components in a single unit and link them with a heat exchanger. The whole system would be more efficient, Erickson said, because it wouldn't need as much external energy to drive it.
 Under the joint research agreement, Argonne will develop an analytical method to predict the rate of ammonia absorption and generation and will test it against experimental data. Argonne will then work with Energy Concepts to write a PC-based program to predict the effect of design changes on the performance of Energy Concepts' advanced heat pump.
 The joint project is a "cooperative research and development agreement" or CRADA. CRADAs are designed to foster cooperative research between industry and government labs by offering private firms advantageous rights to patents and other intellectual property from the joint research, trade-secret-like protection of joint data, and streamlined government approval of the agreement.
 With financial backing from the Gas Research Institute, Energy Concepts will provide $132,700 to the CRADA. The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Research/Laboratory Technology Transfer Program will provide $50,000 through Argonne. The University of Maryland will be providing experimental data under financial backing from the Maryland Industrial Partnerships Program.
 Energy Concepts is a research and development company that specializes in development of absorption heat pumps. Their developmental products include solar icemakers, residential heat pumps, commercial and vehicular air conditioning systems, and large- scale industrial refrigeration units and heat pumps. The firm's products use no chlorofluorocarbons and are actuated by heat sources such as gas, solar or waste heat.
 With more than 200 different research programs in basic and applied science, Argonne is one of the nation's largest federally funded scientific laboratories. Argonne is operated by the University of Chicago for the U.S. Department of Energy.
 -0- 3/17/93
 /NOTE: Chandrakant B. Panchal is a resident of Woodridge, Ill./
 /CONTACT: Dave Baurac of Argonne, 708-252-5584, or Donald Erickson of Energy Concepts Co., 410-266-6521/


CO: U.S. Department of Energy; Argonne National Laboratory;
 Energy Concepts Co. ST: Illinois, Maryland IN: OIL CPR SU:


IH-MH -- DC015 -- 7019 03/17/93 12:00 EST
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Date:Mar 17, 1993
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