In hot and humid climates, air conditioners require more energy to remove water from the moisture-rich air. More efficient cooling methods are necessary to reduce building energy consumption and environmental impact. Buildings currently account for 72% of the nation's electricity use and 40% of our carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year, 5% of which comes directly from air conditioning. The refrigerants typically used in air conditioners are greenhouse gases (GHG) that may directly or indirectly contribute to global climate change. Because most U.S. electricity comes from coal-fired power plants which produce CO2, there is a pressing need to support improvements that increase the efficiency of these technologies and reduce the use of GHG refrigerants, while maintaining or improving healthy indoor air quality.
Project Innovation + Advantages:
Dais Analytic Corporation is developing a product called NanoAir which dehumidifies the air entering a building to make air conditioning more energy efficient. The system uses a polymer membrane that allows moisture but not air to pass through it. A vacuum behind the membrane pulls water vapor from the air, and a second set of membranes releases the water vapor outside. The membrane's high selectivity translates into reduced energy consumption for dehumidification. Dais' design goals for NanoAir are the use of proprietary materials and processes and industry-standard installation techniques. NanoAir is also complementary to many other energy saving strategies, including energy recovery. Dais received a separate award of up to $800,000 from the Department of the Navy to help decrease military fuel use.
If successful, Dais' technology has the potential to reduce the energy consumption for air conditioning while contributing to healthier environments in all types of buildings including homes, offices, and schools, as well as modes of transportation.
Increased energy efficiency would decrease U.S. energy demand and reduce reliance on fossil fuels—strengthening U.S. energy security.
Improved humidity control in buildings lowers energy use in air conditioning, reduces GHG emissions, lessens the opportunity for mold formation and triggers for allergies and other respiratory irritants leading to healthier indoor environments.
Widespread adoption of this technology could reduce energy consumption for air conditioning of buildings—providing consumers with cost savings on energy bills without sacrificing comfort.