An HVAC system that uses membrane technology to recover energy and boost efficiency is set to be launched on the market.
The system was developed in partnership with Saskatoon-based Venmar CES Inc. and the University of Saskatchewan mechanical engineering research group.
It uses a liquid-to-air membrane energy exchanger (LAMEE), which uses membranes to effectively recover moisture and heat energy before it is wasted in the building’s exhaust air.
PhD student Davood Ghadiri Moghaddam is part of a University of Saskatchewan mechanical engineering research group that designed an HVAC system capable of reclaiming up to 80 per cent of energy other systems would waste.
He said: “In a conventional system, air is dumped outside. However, there is huge potential in this exhaust air because it was already conditioned with a considerable amount of heat and moisture. It is like free energy.”
The new HVAC can also be easily fitted to older buildings, unlike some other systems that require major building renovations.
Moghaddam, one of more than 25 students who has worked on the LAMEE over the past decade, designed and built a small-scale testing facility for it.
“This facility has certainly improved our research and testing capabilities,” said Moghaddam’s supervisor Carey Simonson. “It will be a key research facility for my research group for years to come.”
The test site provides both Venmar CES and researchers with important information such as the efficiency of the product and how it will perform in extreme weather conditions. The facility’s small size helps cost-effectively model how a LAMEE would operate in a building’s HVAC.
“In industry it is very important to be able to predict a system’s performance before building anything. It will save the manufacturer time and money. You must know, ‘Does it make sense to build a system using this equipment? Is there a market for it?’ ” Moghaddam said.