University City Air Conditioning

University City Air Conditioning – Startup Transaera uses a class of materials developed by MIT professor Mircea Dinca over a decade to make more energy-efficient air conditioners.

Caption: Transaera plans to use a material called metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, to create air conditioners that would have five times less climate impact than conventional air conditioners.

University City Air Conditioning

University City Air Conditioning

Caption: The Transaera team, from left to right: Co-founder and CEO Sorin Grama, Co-founder and CTO Matt Dorson, Controls Engineer Wiley Philibert, Mechanical Engineer Daniel Martin and Chief Engineer Ross Bonner.

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University City Air Conditioning

The air conditioner produced by startup Transaera has five times less impact on the climate than conventional air conditioners.

The Transaera team, left to right: Co-founder and CEO Sorin Grama, Co-founder and CTO Matt Dorson, Controls Engineer Wiley Philibert, Mechanical Engineer Daniel Martin and Chief Engineer Ross Bonner.

University City Air Conditioning

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As incomes continue to rise in developing countries, air conditioning demand is projected to triple by 2050. This increase will multiply what is already a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions: air conditioning currently accounts for about 20 percent of the electricity used in surrounding buildings. world.

Now, the Transaera program is working to reduce those energy needs through more efficient air conditioning that uses safer refrigerants to cool homes. The company believes its machines could have one-fifth the climate impact of traditional air conditioners.

University City Air Conditioning

“The thing about air conditioning is that the underlying technology hasn’t changed much since it was invented 100 years ago,” said Transaera chief engineer Ross Bonner SM ’20.

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That will change if Transaera’s small team succeeds. The company is currently a finalist in a global competition to redesign air conditioning. Winners of the Global Refrigeration Prize will receive $1 million to commercialize their machines.

University City Air Conditioning

At the heart of Transaera’s design is a class of highly porous materials called metal-organic frameworks, or MOFs, that passively absorb moisture from the air while the machine is running. Co-founder Mircea Dincă, W.M. Keck, Professor of Energy in MIT’s Department of Chemistry, conducted pioneering research on MOFs, and company team members see commercial development of the material as an important part of their mission.

“MOFs have many potential applications, but what holds them back is their unit economics and their inability to cost-effectively implement them at scale,” Bonner said. “Transaera’s goal is to be the first company to commercialize MOFs at scale and create breakthroughs that put MOFs in the public domain.”

University City Air Conditioning

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Dincă’s co-founders are Transaera CEO Sorin Grama SM ’07, who is also an instructor at MIT’s D-Lab, and mechanical engineer CTO Matt Dorson, who has worked with Grama on a previous venture.

“I was inspired by the idea of ​​creating something revolutionary,” Grama said. “We designed these new devices, but we also combined that materials knowledge with Mircea and our collaborators, and brought the two together to create something really new and different.”

University City Air Conditioning

Grama and Dorson previously worked together at Promethean Power Systems, which develops off-grid cooling solutions for farmers in India. To date, the company has installed 1,800 cooling systems, serving approximately 60,000 farmers every day. After stepping down as CEO in 2015, Grama returned to the institute, teaching at the MIT D-Lab and serving as an entrepreneur-in-residence at the MIT Martin Trust Center for Entrepreneurship.

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Around this time, Grama was introduced to MOF by Rob Stoner, associate director for science and technology at MIT’s Energy Initiative and founding director of the MIT Tata Center.

University City Air Conditioning

Stoner introduced Grama to Dincă, who had been studying MOFs since joining MIT in 2010 and had grown up 10 miles from Grama’s native Romania.

The appeal of MOFs is their large internal surface area and the ability to fine-tune the size of the small chambers that pass through them. Dincă previously developed MOFs with chambers large enough to trap water molecules in the air. He describes them as “sponges on steroids”.

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University City Air Conditioning

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Grama started thinking about using the material for cooling, but another application soon emerged. Most people think of air conditioners as simply cooling the air in a space, but they actually also dry the air they cool. Traditional machines use cold coils called evaporators to draw water from the air through condensation. In order for the cooling coil to collect moisture in the room, it should be much cooler than necessary. Extracting moisture from the air uses about half the electricity that conventional air conditioners use, Dorson said.

Transaera’s MOFs passively collect moisture as air enters the system. The waste heat from the machine is then used to dry the MOF material for continuous reuse.

University City Air Conditioning

Transaera was officially launched in early 2018, and the Global Cooling Awards were revealed that year. Hundreds of teams expressed interest, and Transaera was selected as one of eight finalists and awarded $200,000 to deliver a prototype to competition organizers.

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Bonner joined the company in 2019 after discovering a path to carbon-neutral air conditioning during an MIT mechanical engineering class.

University City Air Conditioning

As Covid-19 started to wreak havoc in countries around the world, it was decided to conduct the Cooling Prize trials remotely in India. To add insult to injury, restrictions prevented the co-founders from entering their Somerville lab, instead using their own vehicle and garage to complete the prototype. After delivering the prototypes, Transaera had to help award organizers set them up for field trials via live video streaming. The team says the results confirm Transaera’s approach and show that the system has a significantly lower climate impact than the base unit.

Transaera’s system also uses a refrigerant called R-32, which has zero ozone depletion potential (ODP) and approximately three times lower global warming potential than another widely used refrigerant.

University City Air Conditioning

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The winners of the Global Cooling Awards will be announced next month. Regardless, Transaera will expand its team this year and conduct additional trials in Boston. The company works with major manufacturers to provide equipment for prototypes and to show installers how they can integrate their equipment with existing technology.

Even as Transaera’s air conditioner nears commercialization, the company’s core work on MOFs continues. In fact, Transaera recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to explore more efficient ways to produce MOFs in a lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

University City Air Conditioning

“MOFs open up so many possibilities for a variety of revolutionary devices, not only in air conditioning, but also in water harvesting, energy storage and supercapacitors,” Grama said. “The knowledge we are developing could be applied to many other applications in the future program, I feel like we’re leading the way and pushing the technology forward.”

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Still, Transaera’s founders remained focused on getting their AC to market first, recognizing that the problem they were trying to solve was big enough to keep them busy for a while.

University City Air Conditioning

“Looking at the hot, humid tropics of the world, it’s clear that there’s a growing middle class and one of the things they want most is air conditioning,” Dolson said. “Developing more efficient air conditioning systems is critical to human health and the planet’s environment.”

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University City Air Conditioning

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University City Air Conditioning

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Radio-Based Control – Energy Renewal of Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems in Existing Buildings with “RadioDuct” Fig. 1: Schematic diagram of individual room control

University City Air Conditioning

The construction industry is the largest single industry in primary energy consumption. Dynamic retrofitting of buildings thus offers great potential for current climate protection goals. This potential is mainly due to poor operation of energy production and distribution units. However, the transition to demand-driven operations often requires rigorous robust monitoring. While monitoring requires communications infrastructure that is rarely found in existing buildings, retrofitting the necessary equipment is cumbersome or impossible.

The project involves the development of components that allow radio-based communication, thus providing a framework for actuators and sensors in ventilation and air-conditioning systems in non-residential buildings. Radio signals are transmitted through existing air ducts, and the grouping effect helps achieve greater transmission distances than open-air transmissions. Using radio-based devices

University City Air Conditioning

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