2024 Final Competition Winner – Purdue University

Presenting Team Members:

Andreas Hoess – Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering

Aaron Farha – Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering

Levi Premer – Master’s Student in Mechanical Engineering

Rebecca Lu – Ph.D. Student in Mechanical Engineering

School: Purdue University

Challenge: Keepin’ it Cool (or Hot)

Problem Definition: This challenge focuses on developing an innovative solution for thermal energy storage for buildings to optimize energy utilization, enhance sustainability, and increase resilience. The solutions could involve (but are not limited to) integration of materials, systems, and controls for the storage and release of energy.

Project Title: Reducing Barriers to Achieve an Energy Efficient Lifestyle for Low-Income Families in the United States of America

Solution: In residential buildings, 32% of the electric energy use is based on space heating and cooling demand. This makes heating and cooling appliances a major contributor of carbon dioxide emissions for the residential sector. To combat climate change and achieve the CO2 reductions targeted by the Paris Agreement, an electrification of the residential building industry is indispensable. The support of low-income households in existing or newly built subsidized housing to access weatherization programs and retrofitting conventional HVAC systems with high-efficient heat pump technology and thermal energy storages will be a key measure to accomplish this task.

Our project “OneGrid” seeks to provide an affordable thermal energy storage-heat pump combination that is optimized for communal use in low-income or subsidized housing. Following the Justice40 program guidelines of the U.S. government, the product will close adoption barriers in underserved communities while transitioning to an electrified society. With easy installation, retrofit options, a smart control system and the implementation in a Microgrid, not just the users but also the power grid benefits from the installation.