UHV Technologies, Inc. wins SBIR Phase I grant from US Department of Energy for Development of High Efficiency Coolers using Nanocrystalline Field Emitters
Fort Worth, Texas (July 19, 2005)

It has been estimated that almost 10of the energy consumed in an average house is used by air conditioning systems. Home refrigerators consume another 8-10. Thus, home cooling contributes almost one-fifth to the $100 billion in electricity bills received annually by the American home owners. Any improvement in the efficiency of these cooling systems (heat pumps) will not only reduce the energy consumption but also pay dividends in terms in less dependence on foreign fossil fuel and less ozone layer depleting agent production. 

All current building cooling systems are based on vapor compression technology and have limited efficiency characteristics. The proposed field emission thermoelectric cooler is more efficient, lightweight, does not employ any moving parts and will have very long life. This cooler is based on the concept that the electrons emitted rfom an electron emitter (cathode) leave with certain amount of energy resulting in the cooling of the cathode electrode. As the electrons reach the other electrode (typically the anode), the heat is transported from the cathode to the anode; constructing a very efficient heat pump. During 1999,UHV Technologies, Inc. demonstrated the feasiblity of this concept during a SBIR project using diamond field emitters, however, it has not been possible to fabricate high quality "practical" diamond cathodes in spite of continuous efforts over the last several years. Recently, our team has theoretically predicted that a modification of the original design allows silicon and traditional semiconductors to be used to develop high efficiency electronic coolers at room temperature.

The proposed cooler concept has the potential to develop a solid state cooler technology with no moving parts which is several more times efficient than currently used air conditioning systems. To successfully accomplish the development of this technology, UHV Technologies, Inc. has assembled a team comprising the world's leading authorities in field emission theory (Profs. Paul cutler and Nick Miskowsky of Penn State University), thermoelectric and thermionin coolers (Prof. Gerald Mahan of Penn State University), and large area field emission device manufacturing (Prof. Bruce Gnade of University of Texas at Dallas).

In Phase I, the objective of this team is to perform closely coupled theoretical and experiemtnal investigations to demonstrate a small electronic cooler chip (1 watt or approx. 3.5 BTU/hr) based on silicon field emitters. In Phase II, we will optimize the cooler device structure and fabricate a 500 BTU/hr cooler module (useful for refrigerators) using large area cathodes and demonstrate power efficiency exceeding 15 Phase III will involve development of a 1 ton air conditioning system based on this innovative technology.
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