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Multi-pathway air transfer, thermal energy exchange system

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20120291992 patent thumbnailZoom

Multi-pathway air transfer, thermal energy exchange system


A system transfers thermal energy between incoming supply air and outgoing exhaust air. The system comprises: at least four rotary heat exchange units positioned in an array so that incoming supply air and outgoing exhaust air passes through each of the wheels as counter flowing air streams; and partitions defining at least three pathways for directing the counter flowing air streams through the rotary heat exchange units. A method of transferring thermal energy between incoming supply air and outgoing exhaust air is also described. The method comprises: positioning at least four rotary heat exchange units in an array in an air transfer system so that incoming supply air and outgoing exhaust air passes through each of the wheels as counter flowing air streams; and defining at least three pathways for directing the counter flowing air streams through the rotary heat exchange units.

Inventors: Lawrence C. Hoagland, Donald F. Steele
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120291992 - Class: 165 88 (USPTO) - 11/22/12 - Class 165 
Heat Exchange > Movable Heating Or Cooling Surface >Rotor Carrying Separate Chambers For Two Exchanging Fluents

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120291992, Multi-pathway air transfer, thermal energy exchange system.

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CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is related to and claims priority from provisional application U.S. Ser. No. 61/378,661 filed Aug. 31, 2010 in the names of Lawrence C. Hoagland and Donald Steele and entitled Three Path Energy Ventilation System

BACKGROUND

1. Field

This application disclosure relates generally to energy efficient air transfer systems, and more particularly to air transfer systems that include multiple rotary air to air, thermal energy exchange units, and multiple pathways for directing air through the thermal energy exchange units.

2. Overview

Energy recovery air transfer systems include air handlers, ventilation systems (ERVs), and HVAC systems, as well as some type of heat exchanger for conserving energy. Rotary air to air heat exchangers usually include a porous wheel and conserve energy by being mounted so as to rotate between two separate counter-flowing airstreams (usually one flowing into a building and one flowing out of the building) so as to transfer thermal energy and, depending on the construction of the wheel, moisture between the airstreams. For example, in hot humid climates hot and humid air that is brought into a building first passes through one half of the energy recovery wheel as it rotates through the intake/supply air. As the wheel continues to rotate through the counter-flowing air streams, heat and/or moisture is transferred from the wheel to the outgoing cooler drier return/exhaust air. As a result, the temperature and humidity of the intake air is reduced before, for example, being transferred through an air conditioning unit. This reduces the load on the air conditioning unit, conserving energy.

In designing large HVAC systems, particularly for large buildings, components become large, expensive and difficult to manage. Large rotary air-to-air heat exchange wheels are usually mounted in cassettes so that they can be more easily installed and serviced when necessary. With rotary air to air heat exchange wheels designed for large airflows (say above 25,000 CFM) the physical size of the cassette becomes too large to ship in one piece. Some assembly must be done on site.

With increasingly large, single wheel, rotary heat exchangers, the bending forces on the spokes caused by counter-flowing airstreams increase as a function of the square of the rotary heat exchanger wheel radius. The design must provide for these increased forces, so a structurally stronger and hence heavier wheel and frame design is necessary as the size of the wheel is increased.

BACKGROUND LISTING OF PRIOR ART

See EP 2093507; EP 2116785; KR 10094085; U.S. Pub. App. No. 20110146941; U.S. Pat. Nos. 4,113,004; 4,462,459; 4,513,809; 4,754,806; 4,982,575; 5,353,606; 5,542,968; 5,997,277; 6,199,368; 6,355,091; 6,823,135; 7,484,381; 7,886,986; WO 2008069559 and WO 2009136413.

SUMMARY

With all other design factors being equal, the amount of energy that can be transferred with a rotary air-to-air heat exchange wheel is a function of the open surface area within the porous wheel over which the airstream flows. Accordingly, in accordance with the teachings disclosed herein a large wheel is replaced with four, or more, rotary air-to-air heat exchange wheels of similar combined surface area and utilized in at least a three-path counter-flowing airstream configuration so that many benefits can be realized over utilizing a large single rotary air-to-air heat exchange wheel.

In accordance with aspect of the teachings provided herein, a system is provided for transferring thermal energy between incoming supply air and outgoing exhaust air. The system comprises: at least four rotary heat exchange units positioned in an array so that incoming supply air and outgoing exhaust air passes through each of the wheels as counter flowing air streams; and partitions defining at least three pathways for directing the counter flowing air streams through the rotary heat exchange units.

In accordance with aspect of the teachings provided herein, a method of transferring thermal energy between incoming supply air and outgoing exhaust air, the method comprising: positioning at least four rotary heat exchange units in an array in an air transfer system so that incoming supply air and outgoing exhaust air passes through each of the wheels as counter flowing air streams; and defining at least three pathways for directing the counter flowing air streams through the rotary heat exchange units.

As used herein the term “heat exchange” applies to devices that transfer sensible and/or latent heat.

These, as well as other components, steps, features, objects, benefits, and advantages, will now become clear from a review of the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments, the accompanying drawings, and the claims.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120291992 A1
Publish Date
11/22/2012
Document #
13222154
File Date
08/31/2011
USPTO Class
165 88
Other USPTO Classes
2989003
International Class
/
Drawings
10



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