Engineers secure SEAI funding to pursue innovative energy project

Posted on: 27 November 2018

Engineers from Trinity College Dublin and the University of Surrey are leading a three-year innovative energy project entitled Reducing Energy Consumption in Air Filtration Systems (RECAFS).

The engineers have been funded by the Government’s Department for Communications, Climate Action and Environment via the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which awarded a total of €8 million to 45 projects that will help our homes, businesses and communities deliver a cleaner energy future.

The RECAFS project will specifically aim to reduce the energy consumption of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, which consume 20% to 70% of the total energy consumed by typical commercial buildings. In the EU, HVAC systems are responsible for 11% of electricity consumption and a considerable portion of this consumption is associated with the filtration of air for human health protection.

Filters in HVAC systems create a barrier to the ingress of air pollution in indoor environments but also create a barrier to air flow, resulting in increased energy consumption from ventilation fans. The RECAFS project aims to advance new technology aimed at reducing the energy consumption up to 40% through the addition of new sustainable air pollution control technology reducing the loading of particulate matter on HVAC filters.

Discussing the RECAFS project, Dr Aonghus McNabola from Trinity’s School of Engineering, said:

This funding from SEAI allows us to develop this new technology over an appropriate period of time to achieve ambitious targets for energy saving for the building energy sector. A reduction of 40% of fan energy consumption in a sector responsible for so much electricity consumption will be an important step forward.

The RECAFS project is one of seven funded projects in which researchers from Trinity are lead co-ordinators.

Discussing the funding programme, Jim Gannon, CEO of SEAI, said: “New solutions and new technologies are central to achieving a sustainable energy future for Ireland. With direct involvement from industry, academia and local enterprises, the 45 projects we are funding will deliver real solutions to problems that the energy sector is facing today. These projects will facilitate innovation in the energy market, inform policy, and develop the technical solutions we need to create a thriving and efficient clean energy sector.”

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