Enthalpy-sensor-technology for increased energy efficiency in buildings

Fig. 1 Laser-based Particle Image Velocimetry to study two-dimensional flow profiles in the UAS Burgenland laboratory in Pinkafeld
Fig. 2 Flow simulation in a 90° air duct

Ventilation and air conditioning systems contribute significantly to the energy consumption of a building; yet, after their installation and during operations they are rarely studied or optimized regarding their efficiency. One reason for this is the lack of efficient possibilities concerning metering and monitoring. The e.sense project examines possibilities to make enthalpy flows in ventilation and air conditioning systems transparent. To this end, the project focuses on flow sensors based on affordable foil and thin-layer technology installed across the diameters in flow channels.


Fluid mechanical tests

The basis for the practical use of sensors stems from experiment and simulation-based studies. A series of experiments regarding fluid mechanics are carried out in the University of Applied Sciences’ laboratory. The results flow into the development of validated turbulences models for flow processes in complex channel systems such as 90°-angle arches. (see also Fig. 1 and Fig.2)

Sensor development

Figure 3 shows a sensor diagram for a volume flow test in air ducts.

Fig. 3 Sketch of the thermal flow sensor prototype made up of 18 µm thick copper channels, featuring 100 µm strong flexible foil, heating coils, shown in red; outer and inner sensor coils shown in purple and blue, resp.

The sensor works according to the calorimetric principle (sensor cool down is proportional to flow velocity) and is optimized with the help of flow simulations and later characterized in comprehensive experiments. (see fig. 4)

Fig. 4 Test stand for the metrological characterization of flow sensors in the UAS Burgenland laboratory in Pinkafeld

Conclusive field and long-term tests in the air conditioning system at the testing facility Energetikum on the UAS Burgenland’s Pinkafeld campus show close correlations with a reference sensor put in place.

Duration: 07/2012 - 06/2016

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