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Five organizations unite in first test of new DOE technology application program

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July 30, 1992 Share This!

RICHLAND, Wash. — Implementing a new initiative to reduce federal energy consumption, the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest Laboratory has entered into an agreement with four organizations to test a natural gas cooling system at a naval site. The collaborative project is the first application of the test bed demonstration program, developed through DOE's Federal Energy Management Program, to introduce and apply energy- efficient technologies at federal facilities in a fast and cost-effective manner.

Under the pilot demonstration, PNL has signed a cooperative research and development agreement with three private organizations to test the efficiency of two, gas-powered, rooftop air conditioning units developed by the Thermo King Corporation. The units were selected through a cost analysis of six system options conducted by the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The analysis concluded that the natural gas system would provide the best return on investment -- a projected savings in annual operating costs of more than $8,000.

To demonstrate the technology, the Navy Exchange Building -- 1 1/2 story, 18,000-square-foot masonry structure at the Naval Air Station, Willow Grove, Pennsylvania -- has been retrofitted with two Thermo King cooling units. Also, the building has been equipped with a system to collect performance data from June through September 1992. At the end of the 1992 cooling season, performance data will be analyzed by PNL, and the results will be shared with government and industry through reports and seminars.

Currently, several years of testing and use within private industry is common before a new technology is readily applied at federal facilities. The test bed program is designed to bring the technology to a federal site for evaluation, significantly reducing the trial period and producing test data to support federal purchase of the technology. Consequently, new energy- efficient technologies can be adopted much more quickly, saving energy and money throughout federal facilities. PNL provides program support to DOE for the test bed demonstration program.

Those organizations participating in the first test bed include DOE; Thermo King Corporation, the developer of the air cooling unit, which is supporting the system installation and wants to encourage federal use of its products; the Willow Grove Naval Air Station, which is providing the test facility and hopes to lower the station's energy consumption and associated costs; the Philadelphia Electric Company, which is the station's gas and electric utility and proponent of natural gas use to decrease summer and winter electricity loads; and the American Gas Cooling Center, which wants to highlight the advantages of natural gas cooling.

Consistent with this agreement, future test bed agreements will focus on adoption of U.S. technologies in order to advance U.S. industry and stimulate the nation's economy.

Tags: Energy, Operations, Facilities

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