DOE and Its Partners Encourage Innovators to Join the JUMP Initiative


The Department of Energy (DOE) declared that the JUMP initiative is looking for tinkerers, engineers, and innovators to join the initiative to help make the most creative ideas for building efficiency a reality. In order to solve some of the most interesting and technical challenges in the buildings energy-efficiency industry, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and its industry partners namely General Electric (GE), AO Smith, and United Technologies Research Center (UTRC) plan to join forces and start the winning ideas together.
For those who will win the contest, they may get any of the following prizes, or qualify for:

* Cash prizes of $3,000 to $5,000 provided by industry partners
* Linkage to the Department of Energy’s Small business Voucher pilot plus, if approved, in-kind technical support of up to $300,000
* In-kind technical support to cover prototype development, third-party evaluation, testing, and more worth $10,000 to $15,000
* A chance to discuss future collaboration with ORNL and/or its industry partners

Based on the criteria released by the DOE and ORNL on their websites, below are the three campaigns that are presently accepting submissions:

1. Thermal Energy Storage Using Phase Change Materials (PCM) in Gas or Electric Water Heaters (WH), co-sponsored by A.O. Smith – The challenge of this campaign is to use Phase Change Materials or PCM to get an equivalent first hour rating (FHR) of a >55 gallon WH in the footprint of a smaller-sized WH without increasing water storage temperature resulting in a 15 to 30 percent increase in FHR. There are some restrictions for this challenge namely:
* Must stay within the existing dimensional footprint of 50-gallon units in diameter and height.
* Must not increase the storage temperature
* Must not negatively impact the service life of the water heater.
* Must not negatively impact the EF as defined in 10 CFR Part 430, Subpart B, Appendix E.
* Must not negatively impact the safety aspects of the water heater.
* Must increase the manufacturing cost by no more than $150 at high volume.

2. Low-Cost BTU Sensor for Use in Building HVAC Control Systems, co-sponsored by United Technologies Research Center or UTRC– For this campaign, the challenge is to develop a British Thermal Unit (BTU) sensor that has an accuracy of less than 10 percent full-scale and costs less than 20 percent of the installed cost of conventional BTU measurements. According to the ORNL website, the sensor could be an advanced algorithm or an actual physical device using other available system data to precisely gauge a measured value.

3. Low-Temperature Intrinsically Safe Defrost System, co-sponsored by General Electric or GE – The campaign’s challenge is to develop a low-cost system to remove ice from the evaporator while conforming to UL 250 Flammable Refrigerants Addendum. Particularly, the defrost system
* Must not require substantial physical changes to the existing evaporator or evaporator compartment.
* Must meet standard 20-year life requirements
* Must be spark resistant and surface temperatures should not exceed 680°F.
* Should be able to raise an unfrosted evaporator from -10°F to 40°F in 15 minutes or less.
* Must be able to raise an unfrosted evaporator from -10°F to 40°F in 15 minutes or less.

All ideas or entries for the above campaigns should be submitted on or before December 15, 2015 and will be judged by a panel of technical experts.