Student NameNatalia Gonzalez
Faculty Mentor NameSaeed Moghaddam
CollegeCollege of Engineering
MajorMechanical Engineering
MinorSustainability and the Built Environment
Research InterestsSustainability, energy, renewable energy, environmental progress
Academic AwardsHonors College
OrganizationsSociety of Hispanic Professional Engineers
Hobbies and InterestsWake boarding, long boarding, camping, hiking, scuba diving, swimming, and traveling

Research Project

Grid-interactive HVAC with Storage for a Highly Renewable Energy Future

A key impediment to a zero emission energy future is energy storage. Because many renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar sources of energy, are intermittent in their output, proper storage is critical to increase in renewable energy use. In principle, energy can be stored in the form of electricity or heat. However, storing heat is significantly cheaper than storing electricity. But, electricity is a higher value form of energy by at least 3 times due to losses associated with conversion of heat to electricity using known thermodynamics cycles (utilized, for example, in power plants). Hence, development of new cycles that can utilize heat energy to perform desired functions highly efficiently addresses the storage issue. Such a potential exists for a great fraction of energy consumption is US. HVAC usage represent more than 30% of the total energy expenditures in the US buildings alone. Hence, the ability to use off-peak, low cost thermal storage for this need represents a major leap towards a renewable energy economy. Recent discoveries at UF now permits highly efficient heat operated HVAC systems. Under this project, a techno-economic analysis of the implementation of the new technology in US and across the globe will be analyzed.