UTRC Call for Innovation



Thermal energy load measurements (i.e., BTU meters) can enable advanced building energy control and diagnostics solutions that have been shown to save 5% to 15% of building HVAC energy. Typical BTU meters consist of a flow meter and temperature sensors at the input and output of a load. Flow meters are the main material cost of BTU meters. These meters, although frequently deployed in industrial process applications, are relatively expensive for use in commercial buildings. Hardware, installation, and commissioning costs often exceed $10,000 per device.

The Challenge

The challenge is to develop a new BTU sensor that when compared to traditional BTU meters has an error of less than 10% full scale and an installed cost of less than 20%. The sensor could be an actual physical device or an advanced algorithm using other available system data to accurately approximate a measured value.

The Award

A cash award of $5,000 will be sponsored by UTRC for the top selected technology submission. The idea submitter will also be invited to discuss future collaboration with UTRC and ORNL technical experts. Depending on the needs identified:

  • ORNL may provide in-kind technical support of $10,000 - $20,000 to enable ORNL staff to providing prototype development, testing, 3rd party validation, or other defined needs.
  • Participation in the DOE Small Business Voucher (SBV) pilot will also be discussed; ORNL may provide in-kind technical support of up to $300K through the SBV program, if SBV approved.

Idea Submission Deadline

Idea Submission Period Ends: Friday, April 8, 2016 at 11:59 PM EST

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UTRC Call for Innovation

Non-Invasive Thermal Flow/BTU Metering Using Heat Flux Sensors

All full description with images can be viewed at the following link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzZwgYQ7kJnbQ3pYT0ZtLV9BaUU/view?usp=sharing Non-Invasive Flow Velocity Measurements and BTU Metering Using Heat Flux Sensors Heat flux sensors are passive devices that can be placed on a surface such as insulated ductwork or pipes and are able to directly measure the amount of thermal energy entering/leaving that surface. ...more »


3 votes

UTRC Call for Innovation

Tri-Mode BTU Meter - Controller and IoT

CREATE A LOW-COST BTU SENSOR FOR USE IN BUILDING HVAC CONTROL SYSTEMS (Science Crowdsourcing Community, UTRC Campaign) Solution: Develop a Tri-Mode BTU meter-controller which can measure multiple zones and communicate with the Internet of things (IoT). The meter can be commissioned to operate in any of three ways for flow measurements: standard flowmeter transducer, learn flow signature and remove flow meter or in full ...more »


2 votes

UTRC Call for Innovation

Pump Flow Measurement for BTU Meter Applications

Accurate measurement of energy utilization in hydronic systems has typically required the use of expensive flow measuring devices. As well as the high expense of the accurate flow measuring devices, these devices can be difficult to install on existing and new systems where ten to twenty pipe diameters of straight piping is typically required to get an accurate reading. An alternative to installing a flow measurement ...more »


1 vote

UTRC Call for Innovation

Exquisit Heat indoor reset

By measuring satisfaction of demand over time, by means of thermostat or temperature sensor in the desired environment, and analyze the satisfaction rate over time, the supply of BTU's from the source can be controlled in terms of media temperature or supply activation time. This in effect determines the exact btu requirement from the source. The need for specific btu measurement becomes moot, if the environment is satisfied ...more »


0 votes