In 2015, a team of researchers and engineers led by Prof. H. Ezzat Khalifa at Syracuse University was one of 11 teams selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (USDoE) to develop technologies that regulate the thermal environment around building occupants, rather than the entire building. The DoE has determined that doing so would save the US approximately 15% of the large amount of energy used for building HVAC. Prof. Khalifa and his team have developed an advanced micro-environmental control system, named μX, that is compact, efficient, quiet, and ergonomic. Developed as part of the DoE’s ARPA-E program, μX can enable local climate control to keep a desk occupant comfortable and facilitate expansion of thermostat setpoints, significantly reducing energy consumption for building HVAC.
This R&T Forum featured presentations on multiple aspects of this innovative micro-environmental control system, as well as a discussion of the history and opportunity offered by personal environmental control systems.
Dr. H. Ezzat Khalifa
Dr. H. Ezzat Khalifa is NYSTAR Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University, where he conducts research on distributed environmental control, and high-efficiency power and cooling systems for data centers. He is the originator and PI of the micro environmental control system (μX) concept. He has over 50 years of R&D experience in energy conversion and environmental control systems. Before joining SU, he served as the Director of the Carrier R&D Program at United Technologies Research Center, where he was responsible for planning and executing a diversified portfolio of R&D in innovative environmental control and energy conversion technologies. Prior to this, Dr. Khalifa was the Director of Engineering for the Carrier Carlyle Compressor Division, where he oversaw all aspects of the development and reliability of vapor compressors for air-conditioning and refrigeration. Dr. Khalifa holds a Ph.D. in Thermodynamics & Fluid Dynamics from Brown University. He is Fellow of ASME and ASHRAE.
Michael Wetzel, P.E., is President and CEO of Air Innovations, which designs and manufactures specialty HVAC systems for a broad range of applications, from military to wine cellars to high tech. Since joining the company as president and CEO in 1996, Wetzel has grown Air Innovations from a company focused solely on floral coolers to one that addresses wide variety of refrigeration, air conditioning and filtration needs. Prior to Air Innovations, Wetzel was based in France and worked four years for a multinational company building cleanrooms in Europe and the Middle East. Stateside before that, he was employed in the HVAC construction industry. Wetzel received a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering from Clarkson University and is the holder of seven U.S. patents. Wetzel, who speaks fluent English and French, is a licensed Professional Engineer.
James W. Bush
James W. Bush has been working in the field of electromechanical machine design and manufacturing for 40 years with a focus on compression machinery for air, natural gas, and refrigerants. He is presently the Principal of Bush Technical, LLC providing technical services in a number of fields including the development of a miniature scroll compressor used in the successful micro-environmental control system project. Mr. Bush has led or participated in the launch of 11 different products to market and recently played a lead role in the clean-paper, ground-up design, development, and production launch of a line of scroll compressors for the commercial air conditioning and heat pump industry. He is the named inventor or co-inventor on 117 U.S. patents in this field and is author or co-author of 16 technical publications. He received his Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 1982 with an emphasis on Engineering Acoustics and Machine Design. He also serves as an Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering department where he assists in teaching the MEE 471/472 Senior Design Project sequence.
Dr. H. Ezzat Khalifa, NYSTAR Distinguished Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Syracuse University College of Engineering & Computer Science
Michael Wetzel, P.E., President and CEO, Air Innovations
James W. Bush, Principal, Bush Technical, LLC