Thin-Film Heat Exchanger


As a result of improved construction techniques and materials, residential and commercial buildings are becoming increasingly sealed from the outdoor environment. Because of inadequate ventilation in such buildings, the indoor air can contain a variety of substances that pose a health risk to its occupants. Consequently, there is a trend toward increasing the use of ventilation systems in order to improve indoor air quality. Increased ventilation, however, can significantly increase the heating and cooling loads on a building's heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system, thus driving up energy usage and cost.


To reduce the load of a building's HVAC system, conventional ventilation systems can use compact heat exchangers to temper incoming outdoor air with exhaust air. However the current design of such heat exchangers tends to be too expensive for most building applications.


The low-cost heat exchanger designed at UO is “cheap and big instead of small and expensive”. It's made of a lightweight plastic membrane and designed to be installed in the crawl spaces and attics of buildings, where it uses the outgoing stale air to heat or cool incoming ventilation air. The product, which the inventor believes has the potential to operate at 80 percent efficiency, is awaiting a business partner to take it to commercialization.

U.S. Patent No. 7,624,788

Go to the Office of Technology Transfer

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Christine Gramer
Senior Technology Development Associate
University of Oregon
G.Z. (Charlie) Brown
Sustainability & Cleantech