When Purdue University’s solar decathlon team came to Grundfos for a better pump to use in its solar-powered house, Innovation Director Greg Towsley was happy to send the team a small eco-friendly circulating pump called the ALPHA for use in the project’s biowall.
The biowall is a home air filtration system that uses plants to improve air quality and save energy. It requires very little maintenance and is designed to water itself.
The team’s faculty adviser, Bill Hutzel, was impressed by the Grundfos pump’s flexible control options and low energy use. Such a pump was especially helpful given the team’s challenge from the United States Department of Energy – to design, build and operate a solar-powered house.
Sustainability and Innovation
The solar decathlon team shares Grundfos’ concern for making buildings more energy efficient. Indeed, its research into net-zero-energy homes could reveal discoveries that may be helpful to Grundfos’ work on zero-impact buildings.
The biowall project aligns with core Grundfos commitments to sustainability and innovation. Towsley said the company might be interested in helping to commercialize the product after a successful field demonstration.
“That would be a much more radical decision for us,” Towsley said.
Grundfos is committed to further experiments in the biowall concept. If Purdue receives the grant it requested from the Department of Energy to further study and develop the biowall concept, Grundfos will provide in-kind support such as pumps, controls and engineering support. For more information about the solar decathlon team’s entry, called INhome, please visit www.purdue.edu/inhome.
In addition to the ALPHA, Grundfos has several state of the art circulator pumps such as the UPM2, the UPM GEO, the MAGNA GEO, the MAGNA SOLAR and the SOLAR PM2 that promise up to 80 percent less electrical power compared to standard constant speed pumps and up to 60 percent less electrical power compared to standard speed controlled pumps.
The solar decathlon team takes its INhome to Washington, D.C., for the national competition from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2. The team’s research into solar-powered houses comes at an opportune moment. View a map of the solar energy potential in the United States, which is the fourth largest market for solar energy behind Germany, Spain and Japan.
Demand for solar power in the U.S. has increased by 30 percent every year for the last 15 years. In 2006, solar power had central station capacity in just two states, California and Arizona. By 2010, it had expanded to 15 states. The Grundfos production facility in Fresno now uses solar energy for about 40 percent of its electricity consumption.
For more information on solar energy in the U.S., please visit www.energy.gov.