Thermal systems focus on how heat can be used, stored, transferred and converted into energy.
These systems play a role in our everyday lives and are part of why appliances like hot water heaters, air conditioners, and refrigerators work. Larger systems like rocket engines and power plants also employ thermal systems to convert heat into useful energy.
From cookstoves in India to SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, understanding thermal systems is critical to our modern world. At the Colorado State University Energy Institute, our experts at our Interdisciplinary Thermal Science Lab are working to improve upon the efficiency of thermal systems by capturing and excess waste heat and converting it into cooling.
The Energy Institute is making advances in the thermal systems field. Our experts are using a first-of-its-kind turbo-compression cooling system to take unharnessed waste heat, given off in many day-to-day industrial processes, and turning it into cold water that can be used in down-the-line industrial processes. This system represents a major advance in the field because it is able to take waste heat in the lower temperature range (194 degrees Fahrenheit – 302 degrees Fahrenheit) and recover it – something that traditionally researchers have struggled to do. Learn more about this project backed by a $1.8 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy.