CoilPod LLC, a Yorktown Heights, New York (U.S.)-based startup company focused on condenser-coil cleaning and fouling mitigation for plug-in commercial cooling equipment, has been selected as a promising new technology innovator by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) IMPEL+ program.
IMPEL+ is a technology-to-market acceleration program begun in 2019 and focused on building technologies; it is funded by the DOE’s Building Technologies Office and implemented by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The program is designed to help “early-stage innovators translate the premise and promise of their work into the language of business, boosting their chances of bringing their building technologies to market,” says the IMPEL+ website.
To that end, CoilPod was chosen as one of IMPEL+’s “decarbonization cohort members” for 2022; a list of those companies can be found here.
CoilPod’s flagship commercial offering is its eponymous COILPOD dust hood, in effect a dust containment bag that facilitates “no-mess” compressed-air condenser-coil cleaning for commercial refrigeration condensing units, such as those using propane (R290) or isobutane (R600a).
The patented COILPOD dust hood – about 25in (64cm) wide, 13in (33cm) deep and 20in (51cm) high — fits snugly over the typical condenser coil in a plug-in merchandiser. The transparent bag has two ports, one to let in compressed air that blows dust and debris off a clogged coil, and a second to vacuum it out (both functions provided by a standard wet/dry vacuum). The bag entraps the flying particulates – unlike current methods that are liable to leave a mess in the store, noted Richard Fennelly, Chief Operating Officer for CoilPod.
The CoilPod dust hood was installed by a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen restaurant in the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, Georgia (U.S.) International Airport, to periodically clean condenser coils in refrigerators and freezers, which were converted to R290 units in 2019.
CoilPod has also tested a simplified design for a second-generation dust hood called the COILPOD Mini.
Pre-cleaner under development
In addition, CoilPod is developing a patented air pre-cleaner and coil-fouling detection technologies for cooling equipment, including refrigeration and air conditioning, “to solve the endemic issue of condenser coil fouling that occurs after the equipment has been deployed for operation into the built environment,” said Fennelly. This concept places air-precleaner functionality on the cover leading to the condenser coil enclosure “to retard the coil fouling problem in the first place,” he said. Fennelly is seeking refrigeration and AC manufacturing partners to develop and commercialize the system.
The pre-cleaner device would help address another issue that Fennelly has found to be widespread in the retail sector: overlooking condenser coils until they cause a problem. “They’re ignored by almost everybody,” he said.
This indifference to coil cleaning persists even though, according to Fennelly, regularly cleaning condenser coils can reduce average energy consumption by about 20%. “Having clean coils in such equipment also insure better operation, thereby reducing unneeded service calls, protection of the inventory that is being cooled or frozen, and extension of the effective lifespan of the refrigeration or air conditioning apparatus,” he said.
A 2018 study by the Clean Cooling Collaborative (formerly K-CEP) estimated that better optimization, monitoring, and maintenance of cooling equipment on a global basis has the potential to save 30Gt of CO2 emissions by 2050.
In his development of coil-cleaning products, Fennelly has become a global advocate of maintenance for all cooling equipment. “We are trying to create a more friendly ‘climate’ for adoption of coil cleaning as a practice throughput the cooling sector,” he said.
“We are trying to create a more friendly ‘climate’ for adoption of coil cleaning as a practice throughput the cooling sector.”Richard Fennelly, CoilPod
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