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REMAINING CHALLENGES: PUBLIC-INTEREST R&D AND MARKET ASSESSMENT

Although the Berkeley Hood is well on its way to commercialization, numerous hurdles remain to be overcome before facility owners or designers can easily integrate this technology into their projects and before manufacturers will invest in bringing the technology to market. This section summarizes a number of public-interest activities required to bridge the gap between the present status of the Berkeley Hood and its ultimate success in the marketplace. Ongoing activity is funded in the near term by several sources (e.g. DOE, CEC, PG&E, and SDSU/SDG&E), much of which is specifically targeted for field tests and demonstrations. Most of the technology development and some of the market development involves multi-year activities that are only partially funded at present.

TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

Safety testing and monitoring techniques. The project is currently developing an monitoring techniques, and is also participating with various professional committees to improve prevailing testing standards. Subsequent work needed includes development of less costly test methods, more systematically defining the safe operational envelope for the Berkeley Hood, development of feedback-control systems that work in conjunction with real-time monitoring. In addition to standard tests, it is important to gain a better understanding of real-world conditions that are not evaluated by standard tests, such as the movement of people near the hood entry.

Creation of next-generation prototypes. Current demonstration projects and other contacts with private industry are providing valuable input into the evolution of the Berkeley Hood design. Wider hood openings are more typical in practice than the four-foot format of the first-generation Berkeley Hood, and will likely present new challenges not addressed in the current hood. One area remaining to be resolved are supply-air geometries to ensure that interior surfaces are "swept" and improved interior designs (baffles, foils, plenums, fan systems) to better improve fume removal. Also important is the integration of sensor-based controls to optimize energy performance and ensure safety. The significant potential for "air-divider" retrofits to existing, standard hoods should also be evaluated. Preliminary design work focusing on hood lighting has been very successful; the results should be tested in a real-world prototype mockup with user evaluation.

Initial progress with CFD modeling suggests that this is a powerful tool with considerable untapped potential. One need is to expand from two-dimensional to three-dimensional (3-D) models of air flow from the lab space into, and through, the hood. 3-D models enable our research to take into account influences of a person working in front of the Berkeley hood. These influences include impacts of an operator's height, position, and relative size on airflow turbulence. With a 3-D CFD model, the hood's safety performance at various breathing-zone heights could be evaluated. 3-D CFD models could be used to further optimize an array of hood features ranging from geometry to air distribution approaches.

Define operational envelope and failure modes. Much is yet to be understood about failure modes. Valuable work would include identifying points of tracer gas concentration, understanding the implication of general laboratory exhaust in failures and possible control/response modes, and designing to preclude the potential adverse dynamics created by multiple Berkeley Hoods simultaneously operating in the same room. The interactions of standard hoods and Berkeley Hoods located in the same laboratory space should also be evaluated.

Beyond the hood itself, work is needed on the interactions with the general laboratory and HVAC system. Better understanding is needed of the effects of pressurization fluctuations and other phenomena associated with supply air diffusers, doorways, general exhaust systems, doorways, etc. The failure of the pre-existing UCSF hood (due to open windows and missing ceiling tiles) highlights the relevance of this issue.

MARKET TRANSFORMATION

Impact analysis and business case. Although a very significant energy savings potential appears to exist, our initial energy impact analysis is highly generalized and hinges on a number of key assumptions. Improved data are needed on the overall population of hoods, current sales rates, geographical distribution, and baseline energy use of standard hoods across a range of climatic settings. The current analysis has not delved into space-heating savings, which would be significant in some regions.

Improved energy analysis, coupled with cost-benefit information, should be assembled into a coherent business case. Also required is a more rigorous assembly of test data, with special emphasis on energy and safety performance comparisons with standard hoods. This should incorporate laboratory test data as well as field tests and user feedback in working laboratories. New market segments (e.g. wet benches) should also be identified.

Identifying and overcoming institutional barriers. Continued involvement in professional societies is necessary to overcome significant barriers to commercialization posed by testing standards that discriminate against the Berkeley Hood.

Field Tests, outreach, and industry partnerships. Field tests achieve multiple goals ranging from identifying opportunities for technical improvements to the proof-of-concept necessary to reduce the perceived risks for private firms seeking to ultimately commercialize the Berkeley Hood. Outreach activities should include continued maintenance and development of the Berkeley Hood website, presentations, and publications in professional and popular literature. Current activities with industrial partners include working with the industry leaders to fabricate of a wider (6-foot) prototype and development improved monitoring and control systems. Licensing the existing technology to industrial partners is clearly a key need.

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06 November, 2006