Nanotechnology: the future of heat exchangers?

The US Department of Energy has awarded contracts to improve energy efficiency. One such contract, awarded to TIAX, a technology development company, through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme, shall be used to develop a technique to improve the overall efficiency of air-cooled condensers. Nanotechnology will be used to develop heat exchangers with tiny fibers to improve the fluid/air heat exchangers in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. The ability of these "nanofibers" to increase heat transfer in an advanced enhanced-fin heat exchanger assembly will be tested. This approach to AC and refrigeration systems aims to improve efficiency, thus reducing carbon emissions and the consumption of electricity.