Title:
AIR-TREATMENT APPARATUS FOR USE WITH BUILDING
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An air-treatment apparatus is for use with a building having a building air-duct circuit. The air-treatment apparatus includes an air-handler assembly configured to urge the flow of heat along the building air-duct circuit of the building. A vapour-expansion cycle assembly is configured to receive heat from the air-handler assembly. The vapour-expansion cycle assembly is also configured to circulate a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving the heat from the air-handler assembly. This is done in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate, and the refrigerant that circulates is used to generate alternating-current electricity.



Inventors:
Lai, Patrick (Markham, CA)
Chatzigrigoriou, Michael (Toronto, CA)
Application Number:
14/820694
Publication Date:
02/09/2017
Filing Date:
08/07/2015
Assignee:
Lai Patrick
Chatzigrigoriou Michael
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24D5/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20100237157Ground heating flooring with internal heating conduction structureSeptember, 2010Guo
20120234932VEHICULAR HEATING SYSTEMSeptember, 2012Okamoto et al.
20090057434FLUID HEATERMarch, 2009Mustafaev
20150211752RADIANT HEAT REFLECTOR AND HEAT CONVERTERJuly, 2015Catteau et al.
20120031986SECONDARY HEATING SYSTEM CONTROLLERFebruary, 2012Stewart
20080011867Storage type water heating method and storage type water heaterJanuary, 2008Hayakawa
20130334329Method for Heating an Interior of a Motor VehicleDecember, 2013Lederbogen et al.
20090188266HEATING, VENTILATING, AND AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM HAVING A THERMAL ENERGY EXCHANGERJuly, 2009Hung et al.
20160047558HOT WATER SUPPLY AND HEATING SYSTEMFebruary, 2016Shimada et al.
20170138612HEAT AND ENERGY RECOVERY AND REGENERATION ASSEMBLY, SYSTEM AND METHODMay, 2017Kaiser
20050145680Space heating radiatorJuly, 2005Travassaros



Other References:
Definition of "inverter", Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2018.
Definition of "inverter", Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press, 2018.
Primary Examiner:
DECKER, PHILLIP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
iGEN Technologies Inc. (Richmond Hill, Ontario, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An air-treatment apparatus for use with a building having a building air-duct circuit, and the air-treatment apparatus comprising: an air-handler assembly being configured to urge flow of heat along the building air-duct circuit of the building; and a vapour-expansion cycle assembly being configured to receive, at least in part, heat from the air-handler assembly, and also being configured to circulate, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, the heat from the air-handler assembly in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate, and the refrigerant that circulates is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity.

2. An air-treatment apparatus for use with a building having a building air-duct circuit, and the air-treatment apparatus comprising: an air-handler assembly being configured to: interface with the building air-duct circuit of the building; generate heat; and urge flow of the heat that was generated along the building air-duct circuit of the building; and a vapour-expansion cycle assembly being configured to interface with the air-handler assembly, and the vapour-expansion cycle assembly including a refrigerant flow circuit being configured to: receive, at least in part, heat from the air-handler assembly; and circulate, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, the heat from the air-handler assembly in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate along the refrigerant flow circuit, and the refrigerant that circulates along the refrigerant flow circuit is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity.

3. An air-treatment apparatus for use with a building having a building air-duct circuit, and the building being surrounded by outdoor air, and the building having a fuel being delivered thereto, and the air-treatment apparatus comprising: an air-handler assembly including: a combustion gas-flow circuit being configured to receive the outdoor air and to receive the fuel in such a way that the fuel is burned, at least in part, thereby generating, at least in part, heat; and a handler airflow circuit being configured to interface with the building air-duct circuit and also being configured to interface with the combustion gas-flow circuit in such a way that the heat, which was generated at least in part in the combustion gas-flow circuit, flows along the building air-duct circuit of the building; and a vapour-expansion cycle assembly including a refrigerant flow circuit being configured to: interface with the combustion gas-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly and the handler airflow circuit of the air-handler assembly; receive, at least in part, the heat that was generated by the combustion gas-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly and the heat that flows, at least in part, along the handler airflow circuit of the air-handler assembly; and circulate, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, the heat that was generated by the combustion gas-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly and the heat that flows, at least in part, along the handler airflow circuit of the air-handler assembly in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate along the refrigerant flow circuit, and the refrigerant that circulates along the refrigerant flow circuit is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity.

4. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 3, wherein: the air-handler assembly is configured to: be positioned within the building; be coupled to the building air-duct circuit; receive, at least in part, a flow of the outdoor air and the flow of the fuel; burn, at least in part, the fuel that was received by using the outdoor air that was received in such a way that the fuel that is burned generates, at least in part, heat; and provide, at least in part, the heat that was generated by the building air-duct circuit of the building.

5. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 3, wherein: the vapour-expansion cycle assembly is configured to: be positioned relative to the air-handler assembly in such a way that the heat is received from the air-handler assembly.

6. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 3, wherein: the vapour-expansion cycle assembly is further configured to: provide, at least in part, the heat, which was received and was not used to convert into the alternating-current electricity, to the building.

7. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 3, further comprising: a generator assembly configured to generate the alternating-current electricity; and an expander assembly configured to: be fluidly coupled to the refrigerant flow circuit in such a way that circulation of the refrigerant along the refrigerant flow circuit, in use, urges operation of the expander assembly; and be operatively connected to the generator assembly in such a way that operation of the expander assembly causes the generator assembly to generate the alternating-current electricity.

8. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 7, further comprising: an inverter assembly being configured to: receive, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity generated by the vapour-expansion cycle assembly; convert, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity that was received from the vapour-expansion cycle assembly into direct-current electricity; a battery assembly being configured to: receive, at least in part, the direct-current electricity from the inverter assembly; store, at least in part, the direct-current electricity; and provide, at least in part, the direct-current electricity to the air-handler assembly and the vapour-expansion cycle assembly in such a way that the air-handler assembly and the vapour-expansion cycle assembly are operatively powered.

9. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 8, wherein: the inverter assembly is further configured to: receive, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity from an electric utility grid for the case where the alternating-current electricity is not received by the inverter assembly from the vapour-expansion cycle assembly; and provide, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity received from the electric utility grid to the battery assembly.

10. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 8, wherein: the inverter assembly is further configured to: provide, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity that was received from the vapour-expansion cycle assembly for the case where the alternating-current electricity is required by the building.

11. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 7, further comprising: a heat-exchanger assembly being configured to: receive, at least in part, exhaust air and heat from the air-handler assembly; separate, at least in part, heat that was received from the exhaust air that was received; provide, at least in part, the heat that was removed from the exhaust air to the building; and provide, at least in part, the exhaust air that was received to the outdoor air located outside of the building.

12. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 7, further comprising: a heat-exchanger assembly; and a pre-heater assembly; wherein: the heat-exchanger assembly is configured to: receive, at least in part, exhaust air and heat from the air-handler assembly; separate, at least in part, heat that was received from the exhaust air that was received; provide, at least in part, the heat that was removed from the exhaust air to the pre-heater assembly; and provide, at least in part, the exhaust air that was received to the outdoor air located outside of the building; and the pre-heater assembly is configured to: receive, at least in part, the outdoor air; receive, at least in part, the heat that was provided by the heat-exchanger assembly; mix, at least in part, the outdoor air that was received with the heat that was received; and provide, at least in part, the outdoor air that was mixed with heat to the air-handler assembly.

13. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 3, wherein: the combustion gas-flow circuit includes: an air intake vent; a burner assembly; a primary heat exchanger; a mixing node; an exhaust fan; a motor; and an exhaust gas vent; wherein: the air intake vent is fluidly coupled to the burner assembly; the burner assembly is fluidly coupled to the primary heat exchanger; the primary heat exchanger is fluidly coupled to the mixing node; the mixing node is fluidly coupled to an evaporator assembly of the refrigerant flow circuit; the exhaust fan is fluidly coupled to the evaporator assembly of the refrigerant flow circuit; the motor is operatively connected to the exhaust fan in such a way that the motor, in use, turns the exhaust fan, and the exhaust fan, in use, urges flow of air along the combustion gas-flow circuit; and the exhaust gas vent is fluidly coupled to the exhaust fan.

14. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 3, wherein: the handler airflow circuit includes: a building air supply; a building air return; and a supply fan; wherein: the building air return is fluidly connected to the supply fan having a fan motor operatively connected to the supply fan in such a way that the fan motor, in use, urges the supply fan to move air along the handler airflow circuit; the supply fan is fluidly connected to a condenser assembly of the refrigerant flow circuit; the condenser assembly of the refrigerant flow circuit is fluidly connected to a primary heat exchanger of the combustion gas-flow circuit; and the building air supply is fluidly coupled to the primary heat exchanger of the combustion gas-flow circuit.

15. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 3, wherein: the refrigerant flow circuit includes: a condenser assembly; a pump assembly; and an evaporator assembly; wherein: the condenser assembly is fluidly connected to the pump assembly; the pump assembly has a motor operatively connected thereto in such a way that the pump assembly, in use, circulates the refrigerant along the refrigerant flow circuit; the evaporator assembly is fluidly connected to the pump assembly; the evaporator assembly is also fluidly connected to an expander assembly, and the expander assembly is operatively connected to 1 generator assembly in such a way that movement of the refrigerant along the refrigerant flow circuit (in use) urges the expander assembly to rotate, and in response to rotation of the expander assembly, the generator assembly is made to rotate and generate the alternating-current electricity; and the evaporator assembly is also fluidly connected to the expander assembly.

16. The air-treatment apparatus of claim 7, wherein: the expander assembly includes: a first expander assembly; and a second expander assembly operatively coupled to the first expander assembly; and the generator assembly includes; a first generator assembly operatively coupled to the first expander assembly; and a second generator assembly operatively coupled to the second expander assembly; and the first generator assembly and the second generator assembly are connected together in such a way that the first generator assembly and the second generator assembly operatively provide the alternating-current electricity.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

Some aspects generally relate to (and are not limited to) an air-treatment apparatus for use with a building (and method therefor).

BACKGROUND

An existing air handler (also called an air-handling unit) is a device used to regulate and circulate air as part of a heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system. The air handler may include a large metal box containing a blower, heating or cooling elements, filter racks or chambers, sound attenuators, and dampers. The air handler is configured to connect to a ductwork ventilation system (that is installed in the building). The ductwork ventilation system is configured to distribute the conditioned air (also called, treated air) through the building, and to return the treated air to the air handler. Optionally, the air handler is configured to discharge (supply) and admit (return) air directly to and from the space served without ductwork.

SUMMARY

It will be appreciated that there exists a need to mitigate (at least in part) at least one problem associated with the existing air handlers (also called the existing technology). After much study of the known systems and methods with experimentation, an understanding of the problem and its solution has been identified and is articulated as follows:

To operate the existing air handlers, electric power provided by the electric utility is connected to the existing air handlers. The problem associated with existing air handlers is that when the electric utility no longer functions to provide electric power used to operate the existing air handlers, the existing air handlers fail to function (thereby, not provide treated air, such as heated air, etc.). This situation is most inconvenient in the winter months (relatively colder times of the year) when heating is considered an essential requirement to maintain an operational building.

To mitigate, at least in part, at least one problem associated with the existing technology, there is provided (in accordance with a first major aspect) an air-treatment apparatus for use with a building having a building air-duct circuit. The air-treatment apparatus includes an air-handler assembly configured to urge the flow of heat along the building air-duct circuit of the building. A vapour-expansion cycle assembly is configured to receive heat from the air-handler assembly, and is also configured to circulate a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving the heat from the air-handler assembly. This is done in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate, and the refrigerant that circulates is used to generate alternating-current electricity.

A technical effect of the first major embodiment (there are many technical effects) is that the alternating-current electricity that is generated may be used to power (operate) the air-treatment apparatus in such a way that the air-treatment apparatus may continue to provide heat to the building (especially during the winter months for the case where the electric utility no longer provides electricity to power the air-treatment apparatus). Another technical effect for the first major embodiment is that the alternating-current electricity that is generated may be used to power (operate) various electrical systems installed in the building (either with or without using the alternating-current electricity that is generated to power the air-treatment apparatus).

To mitigate, at least in part, at least one problem associated with the existing technology, there is provided (in accordance with a first major aspect) an air-treatment apparatus for use with a building having a building air-duct circuit. The air-treatment apparatus includes an air-handler assembly configured to (A) interface with the building air-duct circuit of the building; (B) generate heat; and (C) urge the flow of the heat that was generated along the building air-duct circuit of the building. A vapour-expansion cycle assembly is configured to interface with the air-handler assembly. The vapour-expansion cycle assembly includes a refrigerant flow circuit configured to: (A) receive heat from the air-handler assembly; and (B) circulate a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving the heat from the air-handler assembly. This is done in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate along the refrigerant flow circuit. The refrigerant that circulates along the refrigerant flow circuit is used to generate alternating-current electricity.

A technical effect (there are many technical effects) for the second major embodiment is that the alternating-current electricity that is generated may be used to power (operate) the air-treatment apparatus in such a way that the air-treatment apparatus may continue to provide heat to the building (especially during the winter months for the case where the electric utility no longer provides electricity to power the air-treatment apparatus). Another technical effect for the second major embodiment is that the alternating-current electricity that is generated may be used to power (operate) various electrical systems installed in the building (either with or without using the alternating-current electricity that is generated to power the air-treatment apparatus).

To mitigate, at least in part, at least one problem associated with the existing technology, there is provided (in accordance with a first major aspect) an air-treatment apparatus for use with a building having a building air-duct circuit, and the building being surrounded by outdoor air. The building has a fuel delivered thereto. The air-treatment apparatus includes an air-handler assembly including: (A) a combustion gas-flow circuit being configured to receive the outdoor air and to receive the fuel in such a way that the fuel is burned thereby generating heat; and (B) a handler air-flow circuit being configured to interface with the building air-duct circuit and also being configured to interface with the combustion gas-flow circuit in such a way that the heat (that was generated, at least in part, in the combustion gas-flow circuit) flows at least in part along the building air-duct circuit of the building. A vapour-expansion cycle assembly includes a refrigerant flow circuit configured to: (A) interface with the combustion gas-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly and the handler air-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly; (B) receive the heat that was generated by the combustion gas-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly and from the heat that flows, at least in part, along the handler air-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly; and (C) circulate a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving the heat that was generated by the combustion gas-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly and from the heat that flows, at least in part, along the handler air-flow circuit of the air-handler assembly in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate along the refrigerant flow circuit, and the refrigerant that circulates along the refrigerant flow circuit is used to generate alternating-current electricity.

A technical effect (there are many technical effects) for the third major embodiment is that the alternating-current electricity that is generated may be used to power (operate) the air-treatment apparatus in such a way that the air-treatment apparatus may continue to provide heat to the building (especially during the winter months for the case where the electric utility no longer provides electricity to power the air-treatment apparatus). Another technical effect for the third embodiment is that the alternating-current electricity that is generated may be used to power (operate) various electrical systems installed in the building (either with or without using the alternating-current electricity that is generated to power the air-treatment apparatus).

Other aspects are identified in the claims.

Other aspects and features of the non-limiting embodiments may now become apparent to those skilled in the art upon review of the following detailed description of the non-limiting embodiments with the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The non-limiting embodiments may be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of the non-limiting embodiments when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which:

FIG. 1A, FIG. 1B, FIG. 2, FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 (SHEETS 1 to 5 of 17 SHEETS) depict side views of embodiments of an air-treatment apparatus;

FIG. 5 (SHEET 6 of 17 SHEETS) depicts a schematic view of an embodiment of a piping structure of the air-treatment apparatus of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B (SHEET 7 and 8 of 17 SHEETS) depict schematic views of embodiments of the air-treatment apparatus of FIG. 1A;

FIG. 7 (SHEET 9 of 17 SHEETS) depicts a schematic view of an embodiment of an electrical structure of the air-treatment apparatus of FIG. 1A; and

FIG. 8A, FIG. 8B, FIG. 8C, FIG. 8D, FIG. 8E, FIG. 8F, FIG. 9 and FIG. 10 (SHEETS 10 to 17 of 17 SHEETS) depict schematic views of embodiments of a control process for the air-treatment apparatus of FIG. 1A.

The drawings are not necessarily to scale and may be illustrated by phantom lines, diagrammatic representations and fragmentary views. In certain instances, details unnecessary for an understanding of the embodiments (and/or details that render other details difficult to perceive) may have been omitted.

Corresponding reference characters indicate corresponding components throughout the several figures of the drawings. Elements in the several figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not been drawn to scale. The dimensions of some of the elements in the figures may be emphasized relative to other elements for facilitating an understanding of the various disclosed embodiments. In addition, common, but well-understood, elements that are useful or necessary in commercially feasible embodiments are often not depicted to provide a less obstructed view of the embodiments of the present disclosure.

LISTING OF REFERENCE NUMERALS USED IN THE DRAWINGS

  • 100 air-treatment apparatus
  • 102 return air duct
  • 103 return airflow
  • 104 supply air duct
  • 105 supply air flow
  • 106 filter assembly
  • 108 condenser assembly
  • 110 pump assembly
  • 112 supply fan
  • 114 system controller
  • 116 first expander assembly
  • 117 second expander assembly
  • 118 evaporator assembly
  • 120 mixing duct
  • 121 exhaust gas flow
  • 122 inverter assembly
  • 124 pump controller
  • 126 exhaust fan
  • 128 first battery
  • 130 second battery
  • 132 air intake vent
  • 133 air intake flow
  • 134 exhaust duct
  • 135 gas burner assembly
  • 136 dilution gas duct
  • 137 dilution gas flow
  • 138 primary heat exchanger
  • 139 combustion gas flow
  • 142 motor
  • 144 motor
  • 146 fan motor
  • 150 first generator assembly
  • 154 second generator assembly
  • 156 primary heat exchanger
  • 157 mixing node
  • 158 burner assembly
  • 160 exhaust gas vent
  • 162 air intake vent
  • 164 building air supply
  • 166 building air return
  • 200 piping structure
  • 202 pressure sensor
  • 204 fill valve
  • 206 temperature sensor
  • 208 refrigerant state
  • 210 refrigerant state
  • 212 refrigerant state
  • 214 refrigerant state
  • 216 filter drier assembly
  • 218 refrigerant high-pressure pressure switch
  • 300 mechanical structure
  • 302 combustion gas-flow circuit
  • 304 handler airflow circuit
  • 306 refrigerant flow circuit
  • 308 expander assembly
  • 310 generator assembly
  • 400 electrical structure
  • 402 first motor controller
  • 404 second motor controller
  • 408 gas valve
  • 410 first switch
  • 412 second switch
  • 414 exhaust pressure switch
  • 416 exhaust high temperature switch
  • 418 primary heat exchanger high temperature switch
  • 420 primary heat exchanger flame sensor switch
  • 422 thermostat fan mode switch
  • 424 thermostat cooling mode switch
  • 426 heating mode switch
  • 428 first rectifier assembly
  • 430 second rectifier assembly
  • 432 electric utility grid
  • 434 battery assembly
  • 500 control process
  • 502 to 580 operation
  • 600 control process
  • 602 to 620 operation
  • 700 control process
  • 702 to 716
  • 800 air-handler assembly
  • 802 vapour-expansion cycle assembly
  • 812 heat-exchanger assembly
  • 814 pre-heater assembly
  • 900 building
  • 901 working surface
  • 902 outdoor air
  • 903 building air-duct circuit
  • 904 fuel
  • 912 building thermostat
  • 914 air conditioner

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE NON-LIMITING EMBODIMENT(S)

The following detailed description is merely exemplary and is not intended to limit the described embodiments or the application and uses of the described embodiments. As used, the word “exemplary” or “illustrative” means “serving as an example, instance, or illustration.” Any implementation described as “exemplary” or “illustrative” is not necessarily to be construed as preferred or advantageous over other implementations. All of the implementations described below are exemplary implementations provided to enable persons skilled in the art to make or use the embodiments of the disclosure and are not intended to limit the scope of the disclosure. The scope of the invention is defined by the claims. For the description, the terms “upper,” “lower,” “left,” “rear,” “right,” “front,” “vertical,” “horizontal,” and derivatives thereof shall relate to the examples as oriented in the drawings. There is no intention to be bound by any expressed or implied theory in the preceding Technical Field, Background, Summary or the following detailed description. It is also to be understood that the devices and processes illustrated in the attached drawings, and described in the following specification, are exemplary embodiments (examples), aspects and/or concepts defined in the appended claims. Hence, dimensions and other physical characteristics relating to the embodiments disclosed are not to be considered as limiting, unless the claims expressly state otherwise. It is understood that the phrase “at least one” is equivalent to “a”. The aspects (examples, alterations, modifications, options, variations, embodiments and any equivalent thereof) are described regarding the drawings. It should be understood that the invention is limited to the subject matter provided by the claims, and that the invention is not limited to the particular aspects depicted and described.

FIG. 1A, FIG. 1B, FIG. 2, FIG. 3 and FIG. 4 depict side views of embodiments of an air-treatment apparatus 100. FIG. 1A depicts a top view of an embodiment of the air-treatment apparatus 100. FIG. 1B depicts a cross-sectional frontal side view through a cross-sectional line A-A of an embodiment of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1A, in which a panel section is removed to expose the interior of the air-treatment apparatus 100. FIG. 2 depicts a cross-sectional side view through a cross-sectional line B-B of an embodiment of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1A. FIG. 3 depicts a cross-sectional side view through a cross-sectional line C-C of an embodiment of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 2. FIG. 4 depicts a cross-sectional side view through a cross-sectional line D-D of an embodiment of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 2.

Referring to the embodiment as depicted in FIG. 1A, the air-treatment apparatus 100 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of an air-handler assembly 800 and a vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The air-handler assembly 800 may be called the AH sub-system. The vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 may be called the vapour-expansion cycle sub-system.

Referring to FIG. 1B, there is depicted embodiments of a working surface 901, a return air duct 102, a return airflow 103, a supply air duct 104, a supply air flow 105, a filter assembly 106, a condenser assembly 108 (also called a condenser coil), a pump assembly 110, a supply fan 112, a system controller 114, a first expander assembly 116, a second expander assembly 117, an evaporator assembly 118 (also called an evaporator coil), a mixing duct 120, and an inverter assembly 122.

Referring to FIG. 2, there is depicted an embodiment of a return air duct 102, a return airflow 103, a supply air duct 104, a supply air flow 105, a condenser assembly 108, a pump assembly 110, supply fan 112, a system controller 114, a first expander assembly 116, an evaporator assembly 118, a mixing duct 120, an inverter assembly 122, a dilution gas duct 136, a primary heat exchanger 138.

Referring to FIG. 3, there are depicted embodiments of a supply air duct 104, a supply air flow 105, a condenser assembly 108, a pump assembly 110, a first expander assembly 116, a second expander assembly 117, an evaporator assembly 118, a mixing duct 120, an exhaust gas flow 121, an inverter assembly 122, a pump controller 124, an exhaust fan 126, a first battery 128, and a second battery 130.

Referring to FIG. 4, there is depicted embodiments of a supply air duct 104, a supply air flow 105, a supply fan 112, a mixing duct 120, air intake vent 132 (also called venting), an air intake flow 133, an exhaust duct 134, a gas burner assembly 135, a dilution gas duct 136, a dilution gas flow 137 and a primary heat exchanger 138 (also called a combustion gas duct), a combustion gas flow 139.

FIG. 5 depicts a schematic view of an embodiment of a piping structure 200 of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1A.

Referring to FIG. 5, there is depicted embodiments of a pressure sensor 202 (pressure gauge), a fill valve 204, a temperature sensor 206 (temperature gauge), a filter drier assembly 216, and a refrigerant high-pressure pressure switch 218. A refrigerant (R245fa refrigerant) is used (deployed). The refrigerant may exist in any one of a refrigerant state 208 (saturated liquid), a refrigerant state 210 (superheated vapour), a refrigerant state 212 (saturated vapour), and a refrigerant state 214 (subcooled liquid).

FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B depict schematic views of embodiments of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1A. More specifically, FIG. 6B depicts a schematic view of an embodiment of a mechanical structure 300 of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1A.

Referring to FIG. 6B, there is depicted embodiments of a motor 142, a motor 144, a fan motor 146, a first generator assembly 150, a second generator assembly 154, a primary heat exchanger 156, a burner assembly 158, an exhaust gas vent 160 (venting), an air intake vent 162 (venting), a building air supply 164 and a building air return 166.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A and FIG. 6A, the air-treatment apparatus 100 is for use with a building 900 having a building air-duct circuit 903. In accordance with a first general embodiment, the air-treatment apparatus 100 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of an air-handler assembly 800 and a vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The air-handler assembly 800 is configured to urge the flow of heat along the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900. The vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 is configured to receive, at least in part, heat from the air-handler assembly 800. The vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 is also configured to circulate, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, the heat from the air-handler assembly 800. This is done in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate. The refrigerant that circulates is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity. It will be appreciated that there are many ways and systems for implementing the generation of alternating-current electricity (examples of which are described below).

A technical effect (there are many technical effects) for the embodiments is that the alternating-current electricity that is generated may be used to power (operate) the air-treatment apparatus 100 in such a way that the air-treatment apparatus 100 may continue to provide heat to the building 900 (especially during the winter months for the case where the electric utility no longer provides electricity to power the air-treatment apparatus 100). Another technical effect for the embodiment is that the alternating-current electricity that is generated may be used to power (operate) various electrical systems installed in the building 900 (either with or without using the alternating-current electricity that is generated to power the air-treatment apparatus 100).

In view of the general embodiment, there is provided a method for air treatment for use with the building 900 having the building air-duct circuit 903. The method includes (and is not limited to): (A) urging flow of heat from an air-handler assembly 800 along the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900; and (B) circulating, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, the heat from the air-handler assembly 800 in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate, and the refrigerant that circulates is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A and FIG. 6A, and also in accordance with a second general embodiment, the air-treatment apparatus 100 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of the air-handler assembly 800 and the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The air-handler assembly 800 is configured to interface with the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900. The air-handler assembly 800 is also configured to generate heat. The air-handler assembly 800 is also configured to urge the flow of the heat that was generated along the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900. The vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 is configured to interface with the air-handler assembly 800. The vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 includes a refrigerant flow circuit 306. The refrigerant flow circuit 306 is configured to receive, at least in part, heat from the air-handler assembly 800. The refrigerant flow circuit 306 is also configured to circulate, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, the heat from the air-handler assembly 800. This is done in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate along the refrigerant flow circuit 306, and the refrigerant that circulates along the refrigerant flow circuit 306 is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity.

In view of the second general embodiment, there is provided a method for air-treatment for use with a building 900 having a building air-duct circuit 903. The method includes (A) interfacing an air-handler assembly 800 with the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900; (B) using the air-handler assembly 800 to generate heat; (C) urging flow of the heat that was generated by the air-handler assembly 800 along the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900; (D) interfacing a vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 with the air-handler assembly 800 (and the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 includes a refrigerant flow circuit 306); (E) receiving, at least in part, heat from the air-handler assembly 800; and (F) circulating, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, the heat from the air-handler assembly 800 in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate along the refrigerant flow circuit 306, and the refrigerant that circulates along the refrigerant flow circuit 306 is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A and FIG. 6A, and also in accordance with a third general embodiment, the air-treatment apparatus 100 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of the air-handler assembly 800 and the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The air-treatment apparatus 100 is for use with the building 900 having the building air-duct circuit 903. The building 900 is surrounded by outdoor air 902. The building 900 has a fuel 904 delivered thereto (to the building 900). The air-handler assembly 800 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of a combustion gas-flow circuit 302 and a handler airflow circuit 304. The combustion gas-flow circuit 302 is configured to receive the outdoor air 902. The combustion gas-flow circuit 302 is also configured to receive the fuel 904. This is done in such a way that the fuel 904 is burned, at least in part, thereby generating, at least in part, heat. The handler airflow circuit 304 is configured to interface with the building air-duct circuit 903. The handler airflow circuit 304 is also configured to interface with the combustion gas-flow circuit 302. This is done in such a way that the heat that was generated, at least in part, in the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 flows, at least in part, along the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900. The vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 includes (and is not limited to) a refrigerant flow circuit 306. The refrigerant flow circuit 306 is configured to interface with the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 of the air-handler assembly 800. The refrigerant flow circuit 306 is also configured to interface with the handler airflow circuit 304 of the air-handler assembly 800. The refrigerant flow circuit 306 is also configured to: (A) receive, at least in part, the heat that was generated by the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 of the air-handler assembly 800, and/or (B) receive, at least in part, the heat that flows, at least in part, along the handler airflow circuit 304 of the air-handler assembly 800. The refrigerant flow circuit 306 is also configured to circulate, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, (A) the heat that was generated by the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 of the air-handler assembly 800 and/or (B) the heat that flows, at least in part, along the handler airflow circuit 304 of the air-handler assembly 800. This is done in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate along the refrigerant flow circuit 306. The refrigerant that circulates along the refrigerant flow circuit 306 is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity.

In view of the third general embodiment, there is provided a method for air treatment for use with a building 900 having a building air-duct circuit 903, and the building 900 being surrounded by outdoor air 902, and the building 900 having a fuel 904 being delivered thereto, and the method including: (A) receiving the outdoor air 902 and also receiving the fuel 904 via a combustion gas-flow circuit 302 of an air-handler assembly 800 in such a way that the fuel 904 is burned, at least in part, thereby generating, at least in part, heat; (B) interfacing a handler airflow circuit 304 of the air-handler assembly 800 with (a) the building air-duct circuit 903 and (b) the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 (this is done in such a way that the heat that was generated, at least in part, in the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 flows, at least in part, along the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900); (C) interfacing a refrigerant flow circuit 306 of a vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 with the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 of the air-handler assembly 800 and the handler airflow circuit 304 of the air-handler assembly 800; (D) receiving, at least in part, (a) the heat that was generated by the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 of the air-handler assembly 800 and/or the (b) heat that flows, at least in part, along the handler airflow circuit 304 of the air-handler assembly 800; and (E) circulating, at least in part, a refrigerant in response to the refrigerant receiving, at least in part, (a) the heat that was generated by the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 of the air-handler assembly 800 and/or (b) the heat that flows (at least in part) along the handler airflow circuit 304 of the air-handler assembly 800 in such a way that the heat, in use, urges the refrigerant to circulate along the refrigerant flow circuit 306, and the refrigerant that circulates along the refrigerant flow circuit 306 is used, at least in part, to generate alternating-current electricity.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the air-handler assembly 800 is (further) configured to be positioned within the building 900. The air-handler assembly 800 is configured to be coupled to the building air-duct circuit 903. The air-handler assembly 800 is configured to receive, at least in part, the flow of the outdoor air 902 and the flow of the fuel 904. The air-handler assembly 800 is configured to burn, at least in part, the fuel 904 that was received by using the outdoor air 902 that was received in such a way that the fuel 904 that is burned generates, at least in part, heat. The air-handler assembly 800 is configured to provide, at least in part, the heat that was generated by the building air-duct circuit 903 of the building 900.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 is further configured to be positioned relative to the air-handler assembly 800. This is done in such a way that the heat is received from the air-handler assembly 800.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 is further configured to provide, at least in part, the heat, which was received and was not used (the heat was not used to urge the refrigerant) to convert into the alternating-current electricity, to the building 900.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 further includes a generator assembly 310 configured to generate the alternating-current electricity. An expander assembly 308 is configured to be fluidly coupled to the refrigerant flow circuit 306 in such a way that circulation of the refrigerant along the refrigerant flow circuit 306 (in use) urges operation of the expander assembly 308. The expander assembly 308 is also configured to be operatively connected to the generator assembly 310 in such a way that operation of the expander assembly 308 causes the generator assembly 310 to generate the alternating-current electricity.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 further includes an inverter assembly 122 configured to receive, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity generated by the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The inverter assembly 122 is further configured to convert, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity that was received from the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 into direct-current electricity. A battery assembly 434 is configured to receive, at least in part, the direct-current electricity from the inverter assembly 122. The battery assembly 434 is further configured to store, at least in part, the direct-current electricity. The battery assembly 434 is further configured to provide, at least in part, the direct-current electricity to the air-handler assembly 800 and the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. This is done in such a way that the air-handler assembly 800 and the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 are operatively powered.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A, FIG. 6B and FIG. 7, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the inverter assembly 122 is further configured to receive, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity from an electric utility grid 432 for the case where the alternating-current electricity is not received by the inverter assembly 122 from the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The inverter assembly 122 is further configured to provide, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity received from the electric utility grid 432 to the battery assembly 434.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the inverter assembly 122 is further configured to provide, at least in part, the alternating-current electricity that was received from the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 for the case where the alternating-current electricity is required by the building 900.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 further includes a heat-exchanger assembly 812. The heat-exchanger assembly 812 is configured to receive, at least in part, exhaust air and heat from the air-handler assembly 800. The heat-exchanger assembly 812 is also configured to separate, at least in part, heat that was received from the exhaust air that was received. The heat-exchanger assembly 812 is also configured to provide, at least in part, the heat that was removed from the exhaust air to the building 900. The heat-exchanger assembly 812 is also configured to provide, at least in part, the exhaust air that was received to the outdoor air 902 located outside of the building 900.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 further includes a synergistic combination of a heat-exchanger assembly 812 and a pre-heater assembly 814. The heat-exchanger assembly 812 is configured to receive, at least in part, exhaust air and heat from the air-handler assembly 800. The heat-exchanger assembly 812 is configured to separate, at least in part, heat that was received from the exhaust air that was received. The heat-exchanger assembly 812 is configured to provide, at least in part, the heat that was removed from the exhaust air to the pre-heater assembly 814. The heat-exchanger assembly 812 is configured to provide, at least in part, the exhaust air that was received to the outdoor air 902 located outside of the building 900. The pre-heater assembly 814 is configured to receive, at least in part, the outdoor air 902. The pre-heater assembly 814 is also configured to receive, at least in part, the heat that was provided by the heat-exchanger assembly 812. The pre-heater assembly 814 is also configured to mix, at least in part, the outdoor air 902 that was received with the heat that was received. The pre-heater assembly 814 is also configured to provide, at least in part, the outdoor air 902 that was mixed with heat to the air-handler assembly 800.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the combustion gas-flow circuit 302 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of an air intake vent 162, a burner assembly 158, a primary heat exchanger 156, a mixing node 157, an exhaust fan 126, a motor 142 and an exhaust gas vent 160. The air intake vent 162 is fluidly coupled to the burner assembly 158. The burner assembly 158 is configured to receive the outdoor air 902 and the fuel 904, and is also configured to burn (at least in part) the fuel 904 to generate (at least in part) heat. The burner assembly 158 is fluidly coupled to the primary heat exchanger 156. The primary heat exchanger 156 is fluidly coupled to the mixing node 157. The mixing node 157 is fluidly coupled to an evaporator assembly 118 of the refrigerant flow circuit 306. The exhaust fan 126 is fluidly coupled to the evaporator assembly 118 of the refrigerant flow circuit 306. The motor 142 is operatively connected to the exhaust fan 126 in such a way that the motor 142 (in use) turns the exhaust fan 126, and the exhaust fan 126 urges flow of air along the combustion gas-flow circuit 302. The exhaust gas vent 160 is fluidly coupled to the exhaust fan 126.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the handler airflow circuit 304 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of a building air supply 164, a building air return 166 and a supply fan 112. The building air return 166 is fluidly connected to the supply fan 112 having a fan motor 146 operatively connected to the supply fan 112 in such a way that the fan motor 146 urges the supply fan 112 to move air along the handler airflow circuit 304. The supply fan 112 is fluidly connected to the condenser assembly 108 of the refrigerant flow circuit 306. The condenser assembly 108 of the refrigerant flow circuit 306 is fluidly connected to the primary heat exchanger 156 of the combustion gas-flow circuit 302. The building air supply 164 is fluidly coupled to the primary heat exchanger 156 of the combustion gas-flow circuit 302.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the refrigerant flow circuit 306 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of a condenser assembly 108, a pump assembly 110 and an evaporator assembly 118. The condenser assembly 108 is fluidly connected to the pump assembly 110. The pump assembly 110 has a motor 144 operatively connected thereto in such a way that the pump assembly 110, in use, circulates a refrigerant along the refrigerant flow circuit 306. The evaporator assembly 118 is fluidly connected to the pump assembly 110. The evaporator assembly 118 is also fluidly connected to an expander assembly 308, and the expander assembly 308 is operatively connected to the generator assembly 310 in such a way that movement of the refrigerant along the refrigerant flow circuit 306 urges the expander assembly 308 to rotate, and in response to rotation of the expander assembly 308, the generator assembly 310 is made to rotate and generate alternating-current electricity. The evaporator assembly 118 is also fluidly connected to the expander assembly 308.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1A, FIG. 6A and FIG. 6B, and also in accordance with a specific option of the general embodiments (identified above and/or any other specific options described herein), the air-treatment apparatus 100 is adapted in such a way that the expander assembly 308 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of a first expander assembly 116 and a second expander assembly 117. The second expander assembly 117 is operatively coupled to the first expander assembly 116. The generator assembly 310 includes (and is not limited to) a synergistic combination of) a first generator assembly 150 and a second generator assembly 154. The first generator assembly 150 is operatively coupled to the first expander assembly 116. The second generator assembly 154 is operatively coupled to the second expander assembly 117. The first generator assembly 150 and the second generator assembly 154 are connected together. This is done in such a way that the first generator assembly 150 and the second generator assembly 154 operatively provide the alternating-current electricity.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, FIG. 3, FIG. 4 and FIG. 6B there is depicted the return airflow 103 (also called, the building airflow). Cool building air is returned to the air-treatment apparatus 100 through the return air duct 102. This cool building air first passes through the filter and is cleaned of any dirt or debris particles. The cool building air next passes through the condenser coil where it experiences initial heating. The building air lastly passes across the primary heat exchanger 138 where the building air experiences final heating. The warm building air is supplied to the duct distribution system (of the building 900) through the supply air duct 104. The supply fan 112 circulates the building air through the air-treatment apparatus 100 and the duct distribution system of the building 900.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, FIG. 3, FIG. 4 and FIG. 6B, there is depicted the combustion gas flow 139. Combustion air enters the air-handler assembly 800 through the air intake pipe. Gaseous fuel is brought to the air-handler assembly 800 through (via) the fuel pipe. Hot combustion gas is generated by the burner assembly 158 through combustion of the outdoor air 902 and the fuel 904. The hot combustion gas is directed through the primary heat exchanger 138 where a portion of the heat energy is transferred indirectly to the building air for final heating. The remainder of the hot combustion gas is directed to the mixing duct 120. Cooler dilution gas from the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802 is directed to the mixing duct 120 through dilution gas pipes. The hot combustion gas and cooler dilution gas combine and mix in the mixing duct 120 to produce warm combustion gas. The warm combustion gas is then directed to the transition and elbow duct fitting. The warm combustion gas then passes through the evaporator coil where a portion of the heat energy is transferred indirectly to the refrigerant. The gas leaving the evaporator coil is also known as cooler exhaust gas and is directed to the exhaust duct 134. A portion of the cooler exhaust gas is directed to the dilution gas pipes (where portion of the cooler exhaust gas is known as dilution gas). The remainder of the cooler exhaust gas exits the air-handler assembly 800 through the exhaust gas pipe. The exhaust fan 126 circulates combustion gas, dilution gas and exhaust gas through the air-treatment apparatus 100.

In accordance with the embodiments as depicted in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, FIG. 3, FIG. 4, FIG. 5 and FIG. 6B, there is depicted a schematic drawing for the refrigerant flow along the handler airflow circuit 304. Sub-cooled liquid refrigerant at high pressure enters the evaporator coil. Heat is transferred indirectly from the warm combustion gas to the evaporator coil where the refrigerant experiences an increase in enthalpy. Saturated vapour refrigerant at high pressure leaves the evaporator coil and is directed through a pipe to the first expander assembly 116. Saturated vapour refrigerant enters the first expander assembly 116 at high pressure. The high-pressure refrigerant imparts mechanical work to the first expander assembly 116 where the refrigerant experiences a decrease in enthalpy. The super-heated vapour refrigerant leaves the first expander assembly 116 at middle pressure and is directed through a pipe to the second expander assembly 117. Super-heated vapour refrigerant enters the second expander assembly 117 at middle pressure. The middle pressure refrigerant imparts mechanical work to the second expander assembly 117 where the refrigerant experiences a decrease in enthalpy. The super-heated vapour refrigerant leaves the second expander assembly 117 at low pressure and is directed through a pipe to the condenser coil. Super-heated vapour refrigerant at low pressure enters the condenser coil. Heat is transferred indirectly from the condenser coil to the cool building air where the refrigerant experiences a decrease in enthalpy. Saturated liquid refrigerant at low pressure leaves the condenser coil and is directed through a pipe to the pump. Saturated liquid refrigerant at low pressure enters the pump. The pump imparts mechanical work to the low-pressure refrigerant where the refrigerant experiences an increase in enthalpy. Sub-cooled liquid refrigerant at high pressure leaves the pump and is directed through a pipe to the evaporator coil.

FIG. 7 depicts a schematic view of an embodiment of an electrical structure 400 of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1A.

Referring to FIG. 7, there are depicted embodiments of a first motor controller 402, a second motor controller 404, a gas valve 408, a first switch 410, a second switch 412, an exhaust pressure switch 414, an exhaust high temperature switch 416, a primary heat exchanger high temperature switch 418, a primary heat exchanger flame sensor switch 420, a thermostat fan mode switch 422, a thermostat cooling mode switch 424, a heating mode switch 426, a first rectifier assembly 428, a second rectifier assembly 430, an electric utility grid 432, a battery assembly 434 and an inverter assembly 122. The first switch 410 may be called a relay or a relay contact, and is configured to open if the refrigerant high-pressure pressure switch 218 is tripped in the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The second switch 412 may be called a relay, and is configured to close when the gas valve 408 is energized, with time delay.

The battery assembly 434 is electrically connected to the inverter assembly 122 that takes (receives) direct current power and converts the direct current power that was received to alternating current power. The inverter assembly 122 is directly powered with direct current from the battery assembly 434. The system controller 114 is electrically connected to the alternating current output terminal of the inverter assembly 122. The electric utility grid 432 is electrically connected to the alternating current input terminal of the inverter assembly 122. The inverter assembly 122 contains (includes) control circuitry configured to accept input power from the electric utility grid 432. The input power may be used to charge the battery assembly 434 and/or to power the connected electrical loads directly through an automatic transfer switch (known and not depicted). The connected electrical loads receive output power from either the battery assembly 434 or the electric utility grid 432 directly through the automatic transfer switch (known and not depicted). The motor and motor controller of the supply fan 112 is electrically connected to the system controller 114. A building thermostat 912 (depicted in FIG. 1A) is electrically connected to the system controller 114 (depicted in FIG. 1B).

For the case where a call for a cooling signal or a fan-only signal is received by the building thermostat 912, the system controller 114 activates the supply fan 112 motor controller. The electrical loads take power from the inverter assembly 122 and cause the battery assembly 434 to gradually discharge. The electric utility grid 432 can be used to gradually charge the battery assembly 434 in this case. If the electric utility grid 432 becomes inoperative (such as, power blackout), the air-treatment apparatus 100 (or the system controller 114) will be rendered inoperative by the system controller 114 to avoid excessive discharge of the battery assembly 434.

The battery assembly 434 is electrically connected to the inverter assembly 122 that takes direct-current power and converts the direct-current power to alternating current power. The inverter assembly 122 is directly powered with direct current from the battery assembly 434. The system controller 114 is electrically connected to the alternating current output terminal of the inverter assembly 122. The electric utility grid 432 is electrically connected to the alternating current input terminal of the inverter assembly 122.

The inverter assembly 122 contains control circuitry to accept input power from either the generators of the expanders or the electric utility grid 432. The input power can be used to either charge the battery assembly 434 or power the connected electrical loads directly through an automatic transfer switch. The connected electrical loads receive output power from either the battery assembly 434 or the electric utility grid 432 directly through the automatic transfer switch.

The motor and the motor controller of the supply fan 112 are electrically connected to the system controller 114. The motor of the exhaust fan 126 is electrically connected to the system controller 114. The motor and motor controller of the pump are electrically connected to the system controller 114. The supply fan 112 motor controller, the exhaust fan 126 and the pump motor controller are powered with alternating current.

A building thermostat 912 is electrically connected to the system controller 114. The control valve for the gaseous fuel supply to the burner assembly 158 is electrically connected to the system controller 114. Other interlocks may include a refrigerant pressure switch, an exhaust gas pressure switch, an exhaust gas temperature switch, a primary heat exchanger temperature switch, and a burner assembly flame sensor that are electrically connected to the system controller 114. A hot surface ignitor and flame rollout switch (not shown) is electrically connected to the system controller 114.

The first generator assembly 150 of the first expander assembly 116 is electrically connected to the first rectifier and buck converter assembly. The second generator assembly 154 of the second expander assembly 117 is electrically connected to the second rectifier and buck converter assembly. The first rectifier and buck converter assembly is electrically connected to the direct current input terminal of the inverter assembly 122. The second rectifier and buck converter assembly is electrically connected to the direct current input terminal of the inverter assembly 122.

When a call for a heating signal is received by the building thermostat 912, the system controller 114 is configured to activate the exhaust fan 126 motor, the control valve, the motor controller for the supply fan 112 and the motor controller for the pump assembly 110 (in sequence). The electrical loads take power from the inverter assembly 122 and cause the battery assembly 434 to gradually discharge. When the first generator assembly 150 and the second generator assembly 154 send power back to the inverter assembly 122, the battery assembly 434 will gradually charge. The battery assembly 434 (also called a battery bank) will gradually discharge over time if there is no call for heat for an extended period of time. The electric utility grid 432 can be used to gradually charge the battery assembly 434 in this case. For the case where the electric utility grid 432 becomes inoperative (such as a power blackout), the air-treatment apparatus 100 may remain operational (because the electrical loads may be powered from the battery assembly 434).

FIG. 8A, FIG. 8B, FIG. 8C, FIG. 8D, FIG. 8E, FIG. 8F, FIG. 9 and FIG. 10 depict schematic views of embodiments of a control process 500 for the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1A.

FIGS. 8A to 8F depict schematic views of embodiments of a control process 500 of the air-handler assembly 800 of FIG. 1.

The control process 500 (FIGS. 8A to 8F), the control process 600 (FIG. 9) and the control process 700 (FIG. 10) include a collection of computer-executable instructions tangibly stored on a processor-usable memory assembly. A system controller 114 is configured to access the memory assembly, and to read the computer-executable instructions, and to execute the instructions accordingly.

Some of the operations associated with the control process 500, the control process 600 and the control process 700 are known to persons of skill in the art, and these known operations may be provided by HONEYWELL (located in the USA, telephone 1-877-841-2840 or 001-480-353-3020) or ICM CONTROLS (located in the USA, telephone 1-800-365-5525).

The known operations of the control process 500, the control process 600 and the control process 700 are used by several air handler manufacturers including YORK (located in the USA, telephone 1 (877) 874-7378) or WOLF STEEL INCORPORTATED (located in the USA, telephone 1 (859) 428-9555).

An example of the known operations associated with the control process 500, the control process 600 and the control process 700 are published by WOLF STEEL INC (publication date of Mar. 11, 2014). These known control operations are used by the 9200 SERIES SINGLE STAGE MULTI POSITION HIGH EFFICIENCY FORCED AIR GAS FURNACE manufactured by WOLF STEEL INC.

The control process 500 (also called an operation or operations) is configured to control the operation of the building thermostat 912 in heating mode.

Operation 502 includes determining whether the electric utility grid 432 is available. Operation 502 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the inverter assembly 122.

Operations 504 and 506 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by the inverter assembly 122.

Operation 508 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the building thermostat 912.

Operations 510, 512, 514, 516, 518, 520, 522, 524, 526 and 528 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by the system controller 114.

Operations 532, 534 and 536 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by the system controller 114.

Operation 538 includes (to be executed by the system controller 114) sending a signal to the second switch 412, and in response the second switch 412 closes an electrical circuit, thereby allowing AC power (120 VAC) to activate the pump controller 124 and the motor 144, which drives the pump assembly 110.

Operation 540 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the system controller 114.

Operation 542 includes allowing the first expander assembly 116 and the second expander assembly 117 to start turning on their own once sufficient temperature and pressure is generated in the refrigerant that leaves the evaporator assembly 118 (electronic control is may not be required for this operation).

Operation 544 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the inverter assembly 122.

Operation 546 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the system controller 114.

Operation 548 includes having the the refrigerant high-pressure pressure switch 218 sense (in use) the pressure from the outlet of the pump assembly 110. For the case where the pressure increases above a pre-set (predetermined) amount, the refrigerant high-pressure pressure switch 218 opens an electrical circuit interrupting a 24 VAC (volts Alternating Current) signal to the gas valve 408. In response, the gas valve 408 closes and the system controller 114 detects (in use) loss of flame (by way of the primary heat exchanger flame sensor switch 420). This action stops the combustion process and the heat transfer to the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The system controller 114 stops (in use) sending a signal to the second switch 412. The second switch 412 may then open an electrical circuit preventing application of 120 VAC power to the pump controller 124 and the motor 144, which drives the pump assembly 110. This should allow the refrigerant pressure to decrease below the pre-set amount. After a manual reset, the system may restart.

Operation 550 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the system controller 114.

Operation 552 includes having the gas valve 408 close, and the system controller 114 detects (in use) loss of flame through the primary heat exchanger flame sensor switch 420. This action stops the combustion process and the heat transfer to the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The system controller 114 stops (in use) sending a signal to the second switch 412. The second switch 412 opens an electrical circuit preventing application of 120 VAC power to the pump controller 124 and the motor 144, which drives the pump assembly 110.

Operation 554 includes having the first expander assembly 116 and the second expander assembly 117 stop turning on their own without sufficient temperature and pressure from the refrigerant. No electronic control is required.

Operation 556 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the building thermostat 912.

Operation 558 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the system controller 114.

Operation 560 includes having the the gas valve 408 close, and the system controller 114 detects (in use) loss of flame through the primary heat exchanger flame sensor switch 420. This action stops the combustion process and the heat transfer to the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The system controller 114 stops (in use) sending a signal to the second switch 412. The second switch 412 opens an electrical circuit preventing application of 120 VAC power to the pump controller 124 and the motor 144, which drives the pump assembly 110.

Operation 562 includes having the first expander assembly 116 and the second expander assembly 117 stop turning on their own without sufficient temperature and pressure from the refrigerant. No electronic control is required.

Operations 564, 566 and 568 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by the system controller 114.

Operation 570 includes having the gas valve 408 close, and system controller 114 detects (in use) loss of flame through the primary heat exchanger flame sensor switch 420. This action stops the combustion process and the heat transfer to the vapour-expansion cycle assembly 802. The system controller 114 stops (in use) sending a signal to second switch 412. The second switch 412 opens an electrical circuit preventing application of 120 VAC power to the pump controller 124 and the motor 144, which drives the pump assembly 110.

Operation 572 includes the first expander assembly 116 and the second expander assembly 117 stop turning on their own without sufficient temperature and pressure from the refrigerant. No electronic control is required.

Operations 574, 576, 578, 580, 582 and 584 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by the system controller 114.

Referring to FIG. 8A, FIG. 8B, FIG. 8C, FIG. 8D, FIG. 8E and FIG. 8F, there is depicted a schematic drawing for a control process 500 (also called the control algorithm).

For the case where the air-treatment apparatus 100 (the system controller 114) does not operate in a heating mode, the inverter assembly 122 is configured to: (A) check the voltage level of the battery assembly 434 and (B) use the electric utility grid 432 to charge the battery assembly 434 (if required). For the case where the electric utility grid 432 becomes inoperative, the battery assembly 434 is not charged. For this case, the inverter assembly 122 is powered from the battery assembly 434.

For the case where a call for a heating signal is received by the building thermostat 912, the system controller 114 is configured to check to make sure the interlocks are initially set in their normal state (exhaust gas pressure switch, exhaust gas temperature switch, primary heat exchanger temperature switch). The exhaust fan 126 is commanded to turn ON, and the system controller 114 is configured to check to make sure that the exhaust gas pressure switch has changed state.

For the case where the system controller 114 is configured to command the hot surface ignitor in the burner assembly 158 to turn ON, and the system controller 114 is configured to check to make sure the refrigerant pressure switch is initially set in a normal state. The system controller 114 is configured to command the control valve for the gaseous fuel supply in the burner assembly 158 to OPEN. The system controller 114 is configured to check to make sure the flame sensor is turned ON after combustion is achieved. The system controller 114 is configured to command the hot surface ignitor to turn OFF after the combustion is maintained.

The system controller 114 is configured to command the pump assembly 110 to turn ON. The system controller 114 commands the supply fan 112 to turn ON. Once the appropriate temperature and pressure differential is attained across the expander assembly 308, the expander assembly 308 is urged to generate power (the generated electric power is directed to the inverter assembly 122). The inverter assembly 122 is configured to: (A) check the voltage level of the battery assembly 434 and (B) use the generator assembly 310 (by way of operation of the expander assembly 308) to charge the battery assembly 434 (if required).

For the case where a call for heating signal is no longer received by the building thermostat 912, the system controller 114 is configured to command the control valve for the gaseous fuel supply in the burner assembly 158 to CLOSE. The system controller 114 is configured to command the pump assembly 110 to turn OFF. Once the temperature and pressure differential is no longer attained across the expander assembly 308, the expander assembly 308 is configured to stop generating power. The exhaust fan 126 and the supply fan 112 are commanded to turn OFF. The building thermostat 912 is configured to wait for the next call for a heating signal.

For the case where at any time during system operation where any of the interlocks are not in their normal state (the interlocks may include the exhaust gas pressure switch, the exhaust gas temperature switch, the primary heat exchanger temperature switch, the refrigerant pressure switch and the flame sensor), the system controller 114 is configured to shut down the air-treatment apparatus 100 by commanding the control valve for the gaseous fuel supply to turn OFF. The system controller 114 is also configured to command the pump assembly 110, the exhaust fan 126 and the supply fan 112 to turn OFF (where applicable). The expander assembly 308 is configured to stop generating power once the temperature and pressure differential is no longer attained across the expander assembly 308.

FIG. 9 depicts a schematic view of an embodiment of the control process 500 of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1.

Control process 600 for control of the building thermostat 912 operates in the cooling mode (of operation).

Operation 602 includes determining whether the grid power is available (this operation is executed by the inverter assembly 122).

Operation 604 includes having a voltage-sensing switch (known and not depicted) monitor the electric utility grid 432 for the presence of 120 VAC power. For the case where there is a loss of 120 VAC power (on the electric utility grid 432), the voltage-sensing switch opens (in use) the electrical circuit between the thermostat cooling mode switch 424 and the system controller 114, thereby preventing a call for cooling during a power outage.

Operations 606, 608 and 610 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by the inverter assembly 122.

Operation 612 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the building thermostat 912.

Operation 614 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the system controller 114.

Operations 616 and 618 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by an air conditioner 914 (depicted in FIG. 1A).

Operation 620 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the system controller 114.

Referring to FIG. 9, there is depicted a schematic drawing for the control process 500.

For the case where the air-treatment apparatus 100 (the system controller 114) does not operate in the cooling mode, the inverter assembly 122 is configured to (A) check the voltage level of the battery assembly 434 and (B) uses the electric utility grid 432 to charge the battery assembly 434 (if required). For the case where the electric utility grid 432 becomes inoperative, the battery assembly 434 is not charged. The inverter assembly 122 is powered from the battery assembly 434.

For the case where a call for cooling signal is received by the building thermostat 912 while the electric utility grid 432 is operative, the system controller 114 is configured to command the supply fan 112 and the independent cooling system to turn ON.

For the case where a call for cooling signal is no longer received by the building thermostat 912, the system controller 114 is configured to command the independent cooling system and the supply fan 112 to turn OFF.

For the case where a call for cooling signal is received by the building thermostat 912 while the electric utility grid 432 is inoperative, the system controller 114 is configured to prevent the supply fan 112 and independent cooling system from turning ON. This is to avoid excessive discharge of the battery assembly 434.

FIG. 10 depicts a schematic view of an embodiment of the control process 500 of the air-treatment apparatus 100 of FIG. 1.

Control process 700 for control of the building thermostat 912 operates in the fan mode of operation.

Operation 702 includes determining whether the grid power is available (this operation is performed by the inverter assembly 122.

Operation 704 includes having a voltage-sensing switch (known and not depicted) monitor (in use) the electric utility grid 432 for the presence of 120 VAC power. For the case where there is a loss of 120 VAC power (on the electric utility grid 432), the voltage-sensing switch opens the electrical circuit between the thermostat fan mode switch 422 and the system controller 114, thereby preventing a call for fan circulation during a power outage.

Operations 706, 708 and 710 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by the inverter assembly 122.

Operation 712 is a known control operation (function) that is executable by the building thermostat 912.

Operations 714 and 716 are known control operations (functions) that are executable by the system controller 114.

Referring to FIG. 10, there is depicted a schematic drawing for the control process 500.

For the case where the air-treatment apparatus 100 (the system controller 114) does not operate in the fan mode, the inverter assembly 122 is configured to (A) check the voltage level of the battery assembly 434 and (B) use the electric utility grid 432 to charge the battery assembly 434 (if required). For the case where the electric utility grid 432 becomes inoperative, the battery assembly 434 is not charged. The inverter assembly 122 is powered from the battery assembly 434.

For the case where a call for fan circulation signal is received by the building thermostat 912 while the electric utility grid 432 is operative, the system controller 114 is configured to command the supply fan 112 to turn ON.

For the case where a call for a fan circulation signal is no longer received by the building thermostat 912, the system controller 114 is configured to command the supply fan 112 to turn OFF.

For the case where a call for the fan circulation signal is received by the building thermostat 912 while the electric utility grid 432 is inoperative, the system controller 114 is configured to prevent the supply fan 112 from turning ON. This is to avoid excessive discharge of the battery assembly 434.

This written description uses examples to disclose the invention, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the invention. The patentable scope of the invention is defined by the claims, and may include other examples that occur to those skilled in the art. Such other examples are within the scope of the claims if they have structural elements that do not differ from the literal language of the claims, or if they include equivalent structural elements with insubstantial differences from the literal language of the claims.

It may be appreciated that the assemblies and modules described above may be connected with each other as required to perform desired functions and tasks within the scope of persons of skill in the art to make such combinations and permutations without having to describe each and every one in explicit terms. There is no particular assembly or component that may be superior to any of the equivalents available to the person skilled in the art. There is no particular mode of practicing the disclosed subject matter that is superior to others, so long as the functions may be performed. It is believed that all the crucial aspects of the disclosed subject matter have been provided in this document. It is understood that the scope of the present invention is limited to the scope provided by the independent claim(s), and it is also understood that the scope of the present invention is not limited to: (i) the dependent claims, (ii) the detailed description of the non-limiting embodiments, (iii) the summary, (iv) the abstract, and/or (v) the description provided outside of this document (that is, outside of the instant application as filed, as prosecuted, and/or as granted). It is understood, for this document, that the phrase “includes” is equivalent to the word “comprising.” The foregoing has outlined the non-limiting embodiments (examples). The description is made for particular non-limiting embodiments (examples). It is understood that the non-limiting embodiments are merely illustrative as examples.