Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory expands research capabilities with Carrier Global Corporation collaboration

Author: Jessica Sieff

From left to right: Joshua Cameron, director of the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory, Chris Kmetz, senior vice president, engineering, for Carrier and Bob Bernhard, University of Notre Dame vice president for research cut the ribbon on the Willis Carrier Centrifugal Compressor Technology Laboratory at the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Lab in South Bend. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

On Friday (Feb. 25), University leaders and researchers at the University of Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory (NDTL), alongside representatives from Carrier Global Corporation, celebrated the completion of the Willis Carrier Centrifugal Compressor Technology Laboratory with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Carrier test cell. The event marks the start of a three-year collaboration with the company, which is the leading global provider of healthy, safe, sustainable and intelligent building and cold chain solutions.

The collaboration provides research and development support for Carrier by the NDTL and an opportunity for students to gain hands-on experience with Carrier’s HVAC compressor development.

A Carrier Center of Excellence was also established at Notre Dame as part of the collaboration. The relationship will expand NDTL’s research capabilities in testing and workforce development around technologies in aero-propulsion, energy systems, structural mechanics and thermodynamics.

“The establishment of the Willis Carrier Centrifugal Compressor Technology Laboratory at our Ignition Park facility is an important milestone in the growth of NDTL,” said Joshua D. Cameron, director of NDTL and concurrent research assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering. “In partnership with Carrier, we are expanding beyond the aerospace industry into a critical new area. We are excited for the opportunity to collaborate in research and testing of advanced technologies that will improve the efficiency of HVAC systems while continuing to create jobs in the local community.” 

Carrier’s investment provides the 2,200-ton calorimeter for research and development of compressors for energy-efficient industrial HVAC chiller systems. The project supports Carrier’s 2030 Environmental, Social and Governance goals to reduce its customers’ carbon footprint by more than one gigaton. Technology developed at the lab will advance energy efficiency, helping to lower greenhouse gases from electricity consumption, and will test new lower global warming potential refrigerants.

“The Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory gives the University truly unique capabilities as an industry research partner,” said Chris Kmetz, senior vice president of engineering at Carrier. “The new Willis Carrier Centrifugal Compressor Technology Laboratory will maximize these capabilities and serve to advance our HVAC chiller capabilities as we implement more energy-efficient and sustainable solutions. Carrier is excited to welcome Notre Dame as a research Center of Excellence, and we look forward to leveraging this partnership to continue to develop industry-leading and differentiated products for years to come.”

Through the Carrier Center of Excellence, students will have the opportunity to work with NDTL researchers and identify key scientific issues to support Carrier in advancing product designs, as well as participate in a joint internship and mentoring program. The partnership provides students with hands-on experience with Carrier’s largest centrifugal compressors and provides the company with access to the next generation of engineering talent.

“On behalf of the University of Notre Dame, we are pleased to welcome Carrier to the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Laboratory,” said Robert J. Bernhard, vice president for research and professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering. “Their recently established Center of Excellence not only brings new test capabilities to our Ignition Park facility, but also allows our faculty and student researchers to participate in the future of centrifugal compressor development. This is an exceptional opportunity for all involved, and we are thankful to our partners and friends at Carrier for joining our programs here in South Bend.”