SEMCO LLC is celebrating the 30-year anniversary of its True 3-angstrom (3Å) Total Energy (TE) Wheel used in commercial, institutional, and industrial facility HVAC systems.

True 3Å Wheel was introduced and patented in 1987. According to the company, its combination of a proprietary 3A molecular sieve desiccant coating on a durable fluted aluminum wheel revolutionized sensible and latent heat transfer in the HVAC industry. Previously, the industry was dominated by energy wheels constructed of asbestos paper, metal mesh, or aluminum employing non-selective desiccants, such as aluminum oxide or silica gel.

Since inception, officials said the True 3Å Wheel has saved SEMCO customers an estimated 565 trillion Btus and reduced carbon emissions by more than 32-million tons, which is 13 times the amount of emission savings provided annually by all of the electric cars sold in the U.S. to date.

Another example, John Hopkins University School of Medicine has installed dozens of True 3Å Wheels in its Baltimore laboratory facilities over the past 20 years, which have provided for more than $100 million in total energy and infrastructure savings; enough to have paid for 1.3 research buildings, based upon analyses completed by the owner’s consultant. Furthermore, the reduction in chiller size and operating hours due to the True 3Å Wheel have saved an estimated 256 million gallons of water at the central cooling towers.

"Few inventions remain the top product in their field for 30 years, but the True 3Å Wheel continues to be the best choice for high sensible and latent performance, while also providing uncompromised outdoor air for effective dilution ventilation and avoiding unhealthy carry-over of airborne contaminants,” said John C. Fischer, SEMCO’s director of technology and the patented True 3Å Wheel’s inventor. “Avoiding this contaminant transfer is important for all building types, not just critical applications, such as research laboratories and pharmaceutical facilities.”