The Cooling and Heating Innovation Lab (CHIL) conducts fundamental and applied energy research. Active research areas include applications relating to energy/water nexus, buildings/HVAC, and oil processing. The research lab is directed by Dr. Derby and includes talented graduate and undergraduate researchers.

Group 2022

Energy/Water Nexus

There are inherent tradeoffs for resources in the Food, Energy, and Water Nexus. Technical innovations are required to produce food and energy with limited resources. The CHIL lab is actively researching heat and mass transfer problems related to the Food, Energy, and Water Nexus. This research combines Dr. Derby’s expertise in multi-phase heat transfer with the land grant mission of Kansas State University. Active projects include studying soil evaporation (supported by an NSF CAREER Award) and recovering water from power plant cooling towers (supported by NSF).


Completed ASHRAE RP–1630, "Update the Scientific Evidence for Specifying Lower Limit Relative Humidity Levels for Comfort, Health, and IEQ in Occupied Spaces."

CHIL temp on soil erosionConsidered effects:

  1. low humidity (40%) on health (i.e., allergies, asthma, disease transmission)
  2. comfort (i.e., thermal comfort, eye irritation, skin dryness)
  3. indoor environmental quality (i.e., indoor air quality, volatile organic compounds)

Oil Processing

Students in the CHIL lab are studying oil and water flows in an industry-funded project.