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Heat pump projects receive DOE funding

USA: Industrial heat pump developments are included amongst 40 projects to receive US Department of Energy (DOE) grants.

The grants totalling $135m are aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the industrial sector and move the US towards a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. 

The heat pump projects are being lead by the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Purdue University, Thar Energy, Texas A&M University and the University of Maryland.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has received $5m towards developing and testing an ultra-high temperature cascade industrial heat pump, with AI-enabled integration and process control, low-GWP refrigerants and waste heat recovery. Trane Technologies, Emerson Climate and refrigerant producer Chemours are amongst the partners involved on this project.

Purdue University received nearly $3m for CoolScrew, a higher-temperature industrial heat pump with internally cooled screw compressors that leverages 3D printing and considers design factors such as thermal energy storage for optimised integration of industrial processes. The project partners include ORNL, NIST, Trane Technologies, Shrieve Chemical Company and Chemours

Texas A&M University’s Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) grant of $3m will fund its research into a high-performance heat pump system that integrates an energy efficient desiccant wheel with low-cost sensors and predictive controls to improve methods for drying foods. Trane Technologies is one of the project partners.

Another company receiving DOE funding ($2,395,996) is Pittsburgh-based Thar Energy which, along with its partners, aims to replace gas-fired industrial boilers with a supercritical CO2–based, high-temperature heat pump system. The development of critical components include a high-temperature ionic liquid piston compressor, two energy recovery devices to recover thermal and compression energy, and compact heat exchanger design for superior thermal/hydraulic performance.

The University of Maryland is involved in two grant-receiving heat pump projects. Along with its partners, ORNL and Emerson Climate, the University of Maryland has received $2,565,385 to advance the state of the art of high temperature heat pumps to enable continuous, zero-carbon heat for processes above 200ºC. This involves adopting a novel injection system with isopropanol refrigerant, coupled with a highly efficient heat exchanger system to deliver the heat.

In a second project, the university is leading the development of a multi-effect drying system that creates a closed circuit in which the same energy can be used several times to heat the air for the drying process.

Siemens Energy and its partner Dow Chemical has received nearly $3m to to advance the design of modular process heat pump systems with a two-stage hermetic solution for centrifugal compressors. The modular hermetic compressor for industrial heat pumps is said to have the potential to advance the state of the art for industrial heat pumps by preventing refrigerant leakage and offering a smaller footprint than conventional compressors. The final assembly aims to achieve a COP of 2.56 and a 20-year design life.

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