High-Temperature Heat Pumps

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research


What it is

High-temperature heat pumps are advanced heat pumps capable of generating heat at temperatures exceeding 80°C (176°F). This makes them suitable for a wide range of industrial applications, including drying, evaporation, distillation, and other processes that require high-temperature heat. By utilizing renewable energy sources or waste heat, high-temperature heat pumps offer a sustainable and efficient alternative to fossil fuel-based heating systems in industrial settings.

Impact on climate action

High-Temperature Heat Pumps under the Heat Pumps theme revolutionize climate action by efficiently capturing and utilizing heat from various sources, including industrial processes and waste heat. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels and enhancing energy efficiency, these innovations mitigate carbon emissions and advance the transition to sustainable heating solutions.

Underlying
Technology

  • Vapor-Compression Cycle: The system utilizes a refrigerant that circulates through a closed loop, absorbing heat from a low-temperature source and releasing it at a higher temperature.
  • Compressor: The compressor plays a crucial role in raising the temperature of the refrigerant to the desired level. High-temperature heat pumps often employ two-stage or multi-stage compressors to achieve the necessary pressure ratios for high-temperature operation.
  • Heat Exchangers: Specialized heat exchangers are designed to handle the higher temperatures and pressures involved in the process.
  • Working Fluids: High-temperature heat pumps require refrigerants with suitable thermodynamic properties for high-temperature operation. These may include synthetic refrigerants with low global warming potential (GWP) or natural refrigerants like ammonia or CO2.

TRL : 6-7

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Advanced Compressor Technologies: Innovations in compressor technology, such as two-stage and multi-stage compressors, as well as the use of variable-speed drives, are improving the efficiency and performance of high-temperature heat pumps.
  • High-Temperature Refrigerants: Research is ongoing to develop new refrigerants with suitable thermodynamic properties for high-temperature operation while minimizing environmental impact.
  • Improved Heat Exchanger Designs: Advanced heat exchanger designs, such as microchannel heat exchangers and printed circuit heat exchangers (PCHEs), are enhancing heat transfer efficiency and reducing the size and weight of high-temperature heat pumps.
  • Integration with Renewable Energy Sources: High-temperature heat pumps can be integrated with renewable energy sources, such as solar thermal or geothermal energy, to provide a fully sustainable heating solution.
  • Waste Heat Recovery: High-temperature heat pumps can be used to recover waste heat from industrial processes and upgrade it to a higher temperature, making it suitable for use in other processes and reducing overall energy consumption.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Advanced Compressor Technologies
  • High-Temperature Refrigerants
  • Improved Heat Exchanger Designs
  • Integration with Renewable Energy
  • Waste Heat Recovery
  • Industrial Applications in Food Processing
  • Industrial Applications in Chemical Manufacturing
  • Industrial Applications in Paper Production
  • Energy Consumption Reduction Strategies
  • Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction
  • Process Efficiency Improvement

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. FuturaHeat:
    • Technology Enhancement: FuturaHeat specializes in high-temperature heat pump systems designed to efficiently capture and utilize heat from various sources, including industrial processes, waste heat, and renewable energy sources such as solar thermal. Their heat pumps are engineered to operate at elevated temperatures, making them suitable for applications requiring high-grade heat for industrial and commercial heating purposes.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: FuturaHeat stands out for its focus on high-temperature heat pump technology and its innovative approach to heat recovery and utilization. Their systems offer an energy-efficient alternative to traditional heating methods, enabling customers to reduce energy costs, lower carbon emissions, and enhance sustainability in heating applications.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: FuturaHeat serves industrial facilities, commercial buildings, and district heating networks seeking efficient and sustainable heating solutions. Their high-temperature heat pumps are deployed in manufacturing plants, food processing facilities, residential complexes, and municipal heating systems, providing reliable and environmentally friendly heat generation.
  2. Heaten AS:
    • Technology Enhancement: Heaten AS specializes in the development and manufacturing of high-temperature heat pump systems optimized for industrial and commercial heating applications. Their heat pumps utilize advanced refrigeration cycles and heat exchange technologies to extract heat from low-grade sources and elevate it to higher temperatures suitable for industrial processes, space heating, and hot water production.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Heaten AS stands out for its expertise in customizing high-temperature heat pump solutions to meet the specific requirements of industrial clients. Their systems are designed for durability, reliability, and performance, offering a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to conventional heating technologies in various industrial sectors.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Heaten AS serves industries such as manufacturing, food and beverage, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, where high-temperature heat is essential for production processes. Their heat pump solutions are deployed in factories, warehouses, processing plants, and commercial buildings seeking to optimize energy use, reduce operating costs, and minimize environmental impact.
  3. Ecoforest:
    • Technology Enhancement: Ecoforest specializes in high-temperature heat pump systems integrated with renewable energy sources such as biomass, geothermal, and solar thermal. Their heat pumps utilize advanced compression and heat exchange technology to deliver high-grade heat for space heating, domestic hot water, and industrial processes. Ecoforest’s solutions are designed for energy efficiency, reliability, and environmental sustainability.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Ecoforest stands out for its focus on renewable energy-driven high-temperature heat pump solutions and its commitment to innovation in sustainable heating technologies. Their systems are designed to enable customers to transition to clean and renewable energy sources while reducing dependency on fossil fuels and minimizing carbon emissions.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Ecoforest serves residential, commercial, and industrial customers seeking sustainable and cost-effective heating solutions. Their high-temperature heat pump systems are deployed in residential buildings, hotels, hospitals, schools, and industrial facilities, providing reliable and efficient heating with minimal environmental impact.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Technical University of Denmark (DTU):
    • Research Focus: DTU is a leading institution in research on High-Temperature Heat Pumps, focusing on developing advanced heat pump technologies capable of efficiently delivering high-temperature heat for industrial processes, district heating, and other high-temperature applications.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the design, optimization, and testing of novel heat pump cycles, working fluids, and components tailored for high-temperature operation. They also investigate system integration, heat exchanger design, and thermodynamic modeling to improve energy efficiency, reliability, and cost-effectiveness.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in industrial sectors such as food processing, chemical manufacturing, and waste heat recovery. By enabling the use of renewable energy sources and waste heat for high-temperature processes, DTU’s research contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing energy efficiency, and promoting sustainable industrial development.
  2. Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU):
    • Research Focus: NTNU conducts innovative research on High-Temperature Heat Pumps, leveraging its expertise in thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and energy systems engineering to develop high-performance heat pump solutions tailored for demanding applications.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses experimental investigations, numerical simulations, and techno-economic analyses of high-temperature heat pump systems operating under varying conditions and load profiles. They also explore hybrid heat pump configurations, advanced controls, and system optimization strategies to enhance performance and flexibility.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in industrial processes, district heating networks, and thermal energy storage. By providing reliable and efficient high-temperature heat pump solutions, NTNU’s research supports the transition to low-carbon heating technologies, reduces fossil fuel dependence, and improves energy security.
  3. Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL):
    • Research Focus: ORNL is engaged in cutting-edge research on High-Temperature Heat Pumps, leveraging its expertise in materials science, advanced manufacturing, and energy systems to develop next-generation heat pump technologies for high-temperature applications.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves the development of advanced heat pump components, such as compressors, heat exchangers, and refrigerants, capable of operating at elevated temperatures and pressures. They also explore novel heat pump architectures, system integration approaches, and advanced controls to optimize performance and reliability.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in industrial processes, waste heat recovery, and combined heat and power systems. By advancing high-temperature heat pump technology, ORNL’s research contributes to improving energy efficiency, reducing environmental impact, and enhancing the competitiveness of domestic industries.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

High-temperature heat pumps are being increasingly adopted in various industrial sectors, including food processing, chemical manufacturing, and paper production. Their adoption is driven by the need to reduce energy consumption, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and improve process efficiency.