US: CO2 heat pump research on the move

By Alexandra Maratou, Mar 28, 2012, 00:00 1 minute reading

The US Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory together with General Electric is carrying out research on a high-efficiency CO2 heat pump water heater concept, which could result in a commercial product. Meanwhile, DOE recently announced the availability of funding to develop advanced heating and cooling systems such as air-source heat pumps with alternative refrigerants for cold climates.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric (GE) have made a cooperative R&D agreement and are designing a prototype residential water heater that will feature:

  • CO2 refrigerant
  • Energy factor greater than 2.0, exceeding Energy Star standards established for water heaters
  • First hour rating of more than 50 gallons (227 litres)

If the design proves to be technically and economically viable, it could eventually result in a commercial CO2 heat pump water-heating product.

New DOE funding opportunity for advanced HVAC system development

On 9 March 2012, US Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the availability of up to $5.2 million in fiscal year 2012 as part of a planned three-year initiative to develop improved building efficiency technologies.

Out of the initial $5.2 million (about €3.9 million) that the US Congress has appropriated, $1.2 million (about €0.9 million) will be for HVAC and building envelope projects. The following subtopics are included in the topic ‘Energy Saving Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems’:

  • High Performance Air Source Cold Climate Heat Pumps: Advanced cold climate air source heat pumps for commercial applications could include multi-stage units, alternative refrigerants, and other innovative approaches that maintain performance and cost competitiveness. Applications must address applicability to commercial heating and cooling applications although residential applications may also be presented concurrently.
  • Alternative Space-Heating Systems, other than conventional heating technologies using heat derived directly from the combustion of fossil fuels or electric vapor-compression heat pumps.
  • Next-Generation Heat Exchangers for Electric Vapor-Compression Heat Pumps and Air Conditioners to improve their energy efficiency

Technologies that can be applied to retrofit and replacement applications will be of particular interest.

DOE accepts applications until 17 April 2012. For more information on this funding opportunity, see DOE's Funding Opportunity Exchange website: 


By Alexandra Maratou

Mar 28, 2012, 00:00

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