This new industrial heat pump will greatly benefit the climate.
New industrial heat pump technology can be an important contribution to cutting CO2 emissions.
Below translation is an edited version of the article by Tore Stensvold titled “Utvikler ny industriell varmepumpe – kan gi store klimagevinster” first published in Norwegian language in Teknisk Ukeblad on 30 August 2021: https://www.tu.no/artikler/utvikler-ny-industriell-varmepumpe-kan-gi-store-klimagevinster/512852
Limited edits and amendments are made by Heaten AS with the objectives to improve the translation and to focus on heat pump technologies and the key developments of high temperature heat pumps.
The copyright remains with © 1995-2021 Teknisk Ukeblad Media AS
Heaten AS has raised “out of the ashes” – or out of the bankruptcy of Viking Heat Engines AS.
Two of the technologists, Harald Nes Rislå and Geir Robstad, who possess key knowledge and experience have teamed up with wind power investor Lars Helge Helvig’s company Valinor. Supported by angel investor Kjell Lunde the engineers bought the bankruptcy estate with the patents and rights in 2020 and have attracted senior industry insiders and engineers to secure Heaten’s growth ambitions.
The global interest in heat pump technologies is huge, with Heaten on track to prove their success with two or three key costumers before they open up to signing contracts with new costumers and industries.
Geir Robstad, Viking’s former technology director, has now become an entrepreneur and sees greater opportunities by thinking outside of the box. Instead of continuing where Viking Heat Engines left off, Heaten has taken a step back, focused its customer-centric efforts and continues to work with the proven technology platform. The result will be the world’s most efficient and cost-effective high temperature heat pump (VHTHP) for industrial use.
A head start
– “We have learned from the mistakes that were made in Viking Heat Engines”, says Robstad.
He believes the company has a two to three years technology head start in industrial VHTHP very high temperature heat pump design and customer delivery process.
– “There is simply no direct competitor”, says Robstad.
The technology platform is firmly grounded in a new compressor technology and high performance, low Global Warming Potential (GWP) working fluids. The product goes by the name “HeatBooster” where the special compressor manages to recover waste heat from cooling water or low temperature process sources and heat it up to 165-170°C. The compressor is piston-based and can operate with different types of working mediums and varying pressure and temperature. Heaten has already demonstrated that the heat pump can deliver up to 215˚C, but will focus on 80% of the low temperature process markets up to 170˚C first.
Anyone who has considered installing a heat pump in their home is familiar with the term Coefficient of Performance (COP) which describes how efficient the pumps are. The higher the COP, the less electricity is required to lift energy to a higher temperature.
Robstad believes that Heaten is at the very top for industrial heat pumps with a COP of up to 5, meaning that for one part electricity and four parts of waste energy, the VHTHP will deliver 5 parts of upgraded process heat at high temperatures.
Applications for low temperature process heat of 100–200˚C are required in almost every industry. The key to success is to identify waste heat energy sources. Examples include food production, drying processes, brewery, paper production, carbon capture and plastic bottle production. Most of such industrial processes use gas or oil to produce process heat. With waste heat often rarely used, the business opportunities and the opportunity to reuse energy are significant, technically, economically and regarding sustainability.
– “About 65 percent of CO2 emissions from processes in industry come from the combustion of fossil fuels. With heat pumps we can recover what is normally lost heat. Sometimes it even must be cooled down before it is allowed to be released into rivers and water”, says Robstad.
He refers to an example of brick production that has large tunnel dryers and burns gas to create dry hot air. Damp, heated air goes up the chimney. The hot and humid air contains a lot of energy that can be reused and introduced into the drying process. Thus, gas consumption will significantly be decreased, costs and CO2 saved.
According to Heaten, heat pump technology can help reduce CO2 emissions from drying processes by 78 percent and energy consumption by 84 percent for a brick manufacturer.
Robstad has stated rather pointedly that is should be forbidden to release waste heat.
– “It should be illegal to waste usable heat. It is a waste of valuable energy. Although under normal, more commercial conditions there is already a significant market today, a large part of the efficiency potential will not be realized without the authorities’ setting requirements or issuing orders. It should be on the agenda”, says Robstad.
Industry is a part of the sector subject to quotas and can thus buy CO2 quotas. It is expected that the EU will tighten quotas to cost-efficiently accelerate the industrial energy transition. The Norwegian government has announced that the CO2 tax will increase to NOK 2000 per ton.
One to many cylinders
Heaten is currently working on upscaling the former single-cylinder compressor that formed the R&D backbone of the technology. This is done in collaboration with AVL Schrick, a German engineering group with an 8 years track record of successful cooperation with the Heaten team.
One cylinder is being scaled up to several cylinders assembled in a block to megawatt size. The former R&D and commercialization efforts have already delivered a 200 kW, 4x single cylinder heat pump.
The new HeatBooster is matching industry energy needs.
Robstad says that they will not make the same mistake as the former company. The technology platform is scaled up and modularized to deliver heavy duty industrial heat pump.
– “We are making a compressor design which allows us to deliver larger energy outputs by making a larger engine block with several cylinders; a design process well known to the combustion engine industries. We are thinking of it as a family where each cylinder, piston and top are identical. 80 percent of the components are identical inside the machine, except for the housing and crankshaft”, says Robstad.
The first HeatBooster will be a 1 MW “heavy duty” machine. The range will be expanded up to 6 MW. The heat pump itself measures approximately 2.5 meters in length, 1.5 meters in height and 1.5 meters in width. The first version fits in a 20-foot container, while the largest fit in a 40-foot container.
Heaten has already signed a letter of intent for pilot testing starting in the fourth quarter of 2022 and expects to sign up more customers shortly. One of the costumers are in the building materials industry and the other is in onshore processing plants in the oil industry. Robstad will not disclose nationality or company, except that the oil company is not in Norway.
– “There is quite a lot of interest and many customers who are interested in a pre-sales agreement. We are a bit picky and want to establish ourselves in some segments and ensure success in those industries before we move on”, says Robstad.
Robstad and the team at Heaten believe that the business opportunities are enormous, considering the techno-economic advantages for industry and the global policy goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions rapidly.
Heaten refers to McKinsey&Co. and points out that electrification of industrial heating processes is one of the most important measures for decarbonization.
– “Our technology will be an important factor for green data centers. In addition, we can contribute to the efficient operation of direct CO2 capture technology”, says Robstad.