A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant was recently awarded to a team led by Purdue University’s Center for High Performance Buildings (CHPB) for development of next generation electrochemical heat pump technology. The team has the opportunity to develop an advanced system with the potential to outperform conventional vapor compression systems. The successful development of the technology may contribute to significant advancements for the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry.

The grant, a three-year, $1.25 million grant from the DOE Building Technologies Office, is named “NO Vapor-compression, Electrochemical Looping Heat Pump (NOVEL HP)”. The concept was initially funded through a grant from the University’s CHPB, which successfully produced proof-of-concept experimental work and simulation assessments which led to the DOE grant. The funding will enable further development and a more comprehensive assessment that will move this technology closer to commercialization.

Source: Purdue UniversitySource: Purdue University

At a time of increased pressure on the HVAC&R industry, which accounts for nearly half of the total energy consumed by U.S. residential and commercial buildings, it is imperative that alternative, more sustainable systems are developed. The electrochemical looping heat pump technology shows highly promising results in terms of energy efficiency — more than 20% less when compared to conventional vapor compression systems, depending on the operating conditions. The technology can also help transition to new refrigerants that produce lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The primary goals of this project will be to develop new electrochemically-active working fluids, as well as high performance cells. It is expected that these improvements will ultimately lead to the development of a demonstration prototype of the electrochemical looping heat pump system.

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