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Is the HeatBooster the answer to a low-carbon future?

In this blog post, Mattias outlines the benefits of integrating high-temperature heat pumps, such as the HeatBooster, into industrial processes in order to prepare for a low-carbon future.

Viking Heat Engines has big ambitions for industrial heat pumps. Our vision is to be the world’s leading ultra-high-temperature heat pump manufacturer by 2019. We believe that high-temperature heat pumps can play a significant role in "the green shift" of many industries in Europe and beyond, both by increasing the efficiency of specific processes and as an inspiring example of how to minimize carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions without changing entire processes.

Mattias Nilsson is a development engineer at Viking and regularly attends conferences on behalf of the company to talk about the HeatBooster.

I recently attended the International Workshop for High Temperature Heat Pumps in Copenhagen, Denmark, where I talked about the opportunity of using high-temperature heat pumps to make industrial processes more energy efficient by utilizing the world’s largest untapped waste resource, namely waste heat.

Since June, the 200 kW-version of the HeatBooster has been producing high-temperature heat up to 160°C at our factory test centre in Remscheid, Germany. This is an important step for the ultra-high temperature heat pump market. That said, you might wonder why the HeatBooster and similar kinds of heat pumps are the right choice for a low-carbon future. Well, let me outline some of the main key features of our technology.

Greener working fluids

Our heat pump is suitable for environmentally friendly working fluids and thus part of the technology generation that’s taking the next steps towards carbon neutrality.

If we look at the new working fluids recently introduced to the market, we see a growing variety of the so-called HFO fluids. These fluids have a very low Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 10 or less. A GWP of 2, for example, means that you’ll emit 2kg of CO2 for every kg of fluid. The HFO fluids are being introduced thanks to the new global F-gas legislations, which support the transition to low-GWP, HFO-based technologies. The HeatBooster has so far been tested with HFO-1336mzz(Z), which has a GWP of 2. In comparison, most industrial heat pumps in Europe today use HFC-134a, a refrigerant with a GWP of more than 1,400.

Unique technology

Another argument for betting on the HeatBooster is its unique software. The algorithms included in the software draw on our engineers’ previous experience of the piston organic ranking cycle to make the system run as smoothly and stable as possible. Its innovation is partly based on feed-forward regulations of possible changes in external or internal conditions as well as on real-time monitoring. Continuing to improve this digital edge will be extremely important in a world increasingly focused on artificial intelligence.

High efficiency

A third argument is the efficiency of the HeatBooster. Currently the efficiency is 50 % of the theoretical maximum at temperature lifts of 20-40 °C, calculated from the Carnot cycle. The test results show that the HeatBooster can reduce the electricity consumption of certain processes by 80% compared to direct electric heating. This is very competitive for a heat pump that uses a piston compressor and non-toxic, non-flammable fluids.

Easy integration

The heat pump can be directly integrated into industrial processes to produce steam or to achieve extraordinarily high-temperature lifts by connecting units in series (i.e. a cascade installation). A cascade installation, for example, improves the COP compared to having one big heat pump doing the whole temperature lift.

Make your business future ready

Did you know that most of our emissions don’t come from cars and airplanes? The industry sector emits almost twice as much CO2 compared to the transportation sector (Source: EPA).

High-temperature heat pump can drastically reduce CO2 emissions of industrial processes that normally depend on 100% natural gas. The automotive industry, for example, uses temperatures above 180°C to dry freshly painted components on their conveyer belts. By installing the HeatBooster, waste heat from such processes, which is normally around 100°C, can be hiked up to 160°C, replacing much of the gas heating used today. The long-term goal of the HeatBooster is to produce temperatures above 200°C, but cutting most of the natural gas consumption used today is a big step towards phasing out fossil fuels altogether.

This blog post has been written by Mattias Nilsson, Development Engineer at Viking Heat Engines Germany. You can reach Mattias at mattias.nilsson@vikingheatengines.com.

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