S-RAM Dynamics has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the Department of Energy toward a $1 million project to help commercialize an energy efficient heat pump for commercial and industrial customers to reduce energy consumption by more than 50 percent compared to other common refrigeration and heating systems.
The system is being developed in coordination with Purdue University, and performance testing will be done at DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. S-RAM is looking to demonstrate the technology at three major US retail and commercial facilities late next year, says Lee Jestings, president of S-RAM. The plan is to install the first commercial units within 24 months.
S-RAM says the new heat pump will use its proprietary compressor and expander technology. Heat pumps heat and cool buildings by removing or adding heat from the desired area or application using other natural renewable heat sources like the ground, air and water. Most heat pumps use hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to accomplish this, but S-RAM’s heat pump replaces these chemicals with CO2, eliminating any greenhouse gas emissions.
“The core part of the heat pump is the oil free variable displacement compressor integrated with a variable expander,” says Jestings. “The compressor/expander can vary displacement while running at constant motor speed. This enables the heat pump to follow changing ambient conditions very efficiently.”
S-RAM Dynamics is developing a 20-ton cooling and 240,000 BTU/h heating capacity heat pump that can operate between -35°C and 85°C for commercial and industrial use.
The S-RAM technology was selected as part of the DOE’s “Next Generation Energy Efficient Buildings Technologies” program.