Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Futraheat

Industrial-scale heat pumps to cut energy usage


This novel heat pump uses a compressor that saves energy while recycling waste heat from manufacturing processes

Spotted: Heat pumps are increasingly seen as an important component in the drive to reach net zero. However, much of the focus has been on the development and installation of domestic heat pumps. Startup Futraheat is focusing instead on industry. Heat is a major element of many industrial processes, and Futraheat’s solution uses a novel pump to recycle waste heat for use in manufacturing.

Futraheat’s Greensteam pump uses an innovative turbo compressor, called the TurboClaw. This offers a cost-effective way to recover waste heat – a by-product of many industrial procedures – and boost it to higher temperatures needed for many manufacturing processes. The compressor operates without oil at a relatively low 20,000 revolutions per minute (RPM), compared with the 60,000 RPM typically found in a comparable centrifugal compressor, meaning that the compressor uses less energy to run.

At the same time, the company claims the system can recover waste heat from as low as 70 degrees Celsius and deliver heat up to 150 degrees Celsius, all while operating with modern low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and using 80 per cent less energy than standard systems.

Futraheat is currently readying its first full sized 300-kilowatt-hour demonstrator, which will be trialled this year at a brewery. The company has also recently closed a £1.5 million (around €1.7 million) investment round led by green investors Clean Growth Fund. The money will be used, in part, to fund a full commercial launch of the product, planned for 2024.

Because heat pumps run on electricity rather than fossil fuels, the technology is likely to play a big role in decarbonisation. Some other heat pump innovations Springwise has spotted include one that uses sound waves to produce heat and a geothermal system that can be installed faster and cheaper than the alternatives.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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