STONY BROOK, N.Y. – ThermoLift Inc, a New York-based energy innovator, and FortisBC Energy Inc (FortisBC), an energy solutions provider supplying natural gas, electricity and renewable energy to over one million customers in British Columbia, will soon begin real-world field tests of residential fuel-flexible heat pumps for single family homes, the first pilot in North America.
ThermoLift’s groundbreaking Thermal Compression Climate Control (TC3) unit, a single appliance for space and water heating for residential and commercial settings, will be tested in a cross-section of different residential properties to evaluate its operational efficiency in British Columbia’s diverse weather conditions. The sites were selected following a months-long screening process with FortisBC’s Conservation and Energy Management Team and ThermoLift.
“These are the very best proving grounds we could have asked for, where the most fuel is consumed during the winter months. As energy transitions, the TC3 will help meet future zero emission heat and hot water goals,” said Paul Schwartz, co-founder and director, ThermoLift.
Based on the Hofbauer Cycle™ and powered by hydrogen, biofuels or natural gas, this toxin-free refrigerant system functions as a boiler or furnace, water heater and air conditioner. If the TC3 performs as well in field trials as it did in Thermolift’s lab settings, the TC3 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and associated energy costs by as much as half, and be pivotal in meeting more stringent federal and local GHG reduction targets and pending energy efficiency legislation. For example, it has the potential to meet the aspirational goals of the Pan Canadian Framework, a Canadian government plan requiring that all new space and water heating systems in residential properties operate with efficiencies of 100 percent or greater by 2035.
“That’s a tall order,” said Jim Kobialko, program manager of innovative technologies & projects, FortisBC. “But after seeing how these performed in lab settings, we’re optimistic that these new natural gas heat pump technologies are going to be key to reaching efficiencies greater than 100 percent and fill a much-needed gap in the marketplace.”
Kobialko leads the team at FortisBC that partners with innovative industry leaders and manufacturers to identify and test technologies that show promise in moving the needle in energy efficiency in different sectors.
“We’re really excited to observe how the TC3 performs in British Columbia’s diverse weather conditions and are expecting to receive the final evaluation reports in the fall of 2022,” said Kobialko.
The ThermoLift TC3 residential heat pump pilot is the latest in a series of technologies FortisBC has tested in real world applications prior to marketing through its energy efficiency programs. Since 2009, FortisBC has evaluated more than 220 products, and 19 of these became pilot programs. All piloted technologies transitioned to full-scale conservation programs that provide incentives for customers to upgrade to more energy efficient equipment and appliances. As part of its 30BY30 goal of reducing of GHG emissions from its customers by 30 per cent by 2030, FortisBC plans to invest an additional $10 million (CAD) in pilots like this over the next five years. To learn more, visit fortisbc.com.
ThermoLift, Inc. is headquartered at the Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) in Stony Brook, New York, and an affiliate of Stony Brook University’s Clean Energy Business Incubator Program (CEBIP). ThermoLift’s engineering, development, and testing center is located at Livonia, Michigan. ThermoLift’s TC3 has been ranked # 1 in the DOE report “Energy Savings Potential and RD&D Opportunities for Commercial Building HVAC Systems.” The DOE provided funding, and performance testing was conducted by Oak Ridge National Labs. The TC3 has received an agency field label approval for installation in buildings. This agency certification provides for installation across North America.
FortisBC Energy Inc. is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, renewable gas, propane and thermal energy solutions. FortisBC Energy Inc. employs more than 1,900 British Columbians and serves approximately 1,054,097 customers across British Columbia. FortisBC Energy Inc. owns and operates 50,182 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Energy Inc. is a subsidiary of Fortis Inc., a leader in the North American regulated electric and gas utility industry. FortisBC Energy Inc. uses the FortisBC name and logo under license from Fortis Inc.