Space Heating Equipment
Most U.S. homes are heated with either a furnace or a boiler. The SOA for such equipment represents high-efficiency condensing systems that capture the latent heat from the exhaust gas. A small fraction of homes employs heat pumps, which use energy – typically electricity – to move ambient heat from the outside environment to the interior of the home.
Furnace/Boiler Drawbacks: High efficiency systems remain expensive and require small temperature differences between indoor and outdoor environments to maintain maximum efficiency. Under high heat load conditions, the efficiency will often drop.
Electric Heat Pump Drawbacks: Electric heat pumps have not received widespread acceptance due to poor performance in cold climates. Efficiency decreases at low temperatures, when heat is needed most; requiring more expensive supplemental fuel or electric heating. Some hybrid systems have natural-gas fueled auxiliary heat for such conditions, but this increases cost, complexity, and eliminates the heat pump benefit.
ThermoLift Advantage: TCHP will provide advantages for heating applications as fuel is consumed to move heat from the outside to inside the building; in stark contrast to space heating systems that simply burn fuel to create heat. Furthermore, ThermoLift can work in any cold climate environment and does not degrade in capacity with a 30%-50% energy and cost savings due to its unique thermodynamic cycle.
Space Cooling Equipment
Most air conditioning systems utilize vapor compression which uses a compressed refrigerant to absorb heat from inside a building and transfers it to an external environment. Nearly all these systems are electrically driven and require electricity.
Equipment Drawbacks: When it is least available and most expensive, i.e., during the hottest times of the year. Vapor compression systems use refrigerants, which are strong greenhouse gasses and can be over 2000 times more potent than CO2 in contribution to climate change.
ThermoLift Advantage: As a cooling system, TCHP offers high cooling efficiency, without the use of refrigerants, resulting in reduced operational costs and improved environmental benefits. The system also uses natural gas instead of electricity as its primary fuel which will enable consumers to avoid the high costs of electricity associated with space cooling during summer months. In addition, TCHP offers load balancing peak shaving by shifting cooling from electricity to natural gas driven air conditioning.
Water Heating Equipment
The water heating market is dominated by gas-fired and electric systems comprised primarily of storage-tank heaters, tank-less heaters, and hybrid electric /solar heaters. The energy efficiency (EF) of a high-end water heater can be as high as 99%, although typical gas-fired storage-tank systems are lower. Electric heat pump water heaters were recently introduced into the market.
Equipment Drawbacks Presently the water heating market is dominated by low-efficiency/low-cost units; the long payback period of high-efficiency systems has hindered their widespread popularity. Gas-fired tank-less water heaters are limited by capacity, while tank-based systems suffer standby losses. Electric water heaters have similar issues while also being expensive to operate.
ThermoLift Advantage: As a water heating system, TCHP utilizes cogeneration to capture excess heat that is discharged during operation. In the summer, exhaust heat that is typically expelled by traditional A/C systems will be captured to provide hot water at no additional cost, in addition to the improved efficiency.