ThermoLift is developing an advanced Vuilleumier Heat Pump (VHP) that will incorporate several innovations to improve performance and reduce costs. This project will research and develop the purely mechanical system into an advanced mechanical/electronic or mechatronic system. The first generation prototype of this system has already been designed, built, and tested. It includes innovations such as an ultra-low-emission combustion burner, electronically-controlled actuators for cycle efficiency improvement, and innovative heat exchangers [additional innovations]. With these improvements, the next-generation VHP device is expected to outperform currently available state-of-the-art HVAC and DHW equipment, and will significantly increase operational efficiencies of the thermodynamic process while reducing costs and carbon-dioxide emissions.
Vuilleumier Heat Pump
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First Generation Build Testing and Data
ThermoLift has built and tested our first generation prototype. ThermoLift formally began work on the development of TL-1 in September 2013. By December 2013, the concept of the TL-1 system was clearly defined with details of previous work regarding the VHP studied and analyzed. Extensive simulation of the mechatronic system, combustion system, regenerators, heat exchangers, and machine housing was pursued using advanced 1D and 3D simulation tools. ThermoLift engineers constructed an initial dynamic gas force analysis model and continuously work to integrate and refine this model for each design consideration within the development lifecycle.
Initial testing started in September 2014, with multiple iterations realized over the course of the next 6 months. Machine testing was pursued with gradual increases in system operational characteristics (temperature, pressure, and displacer frequency) undertaken over time. Results from operational testing have validated the fundamental thermodynamic processes and core innovations.
Development of the second generation ThermoLift device will focus on component optimization, improved system design, and utilization of low-cost production methods and materials in anticipation of product introduction into commercial markets. These improvements will result in reduced energy consumption and related costs to the consumer, reduced GHG emissions, a more reliable energy distribution infrastructure, greater domestic energy independence, increased US-based manufacturing, and a shrinking of the US trade deficit for HVAC equipment. The lessons learned from the development of the 1st-generation prototype and upcoming 2nd prototype will provide a critical knowledge base that serves as a spring board for the design, fabrication, and development of the next-generation device with substantially improved performance. The scope of this program will be the delivery of TL-3, which will incorporate advanced materials and manufacturing techniques so as to reduce cost and risk associated with commercialization.
ThermoLift owns 100% interest in twelve patent families (four of which are in the national phase and filed in multiple countries on 3 continents; two of which are PCT filings, and six of which are US. Provisional filings). None are licensed to any parties. ThermoLift is not aware of any registered IP that constitutes an obstacle to production. ThermoLift presently enjoys a dominant position with strong blocking patents in this technology space.