Lead Performer: Unico Systems - St. Louis, MO
-- Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Oak Ridge, TN
-- Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN
-- Emerson Electric - St. Louis, MO
-- Invention House - St. Louis, MO
DOE Funding: $2,000,000
Cost Share: $800,000
Project Term: March 1, 2012 - February 28, 2016
Funding Opportunity: Energy Savings Through Improved Mechanical Systems and Building Envelope Technologies - 2012 (DE-FOA-0000621)

Project Objective

The goal of this project is to develop a residential split-system three-ton cold climate heat pump (CCHP) using boosted compression technology and variable speed motors. Compared to state-of-the-art systems using the same fuel, these systems achieve, in the long term, acceptable reliability, maintenance intervals, and life expectancies, as well as similar levels of product safety. The project is based on a CCHP technology licensed from Purdue university. ORNL is assisting Unico with analyses for component selection and sizing and prototype performance verification testing. The performance goals for this project are a nominal heating capacity of 36,000 Btu/hr. (3 tons) with a COP of 4.0 at the 47°F ambient temperature standard rating condition, and cold ambient heating capacity (at -13°F ambient conditions) that is ≥75% of the nominal capacity. Unico’s cost goal is to achieve a simple payback of less than five years.

Project Impact

In the United States, approximately 14.4 million dwellings use electricity for heating in very cold and cold regions, consuming 0.16 quads of energy annually. A high-performance CCHP would result in significant savings over current technologies (greater than 70% compared to strip heating). The CCHP can result in annual primary energy savings of 0.1 quads when fully deployed, which is equivalent to a reduction of 5.9 million tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions.


DOE Technology Manager: Tony Bouza
Performer: Craig Messmer, Unico Systems

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