Research project

EMBER High-temperature high-efficiency oil-free heat pump (EMBER)

Project Details
Start date: 01/06/2020
End date: 31/12/2021

Business Finland


Presently most heat demands in industry and cities globally are covered by fossil fuels burning, e.g. Helsinki is making majority of their heat using coal and this results in harmful emissions. For example, when burning oil, carbon dioxide emissions alone are estimated to 3.2 times the mass of fuel (oil) burned. Other harmful emissions include sulfur dioxide (e.g. responsible for asthma) and indirect climate gases. Using low quality coal for heating during winters can be much more harmful, especially in more densely populated areas. With regulations following political initiatives such as decarbonized Europe, limitations for coal burning for producing heat might realize to limit air pollution. Heat pumps provide clean heat production with an efficient use of electricity. In Europe, heat pump market accelerates and with 11.8 million units installed, it shows no signs of slowing down. With advances of technology and with new innovations high temperature heat pumps become viable. Heat pumps are very efficient way of generating the high temperature heat from the low temperature heat. For temperatures below 100C market offers many alternative heat pump solutions. However, there are rather few suppliers for high temperature (> 100C) heat pumps. An efficient heat pump producing high temperature heat with relative high power (> 100 kW) needs high-speed compressors and electric machines. High-speed kinetic turbo compressors have better efficiency and better reliability than reciprocating oil-lubricated and oil-free compressors. In addition, oil-free kinetic compressor technology enables use of the most efficient and ultra-low global warming potential (GWP) working fluids, which in most cases are sensitive or unsuitable for lubricants. In this project, the potential of previously not available high temperature heat pumps (HTHPs) with high-speed oil-free compressors is mapped and the scaled proof of concept of the technology is demonstrated.

LUT Focus Areas

Last updated on 2021-26-02 at 12:34