Helium Heat Pump
Arne Hoeg, presenting in High Temperature Heat Pump Symposium in Copenhagen

Norwegian OEM Enerin Successfully Tests Helium High-Temperature Heat Pump

Using waste heat as its heat source, the HoegTemp high-temperature heat pump can produce steam at up to 200°C.

A recent study has found that a helium (R704) high-temperature industrial heat pump developed by Norwegian OEM Enerin and installed at a biogas facility near Stavanger, Norway, can convert waste heat into useful high-temperature steam heat at up to 200°C (392°F). 

The study, “Performance of a High-Temperature Industrial Heat Pump, Using Helium as Refrigerant,” was authored by Arne Høeg, Kristian Løver and Gunnar Vartdal from Enerin. The study was presented at the High-Temperature Heat Pump Symposium 2024, held in Copenhagen from January 23–24.

“This type of heat pump is very well suited for high-temperature lift applications where it will deliver competitive COP and second-law efficiency,” the study wrote. “The HoegTemp heat pump is suited for applications where the source and sink temperatures vary according to the production profile of a factory and the availability of high-quality waste heat.”

The HoegTemp high-temperature heat pump (HTHP) in the study has been installed at the IVAR Central Treatment Plant Nord-Jæren since the summer of 2023. The raw biogas at the IVAR facility contains CO2 (R744), which must be removed before it can be sold. IVAR employs an amine process, using chemicals to capture and absorb the CO2. This requires steam heat at up to 200°C and cooling, both of which the HoegTemp HTHP provides.

According to the study, the HoegTemp heat pump has a capacity of 400kW (113.7TR). In simulations it was able to achieve a COP of 1.4 from a heat source averaging 21°C (69.8°F) and produce 202kW (57.4TR) of heating capacity. The study said the heat pump’s performance has not yet been mapped across its temperature range for its max output of 400kW.

Unique design

Enerin’s heat pump operates on the Stirling cycle, which is not dependent on the boiling and condensation of refrigerants. This thermodynamic cycle describes the operation of a type of reciprocating heat engine or heat pump with external heat transfer. It is ideal for high-temperature applications largely because it operates in a closed-loop system that moves the same gas back and forth rather than relying on the phase change of a refrigerant.

Helium is inert and non-toxic with zero ODP or GWP. Noble gases like helium can handle temperature from near absolute zero (−273.15°C/−460°F) to about 250 to 350°C (482 to 662°F), to cover heating and cooling needs.

Future plans

An Enerin spokesperson told NaturalRefrigerants.com that the company is planning to nearly double the capacity of the HoegTemp HTHP.

“The current design of our heat pump has a capacity of 400kW [113.7TR], but we are aiming to expand this, offering modules that can deliver up to 1MW [284.3TR] of heating capacity,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also shared insights from the ongoing SUSHEAT project. SUSHEAT is a project focused on developing and testing new technologies for hybrid renewable industrial heat systems. These systems are designed to provide heat for industrial processes as needed, helping to reduce the industrial sector’s dependency on fossil fuels and decrease emissions.

“We are actively mapping the heat pump’s performance across a wide operating range, with source temperatures up to 130°C [266°F] and sink temperatures up to 250°C [482°F].”

Enerin has begun sales of the HoegTemp HTHP, selling one unit to pharmaceutical company GE Healthcare and another to fish and feed company Pelagia. Both have purchased the HoegTemp HTHP for their facilities in Norway, with the two sales reportedly fetching a combined €3.5 million ($3.7 million).

“We are actively mapping the heat pump’s performance across a wide operating range, with source temperatures up to 130°C [266°F] and sink temperatures up to 250°C [482°F]”

CEO of Enerin As


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