Vilter HPLD compressor in loop final
Vilter HPLD compressor in loop final

Vilter and Hydro-Quebec Testing Large-Scale CO2 Heat Pump

The heat pump, using Vilter’s high-pressure single-screw compressor, has completed more than 6,700 hours of testing.

Canadian utility Hydro-Quebec and Vilter Manufacturing, an industrial manufacturing division of U.S.-based Emerson, have completed more than 6,700 hours in a test of a large-scale CO2 (R744) heat pump system produced by Vilter, with plans to continue testing for the rest of 2022.

That news was shared by Vilter executives at a presentation last week at the IIAR 2022 Conference in Savannah, Georgia (U.S.).

Hydro-Quebec is a Montreal-based public utility that supplies hydroelectric power in the Canadian province of Quebec, in addition to exporting it to portions of the Northeastern U.S.

In testing the CO2 heat pump, the utility is “looking for alternative electrification solutions as opposed to fossil fuels” for generating space and domestic hot water for large commercial buildings, including district heating, said Lee Van Dixhorn, Director, New Solutions Development for Vilter, based in Cudahy, Wisconsin (U.S.).

Hydro-Quebec and Vilter have invested US$1.5 million in the test at Hydro-Quebec’s Energy Technologies Laboratory in Shawinigan, Quebec. The CO2 heat pump has been evaluated since 2020 in a “simulated environment” comparable to “real-life conditions,” said Wayne Wehber, Vice President of Technology for Vilter. Vilter has collaborated with Hydro-Quebec on programming the system and controls.

The CO2 heat pump system, previously tested at Vilter’s own lab in Cudahy up to 1,350psig (93.1bar) with a motor, generates up to 1.35MW of heat, said Van Dixhorn.

The CO2 heat pump employs Vilter’s high-pressure low-displacement (HPLD) single-screw compressor, a large-capacity unit designed for large applications. The compressor has a maximum design pressure of 138bar (2,000psia), a displacement of 130 to 250cfm at 3,600rpm (capable of running at 4,500rpm) and a maximum of 865HP. It is capable of being used in place of multiple reciprocating compressors in a CO2 system, said Wehber.

“Emerson sees CO2 as part of the future and has really jumped in with CO2 technology,” said Wehber, who also referred to Emerson’s small-footprint transcritical CO2 scroll compressor with dynamic vapor injection (DVI), introduced last year.

Van Dixhorn said there is a “big window of opportunity” for both CO2 and ammonia heat pumps in North America, following the trend in Europe. “They fit in different places,” he said. “Residential buildings are hesitant to use ammonia. COis more complicated, but there is lots of technology being developed to use CO2 as a heat pump.”

“COis more complicated, but there is lots of technology being developed to use CO2 as a heat pump.”

Lee Van Dixhorn, Vilter

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