Infinite Turbine debuts heat pump turbine for homes, businesses


From pv magazine Global

US-based Infinity Turbine LLC has developed a heat pump turbine for residential and commerical applications.

“This system is viable in both residential and commercial sectors, since all use some form of cooling, available waste heat for use, or use of hydraulic power. The Cavgenx heat pump turbine is designed to be used with our saltwater redox flow battery (SRFB) Salgenx,” CEO Gregory Giese told pv magazine, adding that the system could be used in combination with PV power generation. “We are planning a pilot installation to evaluate this integration in a real-world setting.”

The heat pump turbine utilizes PV power or alternative electricity sources for simultaneous cooling and hydraulic power, suitable for running industrial machinery with hydraulic motors, and boasting a coefficient of performance (COP) exceeding three.

The proposed system configuration involves PV or alternative power sources initiating an electric motor that drives a shaft compressor. A cavitating disc pressurizes liquid working fluid to vapor, which is then heated for increased pressure and expanded through a common shaft turbine. The rotation of the shaft turbine powers the forward cavitating compressor, a hydraulic pump, and a feed pump. The vapor is subsequently condensed for cooling purposes.

The turbine uses a common shaft to instantly power the cavitation compressor from fluid to pressurized gas and also drives the hydraulic power take-off. Initiated by an electric motor, the assembly becomes self-powering, resembling a conventional turbine cycle, with the need for heat to sustain the cycle.

“One of the biggest benefits of using this heat pump turbine is simultaneous production of cooling,” Giese said. “We can take heat from AI processor data centers, use that heat to power the turbine, and then return cooling as part of that cycle.”

The turbine, connected by a common shaft, links to the compressor and power take-off accessories. With variable heat from PV panels or solar thermal, the system stores heat in a sand battery or hot water tank, addressing solar power intermittency and offering levelized thermal storage.

Zeolite pellets may also be used as a heat storage medium. “Zeolite pellets have some interesting qualities, including releasing huge amounts of stored heat when water is applied, which make it perfect for this application, ” Giese said. “Solar PV can be used to store heat in the Zeolite pellets, then heat can be released when needed.”

The heat pump turbine can also be combined with battery storage. “Incorporating batteries is a viable solution,” he said. “They can store excess energy generated during peak sunlight and supply power during low sunlight periods, ensuring continuous operation of the heat pump turbine.”

The manufacturer said the heat pump turbines are highly efficient in converting energy, leading to lower energy consumption.

“This efficiency translates to lower operational costs over time, especially in heating and cooling applications,” Giese said. “Grid-based arbitrage can be realized by using off-peak power from the grid to generate cold water via a Calmac system or ice, which can be used during on-peak power when electrical rates are much higher, realizing significant cost savings.”

The company is currently developing and testing the system in Madison, in the US state of Wisconsin. It wants to sell it in any market sector where heat pumps and hydraulic motors are used, which includes industry and large industrial equipment such as construction equipment.

“The system could be used to retrofit existing CO2 heat pump systems which are used for air conditioning, hot water, and process heat. Such systems realize the user 20-80 percent energy and cost savings,” Giese stated.

Schematic of the systemImage: Infinity Turbine LLC

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