SaltX HeatBoost for heating hot water

Sustainable Problem: Energy Efficiency

Hot water is used in residential applications for washing dishes, clothes, and humans. Typically, there is a natural gas or electric hot water heater that heats a 30-50 gallon tank of water, maintaining the temperature around 120F before being delivered to its final purpose.

Technology Solution: SaltX’s HeatBoost Gas Powered Heat Pump

SaltX is a company from Sweden whose founding product is a salt crystal used for thermal storage. They also make a gas-powered heat pump used to heat hot water. They claim to be able to save 500 Euros per year with each installation with a simple payback of 1.5 years. It is clear from the company’s website, this solution is made for residential hot water heating.

The problem:

The thing that first caught my attention is the claim for 50% increase in efficiency. It doesn’t say over what, though. Most hot water heaters, especially those being sold now, are already 90-95% efficient, not leaving much for improvement. The second issue I have is the claim of 500 Euros savings per year. That would mean a family would have to spend at least 60 Euros per month just heating water. I’m not too familiar with the utility usage of Europe, but in the US, typically families only spend $10-20 per month heating water.

My job is being an Energy Engineer and all the time, we have to sift through new technologies. These are simple questions that get brought up as part of our job and are addressed before supporting a product. We would need to verify the claims of savings and determine how the technology works. Without talking with the company, it seems like these are dubious claims.

Next Moves:

This company is working with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and Rheem to break through the US market. It’s a good strategy. If they can get the recommendation of the utility company, getting trust in the public is easier. If they are going after the residential market, it will be much more difficult to market to all of the different people buying hot water heaters. A good solution is to market to Energy Services Companies, which have customers interested in energy efficient products. Some commercial applications, schools, universities, etc have higher hot water uses, but again, the efficiency of these systems is over 90% and I would wonder if SaltX makes a HeatBoost large enough to meet those demands, certainly not at 750 Euros.

Organizational Stakeholders:

Homeowners, Utility Companies, Building Owners, Energy Services Companies, Mechanical Contractors.

Links:

SaltX Website

Article on Business Wire

Comment:

Article – “World’s first “negative emission” plant”
Great find! I’m so interested in the cost aspects of this and how it compares to energy efficient measures, renewable energy, and other carbon capturing technology. The article states their goal is $100 per metric ton, but can go as low as $30. That would be great and definitely worthwhile. Also, I wonder how a localized plant would be able to have an affect on a global issue…

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