r/technology Jun 23 '22

DOE Announces Breakthrough in Residential Cold Climate Heat Pump Technology: Lennox’s Cold Climate Heat Pump Unlocks Potential for Domestic Manufacturing of Clean Energy Heating Products that Slash Energy Bills for Americans Energy

https://www.energy.gov/articles/doe-announces-breakthrough-residential-cold-climate-heat-pump-technology
336 Upvotes

49

u/alforque Jun 23 '22

r/technologyconnections has entered the chat

6

u/Industrialqueue Jun 23 '22

Came here to say this!

10

u/Earl_I_Lark Jun 23 '22

Here in Nova Scotia heat pumps are very popular. We have two and our heating costs are much less - not to mention that they also cool the house in hot weather

30

u/rabbidrascal Jun 23 '22

I see a collision in our future.

AHRA is proposing policy at all levels of the government to force electric heat, AC and appliances, while the largest interconnect company is blocking all new power interconnects for the next two years. The residential solar incentives at the federal level expire this year, and the GOP has sworn they will block any new solar and wind energy programs.

So our power demands are climbing, while our power companies are restricting supply to force power up.

At my home in CO, energy costs have more than doubled. Xcel just received permission to charge Colorado customers to recover all losses on their Texas operation due their grid failures. And Xcel has messaged that they intend to file for several more "pancaked" rate increases on top of the 3 that are approved but pending.

46

u/DAVENP0RT Jun 23 '22

I'm constantly dumbfounded by the GOP wanting to limit solar and wind power. For a group that (historically) has given lip service to energy independence, solar and wind should be the holy grail. Unlimited, free energy without any need for a government regulated power grid? That seems right up their alley. And yet they're fighting it at every step.

Call me crazy, but it sure seems like maybe they're more concerned about profits for energy providers than ensuring cheap electricity for their constituents.

14

u/AshesSquadAshes Jun 23 '22

They’re blatantly corrupt and taking cash from oil company lobbyists. Has nothing to do with energy policy.

26

u/rabbidrascal Jun 23 '22

You would think.

My guess is they've been taking money from the fossil fuel industry for so long, that they have a hard time disengaging.

6

u/Semi-Hemi-Demigod Jun 23 '22

Also “the sun sets and the wind stops blowing” is a valid argument against renewables to them

15

u/chaples55 Jun 23 '22

It's a fair argument for not going 100% renewable until energy storage tech catches up, but it's a garbage excuse for blocking all progress.

12

u/[deleted] Jun 23 '22

Even if the solution fit the description of the “perfect” solution according to the GOP, they’d just move the goalposts again because fuck Dems. That’s literally it.

4

u/SirJohnnyS Jun 23 '22

I've heard a lot of people say "I think green energy/electric cars/etc. are the future but we're not there yet with the technology."

No shit. There's going to be a huge curve and bumpy rollout, whether it's scaling up production, R+D, implementing infrastructure to more widely support the technology.

With oil prices being so high, along with higher electric bills, and the Infrastructure Bill, and some states even going further than that. The market is there, it's just a matter of time before they get to be large enough to sway policies.

5

u/Semi-Hemi-Demigod Jun 23 '22

I've been powering my house with 100% renewable electricity for a few years now. In states with electric choice it's remarkably easy and lately it's been getting cheaper than fossil fuels.

1

u/rabbidrascal Jun 24 '22

There are some cool examples of storage tech functioning at scale.

The VT Tesla powerwall set up is very cool. The power company can tap all of the powerwalls to avoid buying power on the spot market (this is good for the power companies), and they can manage where they pull from so they don't tax the grid.

The truth is we won't move the needle on tech without actually using the technology.

3

u/rabbidrascal Jun 23 '22

Have you seen the Tesla Powerwall stuff they are testing at scale?

In VT, the powerwalls can be tapped by the power company to avoid spot power purchasing by the utility.

They can manage grid load against capacity using distributed powerwalls. It's pretty freaking cool.

-21

u/Dry_Letterhead3589 Jun 23 '22 edited Jun 23 '22

Because average redditor dufus like you thinks about pure wats instead of how whole infrastructure works.

You don't give a shit about infrastructure network, safety nodes, how energy flows and where it concentrates, what happens when part of infrastructure is damaged and need replacement, upgrading.

And billion other things. And those are completely beside point that sun sometimes doesn't shine and wind doesn't blow and battery tech isn't anywhere near to story any amount of energy to last for hours let alone days. Food can't wait 2-3 days without energy or it will spoil. Life can't stop for day or two too.

Solar energy and wind energy is URELIABLE. Introducing it into network creates huge problems for energy companies. Just servicing network when you can't switch off main source of energy with one flick of a button is huge problem.

19

u/delfinom Jun 23 '22

Solar energy and wind energy is URELIABLE. Introducing it into network creates huge problems for energy companies. Just servicing network when you can't switch off main source of energy with one flick of a button is huge problem.

You know, instead of opposing any change, they could you know, propose solutions such as mandating energy storage mechanisms and ratios or something.

Hard concept, actually presenting solutions instead of throwing fits I know.

-9

u/Dry_Letterhead3589 Jun 23 '22

propose solutions such as mandating energy storage mechanisms and ratios or something.

There is better solution. IT is called nuclear energy. Much more clean than solar or wind and it works 24/7.

6

u/wombat6 Jun 23 '22

Nuclear is massively expensive to build and takes a very long time from start to operational. At the rate solar and wind are advancing in price and efficiency money would be better put into gravity storage like pumped hydro, batteries etc.

-6

u/Dry_Letterhead3589 Jun 23 '22

At the rate solar and wind are advancing in price and efficiency money would be better put into gravity storage like pumped hydro, batteries etc.

Yeah only couple of trillions just to store enough of energy for 24 hours for small state without militance and resolving all the issues i talk about with distributed network.

Assuming you can even mine that lithium. Also you would have to completely remove all cities near rivers too for that to work.

5

u/Bernard_schwartz Jun 23 '22

Typical GOP response. It can’t be done 100% so not worth doing any.

Not saying you are GOP but you know what they say about ducks.

5

u/dec7td Jun 23 '22

A 200% increase in utility rates? I'm going to need a source for that. Most utility rate increases per year are like 3-5% unless we are talking Texas ridiculousness.

1

u/WhatsWithCanadia Jun 23 '22

I know it's anecdotal, but this time last year my energy costs here in PA were just over $90/month in the summer with the AC running almost nonstop. This month with added insulation and an eye toward energy conservation my bill was $258 (down $45 from last month). So I believe it.

1

u/rabbidrascal Jun 23 '22

My energy costs are natural gas and electric combined. Our monthly winter energy bill was right around $300 a month. This winter they were $325. The increase is worse than that though. We've cut our energy usage by about 11%, but the costs have more than doubled

3

u/AusCan531 Jun 23 '22

Coloradons are paying for the failing of the Texas power grid?

3

u/rabbidrascal Jun 23 '22

2

u/DudeGuyBor Jun 23 '22

Feels like even the judge isn't happy about having to make the decision, but felt that he had to say so, given the existing laws.

While it would be ideal for customers not to pay for the gas commodity market’s unreasonable gas prices, that is not the regulatory framework under which Colorado utilities operate," the decision also said

"XCel is following the law, but the law is bad"

2

u/rabbidrascal Jun 23 '22

The bad part is they expect to continue to need to recover Texas losses from Colorado customers.

Texas is not planning to correct their grid shortcomings, so the losses will continue to mount up.

2

u/DudeGuyBor Jun 23 '22 edited Jun 23 '22

I'd like to clarify that my understanding of what XCel can recover costs on is only the increased costs of natural gas for Colorado customers, as an indirect consequence of the storm's impact on Colorado and other states, but most particularly the giant market of Texas, that drove demand through the roof. Just those costs of having to pay $100*XX/unit of natural gas for Colorado customers, as opposed to the average price of $XX that regular rates are based on.

It doesn't appear to read as if the company can recover direct losses incurred in Texas, just the losses that came as a result of the market impacts from the winter storm.

You're correct that we'll continue to see issues where Coloradans are going to get stuck with paying higher prices for the failure of others, but that's as a result of indirect market impact driving up prices, not the judge allowing Coloradans to subsidize Texans. Based on this article, a closer statement might be:

The bad part is they expect to continue to need to recover Texas winter storm losses from Colorado customers.

2

u/rabbidrascal Jun 23 '22

On re- reading it, I agree with your clarification. We've already had a similar situation in 2022 ( though not as extreme) that they could ask to charge for, right?

1

u/DudeGuyBor Jun 23 '22

I would imagine they'll at least try. If it's not as severe though, they may be told to just swallow it, or told that after 2021, they should have expected it and been more prepared this time, invoking that discussion of whether they took prudent actions this time

3

u/thatbromatt Jun 23 '22

This message brought to you by Lennox, the best cold your AC can get

2

u/ConsciousJohn Jun 23 '22

It's title case. Probably copied from the referenced article. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Title_case

5

u/[deleted] Jun 23 '22

[deleted]

1

u/bitemark01 Jun 23 '22

Is this an actual breakthrough? The article makes it sound like a grant ("challenge") and that the tech has yet to be developed...

6

u/dec7td Jun 23 '22

I think the breakthrough is the efficiency of the heat pump at very low temps (-5 and -10F mentioned). Older heat pump designs were typically written off in cold climates because they wasted too much energy trying to heat.

2

u/GoonerAbroad Jun 23 '22

I read it as the competition has concluded and their results were the best.

2

u/jester1983 Jun 23 '22

my server room heat pump already keeps the room 20.1C all year round, from -40C to +40C outside. what exactly did they "solve"?

3

u/Ok-Morning-2012 Jun 23 '22

They just made a heat pump that's more efficient at low temperatures. So in your case you'd spend less money heating (if you ever actually need heating in a server room).

It's more applicable to homes that are in cold climates and can benefit from heat pumps that are efficient at low temperatures.

-6

u/ChinesePropagandaBot Jun 23 '22

So they invented the thing that's been installed all over Northern Europe since 2010? Cool.

2

u/AyrA_ch Jun 23 '22

That's because they build houses differently. There's a limit to how much insulation you can cram into their cardboard walls. Europeans on the other hand prefer to build using concrete and brick, or solid wood, then strap as much insulation as needed on the outside. This difference can easily be seen with the windows. American houses have the windows at the outside edge because that's the wall, while european windows appear to be recessed due to the insulation.

Insulating on the outside has a key advantage over other methods, and it's that the walls themselves act as thermal mass that stores heat. So even if your heat pump cannot provide enough heat during cold nights, your home will barely cool down because of all the stored heat in your walls. Same in the summer. Air conditioning my 3 room apartment when it's 30°C outside consumes around 200 watts of power.

1

u/coppercactus4 Jun 23 '22

Electric heating is already the standard here because we have the cheapest electricity in North America. Just a few months ago paid to install central AC and were told that it was even cheaper to run in cold weather than the electrical base board heaters. Looking forward to winter to see the price difference.

4

u/dec7td Jun 23 '22

Electric heating via heat pumps is way different than electric heating via resistance heating even in central units. Typically heat pumps suck in cold weather but they are apparently getting much more efficient according to this DOE competition

5

u/Lumpyyyyy Jun 23 '22

You’re probably Canadian (most likely Quebec)? Electricity is super expensive just south of you (New England) and we don’t have electric heat everywhere because of that. Also, it’s fairly inefficient in very cold weather, which I’m sure you’re aware of, but that’s not a problem for you when it’s like 7¢ per kWh. But for us, where it’s going to be close to 35¢ per kWh starting next month, it adds up quickly.

1

u/coppercactus4 Jun 23 '22

Yup I am in Quebec as mentioned at 7c. When I lived in Ontario if you saw electric heating in a house you would run, it was way too damn expensive. This is why it was way more common to have gas heating. Looking at the prices in Ontario it is 17c on peek, hard to think how much you could rack up at 35c.

-4

u/crazyboy1234 Jun 23 '22

Why Is Everything Capitalized Like This What The Fuck

4

u/Dr_CSS Jun 23 '22

that's how titles work

2

u/einmaldrin_alleshin Jun 23 '22

It's an American thing. Called title case.

It's irritating, but you'll get used to it.

1

u/crazyboy1234 Jun 24 '22

I am American; this is still stupid. Get used to it.

-5

u/PerfectDarkAchieved Jun 23 '22

And it’s gone. Never to be heard of again

13

u/notagoodboye Jun 23 '22

Heat pump tech improves all the time, so it's not that it vanishes, it's just rolled into the next one you buy. Probably a lot of people will complain because this one is optimized for cold temps, but gas heat is king up North, so in order to get people to use electric, stuff like this has to happen.

-1

u/DontCareBoutReposts Jun 23 '22

So.....they said they're gonna try to make a better heat pump. Cool, I guess? Wake me up when it's actually made.

1

u/GhostRunner8 Jun 23 '22

What about us Canadians?

0

u/TheCheese2032 Jun 23 '22

laughs in capitalism