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H₂O to CO₂? Seven benefits of using CO₂ in thermal networks

What if we can not only help reduce CO₂, but also make it work to our advantage? With our innovative compact thermal network, we are a B2B startup committed to upend the energy industry and provide sustainable, affordable, and efficient heating and cooling for people and the planet.

Why thermal networks?

Today, thermal networks are a hot topic. Amid the global climate change and energy crisis, such networks see an upswing as world’s cities are scrambling for renewable and reliable energy sources. Compared to standalone units using fossil-fuels, district heating and cooling systems are more sustainable and efficient as they optimize the energy flow between its users, saving up to 80% in primary energy.

Water-based networks: Traditional- and the anergy network

While thermal networks are advancing, the most common one today is the traditional one using hot water, generally with supply and return temperatures of up to 90°C and 60°C respectively.  Although it benefits from small pipes and therefore less construction requirements, it suffers from energy losses of up to 15%. The newer model, the anergy water network, is operating at a much lower temperature (8°C supply and 5°C return), while also keeping energy losses at a minimum. The downside: it requires significantly larger pipes because the need of a higher flow rate. This is due to the smaller possible temperature difference between the pipes (8/5°C in anergy networks, compared to 90/60°C in traditional ones) as temperature difference and flow are needed to transfer energy.

The thermal energy revolution: from H₂O to CO₂

At ExerGo, we are moving beyond these parameters by pioneering a new way to transfer energy — through a phase change using carbon dioxide. This allows us to reap the benefits of both the traditional and anergy networks: small pipes, less construction, and low temperatures. With our thermal networks powered by renewable resources and waste heat, we turn CO₂ into a positive use of resource that can contribute to the energy transition.


Seven surprising benefits of using CO₂ in thermal networks

  1. CO₂ can be turned into a low temperature working fluid mitigating energy losses.
  2. Energy is transferred through a phase change (liquid to vapor, and vice versa), instead of temperature differences as done in water-based networks. This makes our network up to nine times denser and significantly more efficient.
  3. This high energy density allows the use of smaller, flexible pipes, which can save up to 60% in installation time and cost as less construction is needed.
  4. Our CO₂ network is compatible with standard heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and can easily replace or complement existing networks needing a last-mile solution.
  5. The CO₂ used is a by-product from industrial processes. Currently we are also exploring partnerships with carbon capture, storage, and utilization (CCUS) companies to leverage such capabilities once these technologies become available for our industry.
  6. CO₂ as a refrigerant has been used for supermarkets, ice rinks and factories for decades and is a safe, proven method, which we are now applying to district heating and cooling.
  7. While CO₂ and water are the only natural refrigerants that are non-flammable and non-toxic, CO₂ is also a fire extinguisher agent that leaves no damages or residue such as foam, powder, or water. In the future, our technology may even double as an additional means of firefighting in cities.
Having successfully launched our pilot project in Sion, Switzerland with our deployment partners, we have demonstrated that sustainable and high-efficient energy networks for our cities are attainable.


Ready to decarbonize?

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