Pump technology uses air to heat water instantly

Phoebus Energy develops Hydra - an intelligent heat pump that delivers energy to heat water in large complexes such as hospitals and hotels.

September 13, 2011 14:47
3 minute read.
Pump technology uses air to heat water instantly

Water coming from shower 311. (photo credit: stevendepolo)


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Alona Volinsky writes for No Camels

Phoebus Energy, an Israeli startup, has come up with an innovative technology to heat water, by using air. Hydra is an intelligent heat pump that delivers energy to heat water in large complexes such as hospitals and hotels that need enough energy to sustain hot water in all rooms, pools etc.

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Hydra technology absorbs the energy from the air turning it from thermal to kinetic energy. On its own, the traditional methods to heat water, such as gas and heating oil are costly and polluting. Phoebus Energy’s system works as a hybrid; connecting its network of  heat pumps with the traditional systems, creating a broad infrastructure to heat large quantities of water.

While using the heat in the air for energy is not new, Phoebus Energy’s innovation lies in their sensors that are installed in the pumps to measure everything from the heat and humidity in the air outside to the flow of water and price of fuel and electricity. The system then calculates which energy sources should be activated at any given time for the most cost-effective results.

The variables are measured every fifteen minutes and are then updated on the Internet. “The goal is to reduce both costs and carbon emissions,” said Yaron Ben Nun, Phoebus Energy‘s head of marketing.

Unlike other renewable energy sources that require a minimum of sun radiation hours per year, this system does not require straight-on sun radiation.  The sun heats the air all the time, even during the night and therefore the heat pumps can continue producing energy 24/7. A downside is that the air temperature needs to be at minimum five degrees Celsius – below that, the system loses its effectiveness.

That is why Phoebus Energy created a heat pump system that cooperates with the traditional one and does not replace it. “The heat pumps work most of the time instead of the traditional stoves cutting money and energy wastes, but the stoves can be activated when the heat pumps cannot provide the full production,” Ben Nun said.

There are 3 basic conditions in which the system will activate the traditional stoves instead of   the heat pumps, Ben Nun told NoCamels. “When the weather outside damages the efficiency of the plumps (below five degrees), when the demand is too high and the pumps alone cannot supply it and when the electricity prices are so high, that it is not economically wise to use the plumps system.”

He added: “Phoebus is based on the philosophy that measuring is everything, One of the main purposes of Phoebus cloud technology is to provide its customers with a full up to date report of the activity inside their facilities, enabling them to stay in control and to have tools for understanding their energy demands.”

The installation and the maintenance of the system is free. Phoebus Energy takes a percentage of the client’s cost reduction as a result of using Hydra. Clients then get access to the Phoebus’s website to retrieve all the personalized data information.

There are already 35 sites using the Phoebus system in Israel, including the Mandarin Hotel in Tel Aviv and Hotel Inbal in Jerusalem. There are also  several sites using Hydra in Greece. On average, says Phoebus Energy, these sites have saved 40 to 70 percent of costs to heat water.

Phoebus  is funded by Terra Venture Partners (a leading Israeli venture capital fund focused on Cleantech), Galilaea Group (Israel, Italy) andChesapeake Advisory Group (NY).

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