Energy Manager

Natural gas fuels HVAC system past international standards

November 14, 2018 – ThermoLift reports it has successfully tested a new refrigerant-free heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, fuelled only by natural gas, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).

November 14, 2018
By Peter Saunders
Peter Saunders

Completed under the auspices of a U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) grant, the ORNL testing demonstrated the system’s ability to provide heating, cooling and hot water simultaneously from a single device, as well as operating at cryogenic temperatures.

The system’s cycle co-efficient of performance (COP) reportedly exceeded all DOE-designated temperature targets for cold-climate heat pumps, based on the international ANSI/AHRI/ASHRAE ISO Testing and Performance Standard. It continued to perform at the most difficult test point, an operating temperature of -25 C (-13 F), with a COP of 1.31.

“The system can maintain performance and energy efficiency across temperature ranges where other systems require a secondary backup device,” says Peter Hofbauer, president and co-founder of ThermoLift.

The system also operated at cryogenic temperatures, reaching -100 C (-150 F), with its heat pump continuing to extract energy at very low ambient temperatures.


HVAC reportedly represents approximately 70% of energy consumed in cold climates and, on average, 45% of energy consumed in residential and commercial buildings. ThermoLift claims its new system has the potential to reduce this rate by 30% to 50% and reduce acquisition costs, as energy managers will only need one system where they previously installed three.