Low-GWP, High-Efficiency Heat Pump and Air Conditioner
This project aims to scale-up production of a polymer heat exchanger platform for market facilitation in HVAC appliances. The advancement to initial low rate production will establish opportunities to launch low-GWP potential and high efficiency
Treau (dba Gradient) is developing models for final design verification to begin manufacturing. They are testing pre-launch systems for feedback on installation, user interface, and mobile phone app. Treau has tested different compressors and refrigerants, refined prototype test plans, and assembled three generations of prototypes and installed them in homes in the SF Bay Area. Treau characterized how the unit performs on a system and component level, and considered dimensions, weight, and noise. They have built out the supply chain and begun conversations with manufacturing partners. After passing verification tests, Treau will select a manufacturing partner and develop tooling for plastic and sheet metal parts. Treau will complete reliability testing and regulatory certifications necessary for sale to customers. Treau will begin manufacturing units at the manufacturing partner's facility and verify all specifications are met. Treau expects to begin product launch in 2022.
The purpose is to scale-up a manufacturing line of quieter, less expensive, and easy-to-install, retrofit window electric heat pumps. The unique design allows unfettered access to the window where the unit is placed. Customers are able to install the unit without expensive tools or professional installation. The proposed approach is to build successive prototypes, which will be tested for performance and usability to finalize a product ready for manufacturing scale-up. The project will result in quality assurance and quality control metrics, relationships with suppliers, and a system design that leads to initial low-rate production of air conditioners for the residential market. The benefits of the project, as related to California IOU electricity ratepayers, are lower heating and cooling costs, more comfortable homes, and reduced air pollution. Successful execution will accelerate the reduction of cost and emissions of building heating and cooling goals for existing buildings at significant scale, especially among users of window A/C. Additionally, this technology can provide a high-efficiency all-electric product for achieving California's residential Zero Net Energy Action Plan.
Drawn from user research studies, Treau systems have a strong customer appeal due to their low-cost, low-profile, low-noise, and ease of installation. This technology will increase home comfort with little to no maintenance.
Treau's system provides lower costs due to removing the high cost of professional installation.
By using lower-GWP refrigerants, Treau will significantly reduce AC emissions. And, by displacing fossil fuel heating with electric heat pump heating, Treau can reduce the amount of natural gas burned in homes.