US$10M prize for heat pump solutions

A US consortium is offering a prize pool of USD $10 million (AUD$15.2 million) for HVAC&R innovators around the world to come up with low-carbon heating system for tall commercial and multifamily buildings in New York State. Many of these are currently served by carbon-intensive steam heating, and with New York cracking down on emissions, building owners are urgently seeking alternatives.

The Empire Technology Prize was launched by New York Governor Kathy Hochul. It is sponsored by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Wells Fargo, and administered by The Clean Fight and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI).

The specific solutions being solicited are:

  1. Centralised electric heat pumps that are capable of generating steam (>104°C) or high-temperature hot water (>82°C) for space heating applications
  2. Distribution system solutions that make it easier to adopt existing centralised heat pumps that generate lower temperature hot water (<49°C), without the need to remove existing distribution systems.

There will be seven finalists, each of whom will receive a prize of US$250,000, as well as potential milestone payments of up to $750,000. There will also be a pool of $2 million to help finalists offset installation and demonstration costs. The grand prize is worth $1 million.

“Investing in new clean, resilient technologies is just one way that New York is advancing progress toward our ambitious Climate Act goals, and the Empire Technology Prize is the newest tool as we move forward,” Governor Hochul says.This program will help us develop solutions that lower harmful emissions from buildings, creating healthier spaces for all New Yorkers to live and work, as we come together to fight climate change.”

The Clean Fight encourages Australian HVAC&R innovators to submit their applications for the prize. The organisation has recorded a webinar explaining the project’s goals and the prize structure in detail, and is open to hosting another webinar at an Australia-friendly time should there be enough interest.

Interested professionals can also submit their application for the prize on The Clean Fight’s website. Registration closes on March 15 and applications close on March 22, 2024. However, The Clean Fight recommends beginning the application up to a month before the deadline, as the process is rigorous.

Image courtesy of KE ATLAS via Unsplash.

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