CORDIS - EU research results

Stirling heat pump for high temperature industrial use

Project description

Turning up the heat efficiently and sustainably

Industrial sectors around the world rely on heat for a myriad of uses including washing, drying, sterilising, process heating and so much more. Demand for heat accounts for most of the industrial energy demand as well as significant global energy consumption, and it contributes to increased emissions. In particular, the demand for high-temperature process heat is on the rise, and it is primarily fuelled by conventional boilers. The EU-funded Highlift project is developing an innovative high temperature heat pump to make industrial processes greener. The system will take in water warmed to low temperatures by waste heat recovery processes and heat it with electricity to produce steam. The technology promises to slash energy consumption and emissions and have a tremendous impact on this huge global sector.


Industry is the highest heat consuming sector, and its need for high temperature process heat is on the increase. However, 83% of industrial process heat is still supplied by inefficient and polluting fossil fuel boilers. The Highlift project will develop a next-generation high temperature heat pump (HTHP) based on an innovative 4-cylinder alpha configuration Stirling engine design. Highlift accepts low temperature (30´C) input water drawn from industrial waste heat recapture systems and use electrical energy to generate saturated steam at over 180´C. Such temperature lifts are not possible with any other HTHP today. The Highlift project optimises the industrial design via 1) increased system efficiency, 2) improved reliability, 3) 30% cut on production costs, 4) refined production quality control, and 5) improved Cloud-based operating system. We will pilot the near-market prototype at a single high-profile multinational industrial end user with high demands in terms of constant, intensive operation and high output temperature requirements. The project will simultaneously undertake a market maturation process including up- and downstream supply chain development, in-depth target market analyses, and validation of the business and commercialisation strategy. This will bring the HighLift technology to full commercial readiness at the end of the project. Over 25,000 hours of tests with industry since 2012 have shown that it is feasible to use Highlift to generate hot industrial process steam in an economic and environmentally sustainable way. Highlift reduces energy consumption to supply high temperature process heat by 50-70% and will cut industrial CO2 emissions when producing high temperature steam by 70-96%. Our planned commercial roll-out of 174 Highlift heat pumps by 2025 will save our customers a total of €134.2m and reduce up to 65,600 tons of CO2 (eq) emissions.


Net EU contribution
€ 879 045,00
5420 Rubbestadneset

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Norge Vestlandet Vestland
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 1 640 586,25

Participants (5)