High Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials, and Manufacturing Processes
The projects that comprise ARPA-E’s HITEMMP (High Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials and Manufacturing Processes) program will develop new approaches and technologies for the design and manufacture of high temperature, high pressure, efficient, and highly compact heat exchangers. Heat exchangers are critical to efficient thermal energy exchange in numerous industrial applications and everyday life, with valuable applications in electricity generation, transportation, petrochemical plants, waste heat recovery, and much more. HITEMMP projects target heat exchangers capable of operating for tens of thousands of hours in temperatures and pressures exceeding 800°C and 80 bar (1,160 psi) respectively. This new class of hardware, designed and manufactured using novel techniques, topologies, and materials, would enable far greater exchanger efficiency, thus boosting the performance of many important industrial processes.
Most heat exchangers today are limited in performance and efficiency by two important factors. The structure of these devices limits maximum heat transfer rates, or how quickly thermal energy moves from the “hot side” to the “cold side” of the exchanger. Secondly, integration of the heat exchanger into its surrounding system often introduces performance limitations that prevent the device from achieving maximum efficiency.
To overcome these challenges, HITEMMP project teams must develop new exchanger topologies, or physical designs, that optimize device structure with suitable advanced materials and the fluids flowing through them for the desired range of operating conditions. Equally important is the further refinement of existing, or the development of new, manufacturing technologies that enable attractive performance at an acceptable cost. If successful, durable and affordable higher-temperature heat exchangers could lead to substantially higher power conversion efficiencies that in turn could reduce fuel consumption, system footprint (and thus capital and operation costs), and CO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions.
If successful, HITEMMP projects will enable a revolutionary new class of heat exchangers with applications for commercial and industrial energy producers and consumers across the economy.