EcoThermics to ProduceCO2 Compressor

July 19, 2010
First compressor will be 3 to 9 tons, 10 to 30kW

EcoThermics Corporation, Peoria, IL, a manufacturer serving the natural refrigerant segment of the HVACR industry, announced plans to produce a carbon dioxide (CO2) compressor.

Ten investors have provided approximately $4 million in funds for research, development, and manufacturing.

At a press conference held on June 26, EcoThermics CEO Merle Rocke said he foresees a time in seven years when EcoThermics becomes a $500 million company, and is selling 500,000 compressors each year. EcoThermics and Purdue University researchers presented a technical paper discussing the high-pressure fluid dynamics and thermodynamic science behind the compressor during the Purdue Refrigeration Conference, July 12-15, 2010.

Sources say the compressor — which will be called the Mark III — has solved long-standing industry recognized roadblocks to the development of sustainable, high-efficiency heat pumps.

“People have tried to use CO2 as a refrigerant for many years. When you crank it up to 1600-1700 psi, which is four times the pressure of conventional air conditioning/heat pump system, and get it up to the transcritical stage, on the border between gas and liquid, its thermal energy transfer properties are unmatched,” Rocke says.

The Mark III compressor’s initial application will be in industrial water heaters. The first version will be available to original equipment manufacturers who would like to use it in products of 3 to 9 tons/ 10 to 30kW. “It’s encouraging to us that we leveraged so many resources to do this, and to have it cranked up as we keep testing,” says Rocke, who has a long background in manufacturing. Rocke said the Mark III has an isotropic efficiency greater than 60% and volumetric efficiency above 70%.

EcoThermics corporate office is housed at the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, R & D labs and an industrial field test site are in Van Wert Ohio, and in nearby Indiana – a key OEM partner, Purdue University’s Herrick test lab and a first commercial field test application.

Mennie Machine Company from Mark, Illinois, selected from a number of highly qualified candidates, was chosen primarily based upon their expertise in production design and engineering, high degree of automation and therefore reasonable production costs, quick response time, and their willingness to invest in the extraordinary market potential of this innovative CO2 heat pump technology. “We're excited to embark on collaborative development with the EcoThermics team. Our similar corporate cultures and mutual interests enable speed to market and speed to scale, both important factors in the commercialization of new technology,” explains Mennie Machine Company Vice President David Mennie.

“In our 40 year history, we’ve been involved with a number of successful ventures, and therefore recognize the value and huge potential of this company’s leadership team and its
technology. The Mennie family is extremely pleased to be a part of this dynamic endeavor."

EcoThermics was founded in 2007 by Merle Rocke, Chairman and CEO, and a core technical and business team. Rocke’s comes from a 35-year career with Caterpillar, which included co-founding CAT Logistics.

To view the June 26 press conference, visit :