JUNEAU…A Leader In Innovation.
Juneau is an innovative and forward thinking community with a history of leading the world in many innovations from early hard rock mining, to electrification of vessels. Juneau already heats the Juneau NOAA Ted Stevens Marine Research Center with low temperature seawater heat pumps saving NOAA hundreds of thousands of energy dollars every year. Now Juneau will expand this technology with a new generation of high temperature seawater heat pumps to heat all of downtown Juneau. Modeled after the highly successful implementation of this technology in Drammen, Norway, this will be the first instance of this technology in the US.
The reality is that there are commercially available low heat pump systems that can deliver temperatures to 130° F degrees, to service new construction. However, before Emerson’s patented solution, there was no economical carbon neutral way to deliver high heat inputs to service the majority of older and often still new buildings that require high heat inputs. Supplying high heat above 180°F removes the need for buildings to undergo extensive and cost prohibitive hydronic system retrofits. The Emerson Seawater Heat Pump is the only heat pump in the world capable of heating a freshwater heating distribution loop to temperatures above 180°F that can easily and inexpensively couple into existing high heat building hydronic systems, which are prevalent in the U.S.
The State of Alaska has expressed interest in creating similar District Heating plants in other regions of Alaska using the Juneau District Heating system as a model. Coastal shore side communities will find the easiest fit with this technology due to their proximity to seawater, but any water heat source could be converted (i.e coal plant effluent). The combination of a 100% renewable energy input like the Sweetheart Lake Hydropower facility is a major and material factor. Current coastal District Heating systems, that burn fossil fuels in the US, could convert, either partially or fully, to seawater based heat pump technology by economically displacing higher cost fossil fuels.