Harvest Thermal has developed a smart heat pump for heating household water and air. It's like a battery for heat.

If, like me until six months ago, you've never heard of a heat pump, check out heat pumps on Renew and also this wonderfully named post 'what the heck are heat pumps?'

By using a single device and powering it with solar energy during the day, Harvest Thermal aims to reduce costs by 40%, energy by 80%, and emissions by 90%.

Hot water and home air conditioning/heating systems are one of the big areas for efficiency and emissions reduction as outlined in Drawdown and Saul's post.

What Harvest Thermal does is add smart operation to your whole heating and cooling system to control the heat pump, water storage, heat distribution, and hot water. It can store heat in water and air handler produced in cheap energy periods and use it when it's more expensive.

CEO Jane Melia explains the product and impact here: 

Customer Focus

Harvest Thermal is attractive to new house builders or renovators, or those whose hot water heater has broken down. Over time this should see every house in the world replace their old, slow, high emission tech with products like Harvest. Of course, there are those trying very hard to do this quicker and who will choose to make the switch before their systems need an upgrade.

Here is a testimonial from a customer from their website.

Challenges

Timing and upfront cost will make adoption a bit harder for Harvest. Most people won't want to spend the money until they have to.

Probably the biggest challenge is how hot water systems get replaced. You're having a shower, it goes cold, you scream, you call a repair person, they say, "It needs replacing", you say' "D'oh", they say, "I can get you the XYZ for $777", you say, "Yes, please." How does Harvest insert themselves in the process? The team is currently working with companies that do the repair and installation with their pilot customers so they are well aware of the importance of that group of stakeholders. This highlights the reality for many climate tech companies, that they don't exist in isolation, but as part of a whole ecosystem.

Timing is also a big challenge for Australian customers given the early stage and US focus. The team at Harvest Thermal are looking to Australia as a key early market due to our take up of renewable energy in the home and the subsequent market opportunity. In the meantime, Renew magazine has lots of good information about current options for heating and heat pump hot water systems.

Highlights

This product's beauty lies in its simplicity. Make the heat when it's most efficient. Use the heat when you need it.

Advantages over gas
  • Efficiency, cost and carbon footprint.
  • Can also improve indoor air quality and home safety by avoiding gas combustion in the home.
Advantages over normal heat pumps
  • Aims to use smart management to use the cheapest, cleanest electricity available.
  • Total optimisation of energy and heat from heat pump right through to heat delivery.
  • The end result is hopefully lower bills and smaller home carbon footprint.

A personal highlight is that 5 heat pumps will be installed in San Mateo, California where we used to live.

Report Card

  • Impact - heating and cooling is one of the biggest opportunities for change, and households are one of the hardest. Big challenge, big impact.
  • Team - Jane has impressed me with both her focus and tenacity. From the site she has a healthy mix of hardware, software, and operations experience.
  • Product - it's early in the product life, but a prototype is working well and ready to roll out to the trial group.
  • Market - huge market, and even if it only grows through replacements, it is a big business.
  • Traction - strong demand for the trials puts Harvest in a good position for growth. ¬†

From The Founders‚Äć

Company: Harvest Thermal
Summary
: Ultra low carbon heating and hot water for homes
Themes:
Cooling / Heating, Energy, Powering, Grid,Consumer, Reduce emissions, Improve the environment
Founders
: Jane Melia, Dan Johnson
Product stage:
Prototype
Capital raising:
$1.8M grants, $750k Seed round

‚ÄćCompany Mission:
We want to transform the way we deliver heating and hot water to our homes. This is an industry that hasn't changed in decades, and drives the majority of carbon emissions from our buildings. Harvest systems reduce those emissions by 90% while reducing bills, opening the door to a >1Gt per year emissions impact.

Why the team wants to solve this problem:
We care about fighting climate change and doing this in a way that is equitable and affordable for the broadest adoption.

What are other climate tech companies you admire:
Blocpower; energy efficiency and retrofits

Disclosure Note

The author is an investor in this company via Energy Lab.

Photo by Nicole Geri on Unsplash

Photo by Carson Masterson on Unsplash

Posted 
Jul 20, 2021
 in 
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