Ireland-based Johnson Controls International (JCI) has received a US$33-million (€30.3-million) grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Manufacturing and Energy Supply Chains to support increasing U.S. production of electric heat pumps for residential, commercial and industrial applications.
The grant is part of the Defense Production Act, authorized by the Biden administration, to increase domestic production of clean energy technologies, of which heat pumps are listed with the ability to transfer three to eight times more working energy than they consume.
JCI’s portfolio of natural refrigerant products includes ammonia (R717)-based heat pumps, chillers and compressors for commercial and industrial use from various sub-brands, including Frick, Hybrid Energy and Sabroe.
With the grant, the company plans to increase the production of its York product line by expanding manufacturing plants in San Antonio, Texas; Wichita, Kansas; and Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, JCI said in a press release. “Combined, these facilities will be able to produce approximately 200,000 electric heat pumps per year, representing a nearly 200% production increase.”
JCI estimates the initiative will save 1.63 million metric tons of CO2e emissions annually from residential heating and 25 million metric tons from the commercial and industrial sectors.
“We are thrilled to participate in this program and help drive the enormous impact on energy security, reliability and affordability while achieving unprecedented progress in slashing carbon,” said Katie McGinty, Vice President and Chief Sustainability and External Relations Officer at JCI. “Some of our heat pumps will help homeowners cut their energy bills; others can play a major role in commercial industries.”
“The investment also highlights the versatility of heat pump applications, which, in North America, have historically been concentrated in the residential sector,” JCI noted.
According to the November 2022 “Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction,” buildings account for nearly 40% of global energy emissions. “Heat pumps present an enormous global opportunity for energy and cost savings and decarbonization,” said George Oliver, JCI CEO, in an Ammonia21.com article.
“It is critical that our commercial, institutional and industrial sectors have the technologies necessary for effective decarbonization,” McGinty said. “We already are working with large-scale institutions on heat pump deployments that will cut emissions by more than 70% and costs by more than 60%,” she remarked.
According to the California Energy Commission, JCI is one of ten companies committed to supporting the state’s goal of six million heat pumps installed by 2030.
Within the three communities where heat pump manufacturing is expanding, JCI reports “partnering with local unions, economic development groups, and community colleges,” seeking to expand internships, apprenticeships and job opportunities.
“We are excited to create 1,000 new family-sustaining jobs – a great boost for the communities we call home,” McGinty said in reference to the DOE grant.
Through its Community College Partnership Program, the company supports preparing “historically underrepresented groups” to embark on career paths in sustainable building practices, including electric heat pump production, installation and maintenance. Its program invests US$15 million (€13.8 million) in 30 different U.S. colleges “to
The 140-year-old company was named on the 2023 Fortune Change the World list for its “innovative and transformative” heat pump technology.
In addition, JCI, as a global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, was awarded the 2023 Microsoft Global Independent Software Vendor Partner of the Year for its OpenBlue connected building control solutions operating on Microsoft Azure.
“Some of our heat pumps will help homeowners cut their energy bills; others can play a major role in commercial industries.”Katie McGinty, Vice President and Chief Sustainability and External Relations Officer at JCI