ExerGo receives 100 KCHF for its power distribution networks

Equipe ExerGo © 2020 ExerGo

Equipe ExerGo © 2020 ExerGo

ExerGo has recently obtained a Tech Seed loan of CHF 100’000 from the Foundation for Technological Innovation (FIT). This EPFL spin-off, which collaborates in particular with Services Industriels de Genève (SIG) and several academic institutions, is developing a novel concept of low-temperature energy network that uses CO2 as heat transfer fluid in a closed loop. Exergo’s solution saves 85% of final energy and more than 90% of CO2 emissions compared to traditional fossil fuel-based systems.

The distribution of energy services in dense urban areas that concentrate more and more human and commercial activities still strongly depends on fossil fuels. Meanwhile, urban heating and cooling networks are expanding, with more than 16’500 new networks foreseen in Europe by 2035. Today’s thermal networks use water as heat transfer fluid. ExerGo uses CO2 flowing in a closed loop network as an innovative way to transfer renewable heat from the environment or waste heat. The solution can therefore directly satisfy cooling using heat exchangers on one hand and heating through decentralised heat pumps on the other hand. Thanks to its high energy density, CO2 makes it possible to improve by 5 to 10 times the energy transport potential in comparison to the current networks using water. By decreasing the fluid flow rate between suppliers and users, ExerGo also reduces the network footprint, and by using compact and flexible tubes allows to reduce costs and to facilitate the installation as well as to reduce the disturbances.

Incorporated in 2018 by Alberto Mian, Daniel Favrat and Luc Girardin, the start-up holds several patents. It is listed as an innovative solution of the Solar Impulse Foundation, is supported by the TheArk Foundation and is part of AutoDesk's technological impact program. The start-up already covers parts of its costs through mandates and engineering studies in Switzerland and France. It is planning to sell its licenses to the rest of Europe and beyond, thanks in particular to discussions already initiated with market leaders and industrial partners. From its early seed financing, ExerGo is seeking to raise funds to ensure new technical developments and realize its first installations in 2021.

“The FIT loan will co-finance the tests being planned to ensure an efficient, reliable and risk-free implementation for our first customers”, explains Alberto Mian, CEO and co-founder of ExerGo. Ultimately, the company's vision is to combine its solution with cogeneration and carbon capture technologies. "The system will become an integrated solution for heating, cooling, CO2 transportation to store electricity in the form of green fuels and even contribute as a fire suppression agent", outlines Professor François Maréchal, member of ExerGo’s Advisory Board. The start-up hence offers real estate developers and utilities companies a concrete solution to accelerate the energy transition through an integrated, efficient, cost-effective and green technology. "For a sustainable city without chimneys or cooling towers", as Daniel Favrat, co-founder of ExerGo, likes to sum it up.

Authors: Julie Boquel (FIT), Aurelie Schick
Source: Innovation