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Emerging natural gas water heating technology comes to the U.S.

New heat pump technology could double the efficiency of standard gas water heaters

Portland, Oregon – October 24, 2017 – Rheem Manufacturing Company (Rheem), the largest manufacturer of water heating products in North America, today announced an international collaboration with energy innovation company SaltX and the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), an alliance of more than 140 Northwest utilities and energy efficiency organizations.

The goal of this collaboration is to accelerate the development and conduct a market evaluation of a residential gas water heater that offers a reduction in gas usage, potentially saving consumers up to 50% on their gas water heating bill.

Rheem and SaltX will work together to design, test and commercialize a product that operates twice as efficiently as a standard gas water heater. NEEA’s market transformation experience will support the manufacturers’ efforts by helping strategize how to best create market demand for this new product.

A new approach to water heating
Heat pumps are an efficient way to move heat from the air into water in a tank. Appliances using heat pumps typically use half the energy of their standard counterparts. SaltX’s HeatBoost technology uses salt as the transfer medium in a heat pump that is powered by natural gas. This alternative approach acts as a battery, storing thermal energy. It can be charged and recharged at high levels of operational efficiency, while reliably delivering hot water to consumers.

“This project is an important step in the commercialization of SaltX gas heat pump technology,” stated Karl Bohman, CEO of SaltX Technology. “The strong commitment from NEEA and Rheem demonstrates the potential viability of this concept - we look forward to building a long-term partnership.”

The first step in this process will be to evaluate the current U.S. residential water heating market to determine the product characteristics, design parameters, and sales potential for these high-efficiency appliances. The team will also look at what barriers there might be to consumers buying these water heaters, and what strategies should be developed to help address them.

Creating more efficient natural gas options for consumers
Natural gas heat pump water heaters are part of a portfolio of products that the Northwest is investigating as part of a five-year plan to increase consumer choices for efficient natural gas use. This is the first regional effort to drive natural gas market transformation in the country.  Participants include Avista Utilities, Cascade Natural Gas Corporation, Energy Trust of Oregon, NW Natural and Puget Sound Energy. 

“Natural gas heat pump water heaters have enormous potential for energy savings here in the Northwest,” said Holly Braun, energy policy and sustainability manager at NW Natural. “Partnerships like this can speed up development and testing of promising technologies that could benefit utility customers, and that’s exciting for all of us.”

As part of this collaborative effort, NEEA is currently working with utilities and manufacturers to identify and develop new, efficient natural gas technologies.

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About SaltX Technology

SaltX Technology develops and sells patented energy storage technology, which is marketed under the brand SaltX ™. Customers consist mainly of major global OEM partners such as Alfa Laval, Mobile Climate Control and Rheem. SaltX Technology's stock is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm First North. FNCA Sweden AB is SaltX Technology’s Certified Adviser. To learn more, visit www.saltxtechnology.com.

About Rheem

Founded in 1925, Rheem is the only manufacturer in the world that produces heating, cooling, water heating, pool/spa heating and commercial refrigeration products. Rheem is headquartered in Atlanta, and it has an international presence in 14 countries. The company’s water heating, air conditioning and refrigeration brands include Rheem, Raypak, Ruud, Eemax, Richmond and Splendid, Russell, Witt, ColdZone, Kramer, Aquamax and Solahart.   To learn more, visit www.Rheem.com and www.Ruud.com.

About the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance

The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) is an alliance of more than 140 utilities and energy efficiency organizations working on behalf of more than 13 million energy consumers. NEEA is dedicated to accelerating both electric and gas energy efficiency, leveraging its regional partnerships to advance the adoption of energy-efficient products, services and practices.

Since 1997, NEEA and its partners have saved enough energy to power more than 900,000 homes each year. As the second-largest resource in the Northwest, energy efficiency can offset most of our new demand for energy, saving money and keeping the Northwest a healthy and vibrant place to live. To learn more, visit www.neea.org.