Heat pump Qeess important part of energy transition
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Heat pump Qeess important part of energy transition

Jeroen Kool permanently radiates love for technology and for the heat pump. Nothing played, zero theatrics. Conscientiously, he explains what his company Qeess (Quality Energy Engineering Solutions & Services) - pronounced Kees - stands for.

Kool is the prototype of the technician who needs no commercial skill: you can take his word for it. He doesn't beat around the bush, because if we think he's doing something special by using a less environmentally damaging gas (isobutane or propane) as a refrigerant, we soon hear, "I'm not unique in that, mind you, but I am the first manufacturer in the Northern Netherlands.

Putting discarded heat to good use

Qeess is a specialist in the field of heat recovery, or heat generation. Qeess heat pumps extract heat from both industrial processes and utility buildings (schools, offices) from waste water streams, ventilation air or chimney fumes, for example. They then put that heat to good use, for example for heating but also as energy in production. Qeess extracts, as it were, 10 degrees of heat from sewage water (which then cools from say 16 to 6 degrees) and uses that energy to bring tap water from 10 to 60 degrees.

Jeroen Kool has been doing that work for several months, based in Groningen. His heat pumps are not standard devices; they are built specifically for the situation. Kool: "We are talking about what you call low-grade energy. With the energy of those 10 degrees you normally can't do anything, so you throw it away. Thanks to a heat pump, you can do something with it. The energy transition is very broad and this is a small but very important part.'

Heat pump Qeess important part of energy transition

Period with Flinc instructive

Looking for funders and funding, he ended up at Flinc. "That was a tough period, but also very instructive," he says in retrospect. Kool received a grant through SNN as a contribution to the development of a heat pump. And an investor was attracted who offered added value in addition to capital. Kool: "It became a skill to configure, calculate and possibly build heat pumps.

Kool is currently building out that heat pump manufacturing process. But in doing so, he is looking keenly at sustainability, both in technology and in refrigerants (the gas that extracts temperature from sewage or ventilation air via a heat exchanger). "There are synthetic refrigerants, which are good for the heat pump but bad for the environment if they unexpectedly fly into the air. Kool therefore prefers to use the hydrocarbons (propane, isobutane).

Market lies fallow and is large

Jeroen Kool was well on his way with Qeess and then came "corona. 'There was financial coverage, but the plan suddenly didn't add up,' Kool says. 'To ease the financial pain, I then started teaching. But I did use that time to build and test a prototype.''

The market is still fallow and the market is big. 'I'm still small now,' Jeroen Kool observes, 'but I want to grow. At the same time, I have to make sure I don't over-eat. I already have applications to which I have not yet been able to respond. I find that very annoying and so I work on weekends.'

Heat pump Qeess important part of energy transition

'We speak the same language as techies'

Jeroen Kool realizes he is more techie than salesman. But that's not a disadvantage, is his conviction. 'Whoever buys a Qeess pump is often also a techie,' he knows. 'It's a complex technology and then you talk about content. What a heat pump is most people know, but I have additional information. As techies among ourselves, we speak the same language and therefore understand each other quickly.' And his down-to-earth sales pitch is typical: 'For example, we use isobutane as a refrigerant. In this I am really not the only one, but one of the few. And I build in the northern Netherlands.'

Bjorn Redmeijer, project manager Flinc: The first applications are now coming in

'Globally, we face the enormous task of switching from fossil fuels to fully sustainable sources. The energy transition consists of many facets, and customizing innovative heat pumps is one of them. Jeroen Kool is an engineer with a background in the energy sector and a network. From Flinc, we supported Jeroen intensively in drafting the business plan. Subsequently, an investor was found. With the help of this investment, Jeroen managed to realize a working prototype. Now it is a matter of demonstrating the product to potential customers, actually selling it and scaling it up organizationally. The first applications are already coming in, which is encouraging. Hopefully in the longer term QEESS can make a significant contribution to the energy transition from Groningen; the energy province.

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