Revolutionary technology that heats your home for half the price using moisture

An Israeli startup called ThermoTerra has developed a home heating system that harnesses moisture in the air. The system can also be used in reverse to cool buildings in summer.

“Water vapor in the air that is absorbed into an absorbent material transfers significant amounts of energy,” said the company’s CEO and founder, Dror Zchori.

We know that water evaporation causes a cooling effect. When the human body overheats it produces sweat, which then evaporates and cools us down. When water vapour is absorbed or condensed in a material – which can be silica gel, wood fibre insulation or hemp concrete – the process is reversed and heat is generated, according to ThermoTerra.

How the technology developed by ThermoTerra works

The technology is based on three main elements. The startup integrates a structure of pipes and ducts into new walls. In existing buildings, a new façade is added to the walls incorporating these elements.

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An intelligent, algorithmically controlled fan is also integrated in the wall. It circulates cold or warm air according to the needs of the system. The fan is the only component in the system that uses electricity.

The third important component is the special material that absorbs large amounts of water. It makes the system drier in winter and wetter in summer. Heating or cooling is provided in buildings by air that is forced through the material by the fan. According to the head of ThermoTerra, the new technology can halve the cost of heating a building. In some cases the savings can be even greater.

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Zchori founded ThermoTerra with attorney Jeremy Rutman and data analytics expert Yonatan Nathan. The firm has serious investors and backers, including Israel’s Ministry of Energy, the Israel Innovation Authority, air conditioner manufacturer Tadiran and accelerator Quantum Hub.

Humidity in the air is also exploited by another stratup. Belgium’s Solhyd converts moisture into hydrogen with solar panels.

Such technologies are needed. About 40% of the energy consumed by buildings worldwide is used for heating or cooling.

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