- Breakthrough Approach will Bring a Low-Cost, Low-Energy Refrigerant-Free HVAC and Drinkable Water Solution to the World
- Montana’s AirJoule™ Technology Can Reduce Power Consumption by up to 75% and Can Reduce Carbon Emissions by a corresponding percentage
Montana Technologies LLC, the inventor of AirJoule™, and the Department of Energy today announced that they have successfully overcome the commercialization barriers that once hindered the widespread adoption of metal organic frameworks (MOFs) to harvest the atmosphere as an around-the-clock renewable thermal energy and drinkable water source.
The discovery science breakthrough had been researched by DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for more than 20 years. Montana Technologies licensed PNNL’s invention, engineered and built the system to make it all work, and will now commercialize and scale MOFs in its partnership with BASF in their AirJoule™ product, so it can be applied in commercial heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as well as in applications where drinkable water is needed via a low-cost, energy efficient method.
AirJoule™ is a novel clean technology to assist HVAC original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in providing efficient and sustainable air conditioning as well as pure water from the air. AirJoule™ technology offers the lowest energy consumption per liter of water removed from the air when compared with any competing technology that has been developed to date. The patented system works by using the atmosphere as an accessible renewable thermal energy and water resource, costing less than conventional dehumidification systems and using up to 75% less electricity.
“We have long recognized the potential of MOFs to extract molecules from the atmosphere, but the cost was always too high to make their use economically viable,” said Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Director of the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy. “The AirJoule™ platform solves this issue and will potentially have many uses to decarbonize and improve our world.”
Through a joint development agreement with BASF, Montana Technologies has demonstrated scale-up and production of MOFs in volumes at a commercially viable cost.
“It was an honor to work with the world-class team of researchers and scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on this important breakthrough,” said Matt Jore, CEO of Montana Technologies. “The commercial HVAC industry accounts for nearly 30% of all global warming emissions and 20% of power consumption worldwide. By incorporating the new AirJoule™ platform into future cooling products and in regions where drinkable water is in short supply, there is an unprecedented opportunity to make a materially positive impact on our world.”
Through a Strategic Partnership Project (SPP) Agreement, PNNL and Montana Technologies developed MOF recipes and coating processes to optimize the performance of early AirJoule™ prototypes. SPPs and cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) have long been a DOE tool for encouraging public-private collaborations and transferring technologies to the marketplace. In parallel with MOF and coating development, Montana Technologies developed and built the key components and system designs that are necessary to reach the low energetics and low cost of commercial products.
“I was a scientist at Pacific Northwest National Lab for 39 years before joining Montana Technologies in 2022,” said Pete McGrail, Montana Technologies CTO and former Laboratory Fellow at PNNL. “In my 39 years of scientific discovery and innovation, I’ve only had scientific achievements like AirJoule™ happen a few times. The first time all the AirJoule™ components were integrated together as originally conceived earlier this year and seeing water pour out of the unit was extraordinarily gratifying and will one day be remembered, I believe, as an historical moment in scientific achievement.”
Allan Tuan, Senior Commercialization Manager at PNNL, noted that “AirJoule™ is a wonderful example of a DOE National Lab, fulfilling its mission to conduct complex, fundamental, scientific research and to transfer resultant technologies to commercialization partners, like Montana Technologies, in order to advance the country’s economic, energy, and national security interests while maximizing public return and impact.”
“Leveraging the power and reach of the private sector to bring DOE clean energy technologies to market is a core objective of our department, and AirJoule™ represents a best-in-class manifestation of this goal,” said Dr. Vanessa Z. Chan, Chief Commercialization Officer, DOE, and Director of the Office of Technology Transitions. “We are excited to see the many important ways this powerful new approach is applied around the world.”
AirJoule™ key components and system designs are now being made available to HVAC OEMs for broad deployment in air conditioning applications and will also be distributed through organizations such as Water.org and the Water Keepers Alliance to provide humanitarian aid and emergency relief for those facing water shortages around the world.
“It’s always exciting when a new approach emerges that challenges conventional wisdom on how best to address the systemic issues that have plagued our planet for generations,” said Rima Kasia Oueid, Senior Commercialization Executive, DOE. “So, you can imagine our excitement when a new approach emerges with the potential to address three at the same time: power usage, greenhouse gas reduction, and water scarcity. It has been a pleasure to partner with Montana Technologies on this important initiative.”
Montana Technologies announced on June 5, 2023, that it will combine with Power & Digital Infrastructure Acquisition II Corp and list on the NASDAQ. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023, and broad commercial adoption of the technology will occur in late 2024.