Quiet heat pumps and a happy mom

21 June 2024

Heat pumps, everyone should have one. Due to their energy efficiency compared to traditional heating and cooling, they’re an essential part of the energy transition, especially for households. The only issue with these promising pumps: they’re noisy. Some heat pumps can reach up to 60 decibels, making your neighbors unhappy. 

Fortunately, there’s a solution on the horizon. At least, if Mohammad Kojourimanesh and his team have their way. The Iranian-Dutch entrepreneur is developing mufflers to be integrated into energy appliances. Their compact broadband mufflers reduce or eliminate the thermo-acoustic and flow noise that an appliance produces.  

There’s also less environmental noise, which is great for nature and people. Another huge benefit: the technology isn’t just applicable to heat pumps, but to almost all appliances or parts of machines. In the future, airplanes might be able to take off quietly, and boilers could become smaller because they don’t need to have the current bulky and inefficient silencers. 

All it takes is a stack of layers a few millimeters thick, that blocks the sound. Kojourimanesh is busy testing the technology further in the acoustic laboratory at the Technical University of Eindhoven. He’s been working on acoustics and noise reduction for fourteen years. It’s his passion because “it’s technically very difficult, it requires immense precision, and you can make a lot of impact with it; people are genuinely happy when there’s less noise.” 

The Faculty of Impact supports Kojourimanesh in bringing his research and technology to market, to really have the impact it can have. The two year program gave him the needed time and space to work on it. “Otherwise, I would have to spend so much time applying for funding and writing proposals that it would take much longer to bring it to market. While time is of the essence; the sooner we can make heat pumps and other appliances quiet, the better it is for the Earth.” 

Fortunately, the FOI program selection committee recognized that, and so do the manufacturers. Kojourimanesh already has agreements with major manufacturers to figure out how household appliances can be made without thermo-acoustic or environmental noise. He also has an agreement with a major boiler manufacturer. For every boiler that will be sold with his technology inside, Kojourimanesh will receive royalties. The coaches at the Faculty of Impact helped with the negotiation, as that’s also part of the program. “You get time and money to further develop your technology and help and guidance in setting up a company. That’s nice because I had a startup in Iran, but things work differently here in the Netherlands. And I want to be successful here too.”  

Additionally, Kojourimanesh has another, more personal goal: his mother would love to have a quiet vacuum cleaner. That’s also being worked on in Eindhoven. Because, of course, while it’s nice to facilitate the transition to more sustainable energy sources, making your mother happy is even more important. Fortunately for Kojourimanesh, he doesn’t have to choose between the two. He can accomplish both. 

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