RIFT’s Green Heating Solution Passes First Test, Secures Funding for Further Development

RIFT’s Green Heating Solution Passes First Test, Secures Funding for Further Development

(IN BRIEF) RIFT, a spin-off from TU/e’s student team SOLID, has achieved a major milestone by successfully testing its Iron Fuel Technology. The test involved heating 500 homes in Helmond without any CO2 emissions. RIFT’s innovative technology burns iron powder to generate heat, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions. With the support of investors, including Bill Gates through his climate fund, RIFT has secured €11 million in funding for further development. This success brings RIFT closer to commercializing its carbon-neutral heating solution and contributes to a more sustainable future.

(PRESS RELEASE) EINDHOVEN, 11-May-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) is a research university specializing in engineering science & technology, announces that the spin-off company from TU/e’s student team SOLID, RIFT, has achieved a major milestone with the successful completion of its first major test. Utilizing the innovative Iron Fuel Technology, RIFT effectively heated 500 homes in Helmond, releasing no CO2 emissions during the process.

The groundbreaking technology developed by RIFT operates by burning iron powder in a heat boiler, generating heat to warm water for the heat grid. Unlike traditional heating methods, this process produces no greenhouse gas emissions, with the only byproduct being rust, which can be converted back into iron powder. Connected to the heat grid of energy supplier Ennatuurlijk, the homes in Helmond were seamlessly integrated into RIFT’s CO2-neutral heating system.

CEO Mark Verhagen expressed his delight with this significant achievement, emphasizing the successful 40-hour test period. During this time, the RIFT technology reduced CO2 emissions by 5 tons and nitrogen emissions by 66% compared to conventional heating methods.

“Our goal is to reduce CO2 emissions by 1 gigaton per year from 2050,” explained Verhagen. “That corresponds to seven times the amount the Netherlands now emits on an annual basis. With this success, we are taking a step in the right direction,” says the CEO who believes that ultimately it is the energy-intensive industries in particular that can benefit from this technology. “These are now responsible for at least 40 percent of COemissions in the Netherlands.”

The concept of using iron as a fuel source has been around for some time; however, due to the prevailing reliance on fossil fuels, further development of this technology was not prioritized. The breakthrough came in 2015 when Professor Philip de Goey initiated a research program at TU/e, which eventually led to the formation of student team SOLID and the subsequent establishment of RIFT.

With the completion of this successful test, RIFT is one step closer to bringing its technology to the market. While additional tests and development phases lie ahead, the company has secured €11 million in funding for the next phase. Notably, RIFT has garnered support from prominent investors, including Bill Gates, who backs the venture through his climate fund, Breakthrough Energy Fellows. This funding infusion will aid RIFT in advancing its technology and progressing towards commercialization.

As RIFT continues its journey, the prospect of widespread adoption of its CO2-neutral heating solution brings hope for a greener and more sustainable future.

Media contact

Frans Raaijmakers (Science Information Officer)
+31 40-247 4101

SOURCE: Eindhoven University of Technology


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