That you can do more things with sound than just listen to music is no secret, basing a heat pump on it is new to many.
That it’s possible to generate temperature changes with sound (and vice versa) has long been known. The number of more or less practical applications remained limited. The current and probably more permanent energy crisis (as far as fossil fuels are concerned) calls for a review of numerous “energy-consuming” devices and their operating principles. One well-known energy consumer – which also makes noise – is the heat pump. French startup Equium is working on an acoustic heat pump. This uses a speaker that generates sound waves in helium. These waves compress or expand the gas, allowing heat and cold to be generated.
The big advantage of these acoustic heat pumps is that – despite the name – they operate almost silently: the sound waves are only used internally. Another big advantage is that there are actually no moving (and thus wearing) parts in the system. Which means that the pumps are expected to “run” maintenance-free for about 30 years. For the end user, it further means 20% lower energy consumption while CO2 emissions are reduced by 50%, based on comparison with a traditional heat pump.