Hight-Temperature Heat Pump CoBra

Technologies for low-carbon industrial processes – Process heat using renewable sources

Reducing carbon dioxide emissions is an extremely complex task, especially in industrial processes. This is because most plants and processes require either high or low temperatures. At present, fossil fuels are primarily used to generate these temperatures. In the future, renewable energy sources will have to be used for this purpose. The DLR Institute of Low-Carbon Industrial Processes is working on the necessary technologies and solutions.

The Institute is currently developing the prototype of a special high-temperature heat pump. The pilot plant ‘CoBra’ can provide heating and cooling for industrial processes on a demonstration scale. The name CoBra is derived from Cottbus, the location of the plant, and the thermodynamic Brayton process, which plays a central role in its operation. Dried air is used as the heat transfer medium. This makes it possible to achieve unprecedented values of 300 degrees Celsius for the temperature difference and the heat sink temperature with a heat output of about 250 kilowatt hours.

With the CoBra pilot plant, DLR researchers are investigating the following questions:

  • Which gaseous media are suitable for use in this high-temperature heat pump?
  • Regarding process heat and cooling, which temperatures can be provided permanently?
  • Which volume/mass flows of heat or cooling energy are necessary for the targeted energy quantities?
  • What contribution can the use of renewable electrical energy (from wind, biomass, photovoltaics) make, by using high-temperature heat pumps?
  • How can the prototype of the high-temperature heat pump be upgraded from the laboratory scale so that a transfer to as many industries as possible can succeed?
  • What possibilities does a high-temperature heat pump offer to respond to the fluctuating energy supply from renewable energies in combination with storage technologies?


German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Low-Carbon Industrial Processes
Eberhard Nicke | Email eberhard.nicke@dlr.de