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About Energy Concepts

Donald C. Erickson is the president and founder of Energy Concepts Company, LLC (ECC). Mr. Erickson founded ECC in 1974 with the objective of having a measurable beneficial impact on global energy consumption.

The primary focus of ECC is thermally activated absorption cycles. They were recognized to have a large overlooked potential for reducing global energy consumption. ECC's initial focus in the mid-seventies was on high temperature chemically reactive absorption cycles, using molten salts or molten metals. In the late seventies, the focus shifted to physical absorption cycles at more modest temperatures. Substantial work was done on absorption heat pumps, for temperatures up to 260°C. One licensed unit was installed in Japan.

In the early 1980's, we developed our first ammonia-water absorption refrigeration technology – the ISAAC solar icemaker for off-grid sunbelt locations. In the mid-eighties through mid-nineties, we had a heavy concentration on advanced GAX absorption cycles using the ammonia-water pair. This effort targeted higher efficiency gas-fired heat pumping at light commercial scale (5-tons). Numerous prototypes of the branched GAX cycle and the VX-GAX cycle were built and operated. Some of those still hold the world record for ammonia-water absorption cycle COP.

During that same time, we looked into solid sorption cycles, and concluded that their strengths lie in the very small capacity markets, where there simplicity outweighs their inherent low efficiency.

Starting in the mid-1990's, we began targeting the industrial market for ammonia water absorption refrigeration. The first installation was a twelve ton per day flake icemaker powered by engine jacket waste heat, in Kotzebue Alaska. Next was a 700 kW light ends recovery unit at a Denver refinery, providing -30°C refrigeration from our 150°C waste heat. In the opening decade of the twenty first century, our primary focus has been on commercializing Thermosorber – a thermally activated heat pump/chiller. At the same time, we have pursued demonstration opportunities for the related products Thermochiller, Thermocharger, Thermal Amplifier, Helichiller, and Helisorber.

From the cycle perspective, the remaining development effort we are still targeting is the absorption power cycle, which competes very favorably with the organic Rankine cycle in economically converting low grade heat to power.

Superimposed upon the above cycle development work has been a great deal of component development work. The major focus has been on the absorber, the non-adiabatic rectifier, and the desorber; economic fabrication techniques; and controls.

The Energy Concepts advancements in absorption cycles, components, and new applications have been awarded 76 U.S. Patents and a variety of other recognitions.

Our Facilities

Energy Concepts is located in Annapolis, Maryland, and has 3,200 square feet of office space and 6,000 square feet of shop and laboratory space.

Our metal fabrication shop is fully equipped with advanced welding, milling, shearing, punching, drilling, and bending capabilities.

Our laboratory is equipped with instrumentation, utilities and data acquisition for testing, flow visualization, and analyzing advanced prototypes.

Our installations include locations in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Alaska, California, Colorado and many more around the world.

Our Products

  • ThermoSorber™ – co-produces hot water and chilling with half the energy required for normal hot water production
  • ThermoChiller – produces chilling from any heat source: exhaust, geothermal, excess steam
  • ThermoCharger – uses turbine exhaust to cool inlet air for year round peak turbine performance
  • Industrial Refrigeration – custom plants using any waste heat stream to make chilling down to -50°F   

Our design and development activities include:

  • Product Conceptualization
  • Thermodynamic Analysis
  • Prior Art Search
  • Laboratory Testing
  • Economic Analysis
  • Detailed Design
  • Prototype Fabrication
  • Test And Analysis
  • Installation And Start-Up

For more information about Energy Concepts Company's products and services, contact us by e-mail or at (410) 266-6521.