Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL partners with GE on new electric water heater

GE’s new hybrid electric waterheaters, shown here during testing at ORNL, will be made in Louisville, Ky.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., June 4, 2009 — About 400 jobs will be created at a Louisville General Electric plant where a new electric water heater will be built.

The technology was developed through a collaboration between the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and GE. Oak Ridge's Patrick Hughes said the water heater will benefit consumers with its energy efficiency and cost savings.

"It will give you as much hot water and have the same recovery times so you won't run out of hot water, but it will use half the energy to do so," Hughes said. "A typical family of four based on national averages would save between $250 to $300 per year. The device will qualify for the personal tax credits. It will pay for itself in about three years."

Hughes hopes that as word spreads about the new efficiency doubling water heaters, demand will skyrocket.

"Annually, about four and a half to five million electric storage water heaters are shipped," Hughes said. "Given that now when this becomes commercially available, I would hope that there would be a growth in the share of those four to five million units that become hybrid electric water heaters that provide the same amenity, but use half the energy while doing it."

GE's hybrid electric water heaters may be available to consumers as early as October and production starts in Louisville in 2011.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.