A partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the natural gas industry, represented by GAX Venture, LLC, was given a boost with the announcement of a manufacturing contract between ITT Industries and Goettl Air Conditioning, Inc.

The contract provides for summer field testing of 10 residential natural gas air conditioners with support and funding from the DOE.

GAX, a consortium of five U.S. natural gas companies, was formed to further the development and commercialization of natural gas-fired air conditioning equipment. GAX members include Southern California Gas, Southwest Gas, Williams/Texas Gas, Southern Natural Gas Co., and Mississippi Energies, Inc.

ITT Industries, Buffalo, NY, will fabricate the ammonia-water absorption modules developed by Rocky Research, Boulder City, NV. Goettl Air Conditioning, Phoenix, AZ, will employ its packaging capabilities to deliver air conditioners and eventually heat pumps to residential and commercial markets.

The initial product will be a 5-ton air conditioner, which is expected to pave the commercialization path for a complete product line that will include 3-, 4-, and 5-ton heat pumps.

“I am very pleased to see our research investment into unitary and commercial gas cooling and heat pump technology turning into an asset for U.S. energy and manufacturing companies,” said Dan Reicher, assistant secretary of energy — Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.