Researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and heating specialist Saunier Duval, a unit of Germany-based Vaillant Group, have developed a new residential heat pump based on natural refrigerants.
The device uses propane as a refrigerant, which allows for high energy efficiency, while keeping carbon dioxide emissions to almost zero.
“Our heat pump can heat homes completely environmentally friendly, without emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In addition, its high-efficiency energy allows it to be classified as renewable energy, by pumping energy from the environment”, said researcher José Gonzalvez.
According to the scientists, the heat pump is able to generate domestic water at up to 75 C, a value which they describe as impossible to achieve for conventional heat pumps.
“In addition, it can be installed not only in new buildings but also to replace gas boilers in existing buildings. It also allows applying the anti-legionella treatment without the need for external support,” Gonzalvez explained.
The heat pump purportedly has a high efficiency of A+++ and can produce 6.49 kWh of heat for each kilowatt-hour of power it consumes. It is also capable of producing 4.43 kWh of domestic hot water for each kilowatt-hour of consumed power.
“In the technological developments that have been carried out to date, it has been possible to achieve energy efficiencies similar to those achieved with our refrigerants, with a high atmospheric heating power,” said Gonzalvez. “To do this, we performed an analysis on the best configuration of the vapor compression cycle adapted to the refrigerant used – propane – thus minimizing the amount used and optimizing the control parameters of the equipment.”
The researchers did not provide any additional technical details about the device.
According to Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, the Polytechnic University of Valencia is currently developing a tool for predictive simulations with its IMST-Art software for the simulation and design of refrigeration equipment. The German institute is also developing refrigeration circuits for heat pumps, which will be able to operate as efficiently as possible with low amounts of climate-friendly refrigerant propane.
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