Heat pump: Wikis

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A heat pump is a machine or device that moves heat from one location (the 'source') to another location (the 'sink' or 'heat sink') using mechanical work. Most heat pump technology moves heat from a low temperature heat source to a higher temperature heat sink.[1] Common examples are food refrigerators and freezers, air conditioners, and reversible-cycle heat pumps for providing thermal comfort.

Heat pumps can be thought of as a heat engine which is operating in reverse. One common type of heat pump works by exploiting the physical properties of an evaporating and condensing fluid known as a refrigerant. In heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) applications, a heat pump normally refers to a vapor-compression refrigeration device that includes a reversing valve and optimized heat exchangers so that the direction of heat flow may be reversed. Most commonly, heat pumps draw heat from the air or from the ground. Some air-source heat pumps do not work as well when temperatures fall below around −5 °C (23 °F).

Contents

Operation

According to the second law of thermodynamics heat cannot spontaneously flow from a colder location to a hotter area; work is required to achieve this.[2]

Since the heat pump or refrigerator uses a certain amount of work to move the refrigerant, the amount of energy or btus deposited on the hot side is greater than taken from the cold side.

One common type of heat pump works by exploiting the physical properties of an evaporating and condensing fluid known as a refrigerant.

A simple stylized diagram of a heat pump's vapor-compression refrigeration cycle: 1) condenser, 2) expansion valve, 3) evaporator, 4) compressor.

The working fluid, in its gaseous state, is pressurized and circulated through the system by a compressor. On the discharge side of the compressor, the now hot and highly pressurized gas is cooled in a heat exchanger, called a condenser, until it condenses into a high pressure, moderate temperature liquid. The condensed refrigerant then passes through a pressure-lowering device like an expansion valve, capillary tube, or possibly a work-extracting device such as a turbine. This device then passes the low pressure, (almost) liquid refrigerant to another heat exchanger, the evaporator where the refrigerant evaporates into a gas via heat absorption. The refrigerant then returns to the compressor and the cycle is repeated.

In such a system it is essential that the refrigerant reach a sufficiently high temperature when compressed, since the second law of thermodynamics prevents heat from flowing from a cold fluid to a hot heat sink. Practically, this means the refrigerant must reach a temperature greater than the ambient around the high-temperature heat exchanger. Similarly, the fluid must reach a sufficiently low temperature when allowed to expand, or heat cannot flow from the cold region into the fluid, i.e. the fluid must be colder than the ambient around the cold-temperature heat exchanger. In particular, the pressure difference must be great enough for the fluid to condense at the hot side and still evaporate in the lower pressure region at the cold side. The greater the temperature difference, the greater the required pressure difference, and consequently the more energy needed to compress the fluid. Thus as with all heat pumps, the energy efficiency (amount of heat moved per unit of input work required) decreases with increasing temperature difference.

Due to the variations required in temperatures and pressures, many different refrigerants are available. Refrigerators, air conditioners, and some heating systems are common applications that use this technology.

In HVAC applications, a heat pump normally refers to a vapor-compression refrigeration device that includes a reversing valve and optimized heat exchangers so that the direction of heat flow may be reversed. The reversing valve switches the direction of refrigerant through the cycle and therefore the heat pump may deliver either heating or cooling to a building. In the cooler climates the default setting of the reversing valve is heating. The default setting in warmer climates is cooling. Because the two heat exchangers, the condenser and evaporator, must swap functions, they are optimized to perform adequately in both modes. As such, the efficiency of a reversible heat pump is typically slightly less than two separately-optimized machines.

In plumbing applications, a heat pump is sometimes used to heat or preheat water for swimming pools or domestic water heaters.

In somewhat rare applications, both the heat extraction and addition capabilities of a single heat pump can be useful, and typically results in very effective use of the input energy. For example, when an air cooling need can be matched to a water heating load, a single heat pump can serve two useful purposes. Unfortunately, these situations are rare because the demand profiles for heating and cooling are often significantly different.

Refrigerants

Until the 1990s, the refrigerants were often chlorofluorocarbons such as R-12 (dichlorodifluoromethane), one in a class of several refrigerants using the brand name Freon, a trademark of DuPont. Its manufacture was discontinued in 1995 because of the damage that CFCs cause to the ozone layer if released into the atmosphere. One widely-adopted replacement refrigerant is the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) known as R-134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane). R-134a is not as efficient as the R-12 it replaced (in automotive applications) and therefore, more energy is required to operate systems utilizing R-134a than those using R-12. Other substances such as liquid R-717 ammonia are widely used in large-scale systems, or occasionally the less corrosive but more flammable propane or butane, can also be used.

Since 2001, carbon dioxide, R-744, has increasingly been used, utilizing the transcritical cycle. In residential and commercial applications, the hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) R-22 is still widely used, however, HFC R-410A does not deplete the ozone layer and is being used more frequently. Hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, or plain air is used in the Stirling cycle, providing the maximum number of options in environmentally friendly gases. More recent refrigerators are now exploiting the R600A which is isobutane, and does not deplete the ozone and is friendly to the environment.

Efficiency

When comparing the performance of heat pumps, it is best to avoid the word "efficiency" which has a very specific thermodynamic definition. The term coefficient of performance (COP) is used to describe the ratio of useful heat movement to work input. Most vapor-compression heat pumps utilize electrically powered motors for their work input. However, in most vehicle applications, shaft work, via their internal combustion engines, provide the needed work.

When used for heating a building on a mild day, a typical air-source heat pump has a COP of 3 to 4, whereas a typical electric resistance heater has a COP of 1.0. That is, one joule of electrical energy will cause a resistance heater to produce one joule of useful heat, while under ideal conditions, one joule of electrical energy can cause a heat pump to move much more than one joule of heat from a cooler place to a warmer place.

Note that when there is a wide temperature differential, e.g., when an air-source heat pump is used to heat a house on a very cold winter day, it takes more work to move the same amount of heat indoors than on a mild day. Ultimately, due to Carnot efficiency limits, the heat pump's performance will approach 1.0 as the outdoor-to-indoor temperature difference increases. This typically occurs around −18 °C (0 °F) outdoor temperature for air source heat pumps. Also, as the heat pump takes heat out of the air, some moisture in the outdoor air may condense and possibly freeze on the outdoor heat exchanger. The system must periodically melt this ice. In other words, when it is extremely cold outside, it is simpler, and wears the machine less, to heat using an electric-resistance heater than to strain an air-source heat pump.

Geothermal heat pumps, on the other hand, are dependent upon the temperature underground, which is "mild" all year round. Their COP is therefore always in the range of 3.5–4.0.

In cooling mode a heat pump's operating performance is described as its energy efficiency ratio (EER) or seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER), and both measures have units of BTU/(h·W) (1 BTU/(h·W) = 0.293 W/W). A larger EER number indicates better performance. The manufacturer's literature should provide both a COP to describe performance in heating mode and an EER or SEER to describe performance in cooling mode. Actual performance varies, however, and depends on many factors such as installation, temperature differences, site elevation, and maintenance.

Heat pumps are more effective for heating than for cooling if the temperature difference is held equal. This is because the compressor's input energy is largely converted to useful heat when in heating mode, and is discharged along with the moved heat via the condenser. But for cooling, the condenser is normally outdoors, and the compressor's dissipated work is rejected rather than put to a useful purpose.

For the same reason, opening a food refrigerator or freezer heats up the room rather than cooling it because its refrigeration cycle rejects heat to the indoor air. This heat includes the compressor's dissipated work as well as the heat removed from the inside of the appliance.

The COP for a heat pump in a heating or cooling application, with steady-state operation, is:

 COP_{\mathrm{heating}} = \frac{\Delta Q_{\mathrm{hot}}}{\Delta A} \leq \frac{T_{\mathrm{hot}}}{T_{\mathrm{hot}}-T_{\mathrm{cool}}}
 COP_{\mathrm{cooling}} = \frac{\Delta Q_{\mathrm{cool}}}{\Delta A} \leq \frac{T_{\mathrm{cool}}}{T_{\mathrm{hot}}-T_{\mathrm{cool}}}


where

  • ΔQcool is the amount of heat extracted from a cold reservoir at temperature Tcool,
  • ΔQhot is the amount of heat delivered to a hot reservoir at temperature Thot,
  • ΔA is the compressor's dissipated work.
  • All temperatures are absolute temperatures usually measured in kelvins (K).

COP and lift

The COP increases as the temperature difference, or "lift", decreases between heat source and destination. The COP can be maximised at design time by choosing a heating system requiring only a low final water temperature (e.g. underfloor heating), and by choosing a heat source with a high average temperature (e.g. the ground). Domestic hot water (DHW) and radiators require high water temperatures, affecting the choice of heat pump technology.

Pump type and source Typical use case COP variation with Output Temperature
35 °C
(e.g. heated screed floor)
45 °C
(e.g. heated screed floor)
55 °C
(e.g. heated timber floor)
65 °C
(e.g. radiator or DHW)
75 °C
(e.g. radiator & DHW)
85 °C
(e.g. radiator & DHW)
High efficiency air source heat pump (ASHP). Air at −20 °C[3] 2.2 2.0
Two-stage ASHP air at −20 °C[4] Low source temp. 2.4 2.2 1.9
High efficiency ASHP air at 0 °C[3] Low output temp. 3.8 2.8 2.2 2.0
Prototype transcritical CO2 (R744) heat pump with tripartite gas cooler, source at 0 °C[5] High output temp. 3.3 4.2 3.0
Ground source heat pump (GSHP). Water at 0 °C[3] 5.0 3.7 2.9 2.4
GSHP ground at 10 °C[3] Low output temp. 7.2 5.0 3.7 2.9 2.4
Theoretical Carnot cycle limit, source −20 °C 5.6 4.9 4.4 4.0 3.7 3.4
Theoretical Carnot cycle limit, source 0 °C 8.8 7.1 6.0 5.2 4.6 4.2
Theoretical Lorentz cycle limit (CO2 pump), return fluid 25 °C, source 0 °C[5] 10.1 8.8 7.9 7.1 6.5 6.1
Theoretical Carnot cycle limit, source 10 °C 12.3 9.1 7.3 6.1 5.4 4.8

Types of heat pumps

The two main types of heat pumps are compression heat pumps and absorption heat pumps. Compression heat pumps always operate on mechanical energy (through electricity), while absorption heat pumps may also run on heat as an energy source (through electricity or burnable fuels).[6]

A number of sources have been used for the heat source for heating private and communal buildings [7].

  • air source heat pump (extracts heat from outside air)
    • air–air heat pump (transfers heat to inside air)
    • air–water heat pump (transfers heat to a tank of water)
  • geothermal heat pump (extracts heat from the ground or similar sources)
    • geothermal–air heat pump (transfers heat to inside air)
      • ground–air heat pump (ground as a source of heat)
      • rock–air heat pump (rock as a source of heat)
      • water–air heat pump (body of water as a source of heat)
    • geothermal–water heat pump (transfers heat to a tank of water)
      • ground–water heat pump (ground as a source of heat)
      • rock–water heat pump (rock as a source of heat)
      • water–water heat pump (body of water as a source of heat)

Heat sources

Most commonly, heat pumps draw heat from the air (outside or inside air) or from the ground (groundwater or soil) [8]. The heat drawn from the ground is in most cases stored solar heat, and it should not be confused with geothermal heat, though the latter will contribute in some small measure to all heat in the ground. Other heat sources include water; nearby streams and other natural water bodies have been used, and sometimes domestic waste water which is often warmer than the ambient temperature.

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Air-source heat pumps

Air source heat pumps are relatively easy (and inexpensive) to install and have therefore historically been the most widely used heat pump type. However, they suffer limitations due to their use of the outside air as a heat source or sink. The higher temperature differential during periods of extreme cold or heat leads to declining efficiency, as explained above. In mild weather, COP may be around 4.0, while at temperatures below around −8 °C (17 °F) an air-source heat pump can achieve a COP of 2.5 or better, which is considerably more than the COP that may be achieved by conventional heating systems. The average COP over seasonal variation is typically 2.5-2.8,[9] with exceptional models able to exceed 6.0 (2.8 kW).[10]

Ground source heat pumps

Ground source heat pumps, which are also referred to as Geothermal heat pumps, typically have higher efficiencies than air-source heat pumps. This is because they draw heat from the ground or groundwater which is at a relatively constant temperature all year round below a depth of about eight feet (2.5 m). This means that the temperature differential is lower, leading to higher efficiency. Ground-source heat pumps typically have COPs of 3.5-4.0 at the beginning of the heating season, with lower COPs as heat is drawn from the ground. The tradeoff for this improved performance is that a ground-source heat pump is more expensive to install due to the need for the digging of wells or trenches in which to place the pipes that carry the heat exchange fluid. When compared versus each other, groundwater heat pumps are generally more efficient than heat pumps using heat from the soil.

Solid state heat pumps

In 1881, the German physicist Emil Warburg put a block of iron into a strong magnetic field and found that it increased very slightly in temperature. Some commercial ventures to implement this technology are underway, claiming to cut energy consumption by 40% compared to current domestic refrigerators.[11] The process works as follows: Powdered gadolinium is moved into a magnetic field, heating the material by 2 to 5 °C (4 to 9 °F). The heat is removed by a circulating fluid. The material is then moved out of the magnetic field, reducing its temperature below its starting temperature.

History

Milestones:

See also

References

  1. ^ The Systems and Equipment volume of the ASHRAE Handbook, ASHRAE, Inc., Atlanta, GA, 2004
  2. ^ Fundamentals of Engineering Thermodynamics, by Howell and Buckius, McGraw-Hill, New York.
  3. ^ a b c d The Canadian Renewable Energy Network 'Commercial Earth Energy Systems', Figure 29. (URL accessed Decembar 8, 2009)
  4. ^ Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences 'State of the Art of Air-source Heat Pump for Cold Region', Figure 5. (URL accessed April 19, 2008)
  5. ^ a b SINTEF Energy Research 'Integrated CO2 Heat Pump Systems for Space Heating and DHW in low-energy and passive houses', J. Steen, Table 3.1, Table 3.3. (URL accessed April 19, 2008)
  6. ^ Types of heat pumps (see page 8)
  7. ^ Homeowners using heat pump systems
  8. ^ Heat pumps sources including groundwater, soil, outside and inside air)
  9. ^ Carrier web site: Heat Pumps
  10. ^ the IPCC 4th Working Group III report
  11. ^ Guardian Unlimited, December 2006 'A cool new idea from British scientists: the magnetic fridge'
  12. ^ Banks, David L.. An Introduction to Thermogeology: Ground Source Heating and Cooling. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN 978-1-4051-7061-1. 

External links


Simple English

A heat pump is a machine that moves heat from one place to another.

Examples

A refrigerator is a heat pump. It moves heat from the inside to the outside. This keeps the food inside cold, so it will not spoil.

An air conditioner is a heat pump. It moves heat from the inside of a building to the outside.

A Peltier device is a heat pump. It moves heat from one side to the other by means of an electric current.

Some buildings are heated with heat pumps, also. In the winter, the heat pump moves heat from the outside to the inside. Sometimes this works better than heating with a radiator.

How it works

Usually, heat flows from a hot place to a cold place, according to the second law of thermodynamics. Heat will not move from a cold place to a warmer place by itself. Because of this, a heat pump must use extra energy to move the heat. This is sort of like pumping water uphill.

Most heat pumps use electric motors to provide energy. Some heat pumps use heat energy, supplied by a flame or an electric heater.

[[File:|thumb|300px|A simple picture of a heat pump's refrigeration cycle: compressor (4) compresses fluid; hot fluid (1) gives up heat, fluid passes through expansion valve (2), fluid takes up heat (3) and gives off cold.]] Most heat pumps use a refrigeration cycle. A refrigeration cycle uses a fluid which moves through tubes and carries the heat. The fluid is called a refrigerant. During the refrigeration cycle, the refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas and back to a liquid.

When the refrigerant changes from a liquid to a gas, it gains (absorbs) heat energy. This is just like boiling. When the refrigerant changes from a gas back to a liquid, it loses heat energy.

The heat pump is set up so that the refrigerant gains heat from one place that will be cooled, and moves it to another place that will be warmed.

A heat pump forces the refrigerant to change from a gas to a liquid. It uses a compressor to do this. Often, an electric motor drives the compressor. The compressor compresses the refrigerant, and this makes it change from a gas to a liquid. When the refrigerant changes from a gas to a liquid, it also gives up some of the heat that it has been carrying.

At the other end of the cycle, the refrigerant boils again. It changes from a liquid to a gas. But it needs heat to do this. When it takes up heat from its surroundings, it cools them down. So where the refrigerant is changing from a liquid to a gas, it feels cooler.

This is the complete cycle, from the cooling side to the heating side: On the cooling side, heat is taken up to boil the refrigerant from a liquid to a gas. Then the fluid moves to the heating side. There, the compressor forces the refrigerant back to a liquid again. This makes it give up its heat. So heat has moved from the cooling side to the heating side. Then, the cycle repeats.

If the cooling side is the inside of a refrigerator, it gets cold.

If the cooling side is the inside of a building, and the warming side is the outside of the building, the inside of the building gets cold. This is how an air conditioner works.

If the cooling side is the outside of the building, and the warming side is the inside of the building, this is how a heat pump can heat a building during the winter.

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