18 May 2002
It is assumed that the 21st century will be a century of human struggle for survival. Particularly notable is a pressing need to successfully deal with the problem of food shortage that will be brought forth by expected growth of population in the world, especially Asia and Africa. A primary consideration in solving this problem is not only to increase food production but also to reduce losses from the disposal of wastes. Among promising solutions is heat pump application technology that is useful in increasing the yield of farm produce and keeping the freshness of gathered crops. Much is expected of this technology which has already established a fine track record of successful use in many instances, contributing to environmental preservation and the improvement of agriculture in Japan. This report first describes some specific results of effectively using the technology by taking up the following examples and then discusses its future prospects.
?Year-round culture of vegetables at facilities equipped with heat pump air-conditioning systems using hot-spring water, etc. as a heat source
?Industrial production of mushrooms in protected facilities using ice thermal storage air-conditioning systems
?Milking device using a waste heat recovery heat pump
?Dehumidifier/dryer system using a heat pump
?Low-temperature high-humidity storage of farm produce by wet air cooling system
?High-value-added flower production by soil cooling with an ice thermal storage cold water supply system