30 May 2005

HEAT PUMPS AND THE ENVIRONMENT


The old aim of governments was to supply their country with sufficient low-cost energy to keep the
growth of the economy. In the meantime we have the problem of the climate change, and more or less all
industrialised countries, which have signed this agreement, have to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions,
mainly CO2 from burning fossil fuels. Heat pumps offer the possibility of reducing energy consumption
and CO2 emissions significantly, mainly in the building sector, but also in industry. The second law of
thermodynamics shows the advantages: While a condensing gas-fired boiler can reach a primary energy
ratio (PER) of at best 105 % (i.e. the boiler efficiency ?B; the theoretical maximum would be 110 %, based
on the lower calorific value), heat pumps achieve 200 % and more. The potential for reducing CO2
emissions assuming a 30 % share in the building sector using technology presently available is about 6 %
of the total world-wide CO2 emission. With future technologies in power generation and heat pumps up to
16 % seem possible. Therefore, heat pumps are one of the key technologies for energy conservation and
reducing CO2 emissions.