20 May 2008

HISTORY OF HEAT PUMPS SWISS CONTRIBUTIONS AND INTERNATIONAL MILESTONES


Swiss pioneers were the first to realize functioning vapour recompression plants.
The first European heat pumps were realized in Switzerland. To date it remains one of the
heat pump champions. Its pioneering role in the development of vertical borehole heat exchangers,
sewage heat recovery, oil free piston compressors and turbo compressors is well
known. The biggest heat pump ever built comes from Switzerland. Although there is a fairly
comprehensive natural gas distribution grid, 75% of the new dwellings built in Switzerland
are currently heated by heat pumps. This paper presents some of the highlights of this success
story focusing on Swiss developments and relating them to the international milestones.
This paper is a summary of a detailed report with many references on the subject prepared
on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (Zogg 2008).