18 May 2017
Industrial heat pumps can often have a totally different business case than you see for domestic type heat pumps. Industrial heat pumps are often used in production of food and beverage, which utilises both the cooling and the heating capacity of the heat pump. This increases the efficiency because the absorbed power in the compressor does not increase but the energy generated on both sides of the heat pump is used in the process either at the same time or it can be buffered for later use. Now that the technology and the possibilities have been understood and the business case looks good, the demand from the market for higher temperatures and bigger heat pumps turn back on the manufacturers. Here the challenge has been taken up. The race for producing compressors for higher pressures, first for CO2, but now also for NH3 and other refrigerants are surfacing in the market.
Also new refrigerants with properties that offer possibilities not seen before keeps pushing up the boundaries. Some of the low GWP refrigerants enables manufacturers to go as high as 160?C. However, with water with a critical temperature of 373?C allows even higher condensing temperatures. Future will show where it all ends, but we already know now that the temperatures in industrial heat pumps will be much higher than in the smaller domestic heat pumps we know today, mainly because the heat source is different and the business case allows it. Why will we do it? Because we can and because we have to de-carbonise the industry.