30 May 2005

TECHNOLOGICAL AND SCIENTIFIC CHALLENGES IN HEAT PUMPS


Last year, a major multidisciplinary project was set up that included researchers from Mexico and
Spain with different backgrounds and interests. The project would involve the major technological and
scientific challenges around absorption heat pumps and their application. The project goals include:
a) gain knowledge of the thermodynamic properties of different heat-absorbing solutions used in heat
pumps, b) determine the aggressive corrosion conditions of such solutions in different metallic materials
used as components under different operating conditions and test and develop corrosion-control alternatives,
c) conduct experimental and simulation studies on the mass-transfer phenomena conditions of the
different solution alternatives and the effects on material and heat pump performance to aid in selecting
the most suitable unit, d) instrument a heat pump for on-line monitoring to be used for further application
such as water purification. In this paper, we present some preliminary results of the recent work on the
different lines of research that converge in the topic of heat pumps made inside the Center of Research in
Engineering and Applied Sciences (CIICAp) of the Autonomous University of Morelos (UAEM) in
Mexico. These investigations can be divided into the following: components materials, operational conditions,
and component thermodynamic limitations and corrosion rates. In Centre d’Innovació Tecnològica
en Revalorització Energètica i Refrigeració (CREVER) of the Universitat de Rovira I Virgili (URV) in
Spain, some research areas include the proposal of new solutions, their thermodynamic characterization,
industrial applications, and combined cycles. The paper describes materials that have been used in the
construction of these heat pumps, the coolant and pairs of absorbent – working fluid that heat pump have
been used, the operational conditions for the different configurations of the heat pumps, the operational
conditions considered for these systems, and the corrosion rates encountered in the metallic materials
used in these heat pumps. Also discussed are the technical and scientific challenges that must be overcome
to implement new configurations, solutions and additive substances to improve operations, increase
operational conditions of the existing systems, the physicochemical characterization of new substances,
and heat pump corrosion rates.