The energy transition encourages the use of technologies that make it possible to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions through the use of renewable sources, boosting the circular economy.
Renewable sources play a key role in reducing CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and are the main driver of this revolution. Thanks to the production of electricity from renewable sources, it is now possible to develop new technologies which might help cut the use of fossil fuels in fields where until very recently, these fuels were considered "irreplaceable" - e.g. the production of heat for indoor heating or for industrial processes. Cogeneration, then, can be used to improve the combined production of electricity and heat: this technology is now supplemented by a new generation of high-power heat pumps designed to produce high temperature thermal vectors.
Large, new generation heat pumps are available today as a technological solution designed to implement effective energy decarbonization strategies.
Plant Engineering designs and supplies turnkey heat pump plants
What is a heat pump?
Heat pumps are mechanical devices that extract low-grade heat from one source and transfer it to another. The advantage of a heat pump is that it up-grades the heat and delivers it at a higher temperature than the source from which the heat had been extracted.
Heat pumps are usually based on refrigeration cycles. Unlike refrigerators the primary aim of heat pumps is to provide heating, using waste heat available at lower temperature.
Simple heat pumps (e.g. compression heat pumps) comprise four main devices: the evaporator, the compressor, the condenser and the expansion valve (cf. Fig. 2.10). Heat pumps work with a refrigerant, which is a special fluid that (1) circulates in a closed circuit in the heat pump, (2) undergoes phase transitions from a liquid to a gas and back again and (3) evaporates at low temperatures.
In the evaporator the refrigerant is put, in its liquid form, in contact with the heat carrier fluid circulating in the pipes of the energy geostructures in the primary circuit and is evaporated to a gas, with its temperature being lower than that of the heat carrier fluid and its boiling point (at relatively low pressure) below the entering heat carrier fluid temperature. The phase change from liquid to gas of the refrigerant fluid decreases the temperature of the heat carrier fluid, which is then reinjected into the ground via the pipes of the energy geostructures to warm up again. The refrigerant gas, at low pressure and relatively low temperature, then moves to the compressor.
In the compressor, this gas is compressed by using external energy (e.g. electrical power) to a higher temperature. The refrigerant gas, now at a relatively high pressure and temperature, then moves to the condenser.
In the condenser the resulting hot gas supplies the gained heat to a heat carrier fluid circulating in the secondary circuit by condensing (at a much higher temperature than that at which it boiled). Eventually the hot liquid refrigerant at high pressure passes through an expansion valve that returns the pressure and temperature of the liquid to its original condition prior to reentering the evaporator where it starts a new cycle.
Field of application:
Energy Efficiency and Industrial Process
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