The importance of heat pumps in decarbonization

Want to learn more about the heat pump market? Mattias lists the seven types of industrial heat pumps that can deliver temperatures above 100 °C.

Mattias Nilsson is a development engineer at Viking and regularly attends conferences on behalf of the company to talk about the HeatBooster.

Earlier this year, I attended the Decarb Heat Forum in Brussels, Belgium, and the IEA’s Heat Pump Conference 2017 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. During these two events, it became apparent that there’s a lack of knowledge about the high-temperature heat pump market – what technologies are available, their price and so on.

Despite this, many companies showed an interest in finding out how high-temperature heat pumps can be part of the transition to a carbon neutral economy. Implementing heat pumps is one of the most convenient choices since it reduces CO2 emissions without having to replace entire processes.

As companies start to realize how heat pumps can be part of their transition to carbon neutrality, it will be increasingly important to understand the supply side of this market. It was therefore encouraging to see several presentations of different kinds of high-temperature heat pump technologies at the conferences. In the figure below, I’ve listed seven kinds of heat pump technologies that can deliver temperatures above 100 °C. However, there are only a few of these that are market ready. Our HeatBooster (a vapor compression heat pump) is one of them.

New industrial heat pump produces heat in the very high temperature range.

Looking at existing markets for high-temperature heat pumps, there are for example spray drying processes for dry solids, such as powdered milk, detergents and dyes from liquid feedstock that would benefit from using high-temperature heat pumps to reach the required temperatures, typically above 120°C. The food, chemical and automobile industries are therefore promising markets for industrial heat pumps, and even more so thanks to the transition towards ecological food production, smart (big data) industries, electrification of the car industry, etcetera. 

It is estimated that the market for large industrial (high-temperature) heat pumps is several per cent of the total industrial energy consumption in Europe. Together with the EU2050 vision of reaching carbon neutrality in parts of the industry, the pull from Europe (and the world at large) to implement green technologies is strong. 

This is very encouraging news for us who are on the front line of developing high-temperature heat pumps, and it shows that there’s a growing realization among companies that you cannot solve all problems with one solution. Instead, companies must live the question and become part of green ecosystems that eventually allows all of us to live within our ecological limits.

1. Dry and wet compression resorption heat pumps (CRHP)
+ High theoretical COP
- Toxic fluid (ammonia-mixture)

2. Thermoacoustic heat pumps (EDTAH)
+ Innovative stirling process
- Very high operating pressures

3. Vapor compression heat pumps (VCHP) 
+ Market ready, low-risk fluids, conventional technology for lower temperatures
- Perceived to be complicated and costly

4. Hybrid heat pumps (HHP)
+ Market ready, low compression ratio
- Technically complex (absorption + compression), toxic fluid (ammonia-mixture)

5. Transcritical carbon dioxide heat pumps (TCHP)
+ Market ready, low-risk fluids
- Limited temperature range

6. Gas and electrical heat pumps (GHHP)
+ Conventional technology (only available below 100)
- High CO2 emissions

7. Heat pump based on the Joule cycle (HPJ)
+ Innovative technology
- Only available below 100°C

Next week, on September 11, I'll be attending the International Workshop on High Temperature Heat Pumps at the National Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, to talk about the HeatBooster. I recommend you check our website regularly to find out what conferences we'll be attending in the year ahead, and I hope I get a chance to meet you at a future event to discuss how we can support your business.

To help us get a better understanding of the heat pump market and your needs, please take a few minutes to answer our survey

This blog post has been written by Mattias Nilsson, Development Engineer at Viking Heat Engines Germany. You can reach Mattias at mattias.nilsson@vikingheatengines.com.

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