Thermally Driven Heat Pump Based on an Integrated Thermodynamic Cycle for Low Carbon Domestic Heating (Therma-Pump)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow
Department Name: School of Engineering

Abstract

The UK has set an ambitious target to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels. Currently, heat accounts for nearly half of the energy consumption in the UK and a third of the nation's carbon emissions. To achieve the UK's carbon reduction target, the residential heating sector has to be substantially decarbonised. A wide range of technologies are at different stage of developments but their energy efficiencies are not all satisfactory. There is clearly a big gap between the demand and supply of cost-effective heating technologies in the UK. There is a urgent need for innovation of low-carbon heating technologies in the UK.

This project develops a novel, gas-powered heat pump that integrates a small-scale Rankine Cycle power generator using organic working fluids (i.e. refrigerants) with a vapour-compression heat pump by means of a novel coupling technology. Both the heat rejected by the Rankine Cycle power generator and the heat provided by the heat pump are fully utilised for heating. The novel design allows the condensing temperature of the heat pump to be much lower than that of a single electrically-powered heat pump leading to much higher energy performance. The compact heat exchangers are used to enable the heat pump much small in size. The novel design of the combustion heat exchanger enables efficient and clean combustion processes.

The novel heating technology developed through this project is much more efficient than traditional heating technologies, and therefore can significantly reduce the carbon emissions from the residential heating sector in the UK, if widely installed.

Planned Impact

There will be a wide arrange of potential direct and indirect beneficiaries of the developed technology.

The energy equipment manufacturers will directly benefit from the developed technology. Intellectual property generated from this project will be patented nationally and internationally. Hundreds to, ultimately, thousands of new jobs will be generated for its manufacturing, installation, and maintenance, which will contribute to the UK's economic growth. The commercialisation of the technology will enhance the competence of the UK manufacturing sector in the globe market.

The households in the UK are the intended end users of the developed technology. Compared with condensing and non-condensing boilers, it could reduce energy consumption by at least 30%. Such a saving on energy bills will help to combat fuel poverty, freeing up money for spending on other products and services, and thus improves the quality of life in the UK.

As the Therma-Pump can be easily scaled up for district heating applications, commercial buildings are another category of end users of this new technology. Wide installation of the Therma-Pump will reduce the energy bill of commercial buildings such as shopping malls, office blocks.

Some energy-intensive processing industries such as oil refineries and the food industry are also potential beneficiaries. The Therma-Pump can be powered by industrial waste heat, using it to upgrade another part of the waste heat to higher temperature heat for reuse on site. Hence, the overall energy efficiency of these industries will be improved. As the energy demand will be reduced, the fossil fuel imports of the UK could also be reduced. This will certainly contribute to the energy security of the UK in the future.

The UK's policy makers on energy and environment will have a new technology option to tackle the climate change problem once the technology is commercialised.

The general public can benefit from this low carbon technology in the long term. Currently, gas boilers are the primary technology for providing heating in residential sector in the UK. The developed technology, once widely installed, can substantially decarbonise the residential heating sector and thus make a significant contribution to the UK's effort on carbon reduction.

Publications

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Guerrero-Martínez F (2018) Numerical modeling of multiple steady-state convective modes in a tilted porous medium heated from below in International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer

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Jin J (2018) Inverse heat conduction in anisotropic and functionally graded media by finite integration method in International Journal of Computational Methods and Experimental Measurements

 
Description The proposed heat pump technology has been theoretically modelled and numerically simulated. It has been numerically demonstrated that the proposed system can achieve an overall fuel-to-heat efficiency up to 147% when the cold water is heated from 10 to 65 °C and the ambient air temperature is in the range -5 to 5 °C. The research results demonstrated that the proposed technology has a great potential for hot water applications.
Exploitation Route The proposed comcpets have been published as a paper on the leading journal Applied Energy. The models have been explianed and presented in detail. The industrial sector can easly apply the concent by integrating power generator with air sourced heat pump for district heating.
Sectors Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

 
Description Provide views to the Scottish Government energy team in the area of heating technologies
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description An ORC power plant integrated with thermal energy storage to utilise renewable heat sources for distributed H&P
Amount £814,378 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/R003122/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2017 
End 04/2019
 
Description Development of a portable trigeneration energy system for domestic use in Kenya
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 332409407 
Organisation British Council 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start  
 
Description Modelling and Optimisation of Integrated Urban Energy Systems for both Heating and Power
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Power Ltd 
Sector Private
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 08/2021
 
Description Modelling and Optimisation of Integrated Urban Energy Systems for both Heating and Power
Amount £30,000 (GBP)
Organisation Energy Technology Partnership (ETP) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2018 
End 08/2021
 
Description Negative CO2 Emissions CHP Technology
Amount £100,000 (GBP)
Organisation University of Glasgow 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2022
 
Description Next Generation Advanced Gasification Technology
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Funding ID LTSRF1718\14\45 
Organisation Royal Academy of Engineering 
Department The Leverhulme Trust/Royal Academy of Engineering
Sector Learned Society
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2018 
End 08/2019
 
Description Preliminary study of a novel double acting liquid piston expander technology
Amount £9,965 (GBP)
Funding ID Via: EP/K503903/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2017 
End 03/2017
 
Title Numerical simulations tool for designing the ORC systems or Heat pumps 
Description A numerical model has been developed to simulate and design the proposed Therma-Pump. This can be used to design the ORC power plants or heat pump systems as well. 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact This offers the first model of this kind to design such an integrated system. 
 
Description Collaboration ORC technology for energy recovery from IC engine's exhaust gases 
Organisation Beijing University of Technology
Department School of Automation
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Expertise of the development of small-sacle organic Rankine cycle power plants that has been gained via the project "Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat". The research facilities at the University of Glasgow, which were developed via the project "Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat".
Collaborator Contribution Expertise of phase change material based heat storage technology Melton salty based heat storage technology Single screw expander technology
Impact This collaboration has led to a successful major joint grant application to the call "China-UK Innovation Bridge". An ORC power plant integrated with thermal energy storage to utilise renewable heat sources for distributed heating and power, Total value: £1.4 M (UoG: £390,881); May 2017 - April 2019; Role: PI. (Project Partners: Sunamp Ltd (UK), Beijing University of Technology, China Investment Yixing Red Sun Solar Energy Technology Company, China) This project has been selected for funding, and is in the final process for accepting the offer.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration ORC technology for energy recovery from IC engine's exhaust gases 
Organisation Sunamp Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expertise of the development of small-sacle organic Rankine cycle power plants that has been gained via the project "Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat". The research facilities at the University of Glasgow, which were developed via the project "Dynamic Organic Rankine Cycle for Recovering Industrial Waste Heat".
Collaborator Contribution Expertise of phase change material based heat storage technology Melton salty based heat storage technology Single screw expander technology
Impact This collaboration has led to a successful major joint grant application to the call "China-UK Innovation Bridge". An ORC power plant integrated with thermal energy storage to utilise renewable heat sources for distributed heating and power, Total value: £1.4 M (UoG: £390,881); May 2017 - April 2019; Role: PI. (Project Partners: Sunamp Ltd (UK), Beijing University of Technology, China Investment Yixing Red Sun Solar Energy Technology Company, China) This project has been selected for funding, and is in the final process for accepting the offer.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration with Scottish power 
Organisation Scottish Power Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Contribute to the project "Modelling and Optimisation of Integrated Urban Energy Systems for both Heating and Power" in the area of heating networks, including modelling and optimisation.
Collaborator Contribution Contribute to the project "Modelling and Optimisation of Integrated Urban Energy Systems for both Heating and Power" in the area of smart grid, including modelling and optimisation.
Impact We submitted a joint application for a PhD studentship to Energy Technology Partnership in 2017 and was funded.
Start Year 2017
 
Description A talk at China-UK Workshop on Efficient Energy Utilisation 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The China-UK workshop on efficient energy utilisation bring together researchers and industrialists working on energy efficiency in both UK and China. Around 40-50 people attended this event. I gave a talk "A novel heat pump based on combined thermodynamic cycle".
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Chair and and give a talk at the "Decarbonising Heat" session of Energy Innovation Emporium Conference 31st May 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact This conference brings together industry, the public sector and academia to discuss innovation for the Energy Strategy. Academia and businesses will present their research expertise & needs, from which the conference will identify avenues of innovation and cooperation that will support the Scottish Government's ambitions around carbon reduction. As the coordinator of the Heat Energy Theme of ETP, I and the BDM and other colleagues organised a session on the topic of "Decarbonise Heat", and it attached around 100 participants. I chaired the session and delivered the open talk. Several other speakers from industry sector and business sector and Scottish government energy team gave talks and participated the debate and panel discussion.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.etp-scotland.ac.uk/NewsandEvents/Events/ETPEmporiumEvent2017.aspx
 
Description Engagement with Scottish Energy Association 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Give a talk on heat energy and waste heat recover to the members of the Scottish Energy Association.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Engagement with Scottish Government's Energy Team 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Regular meeting with Scottish Government's Energy Team once six months to provide academic input to the heat energy related policy making.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017