Abstract

This study reviews the current state of the art of high temperature heat pumps (HTHPs) with heat sink temperatures of 90 to 160°C. The focus is on the analysis of heat pump cycles, suitable refrigerants, and the operating ranges of commercially available HTHPs and heat pumps at the research status. More than 20 HTHP models from 13 manufacturers havebeen identified on the market that are able to provide heat sink temperatures of at least 90°C. Only a few heatpump suppliers have already managed to exceed 120°C. Large application potentials have been recognized particularly in the food, paper, metal, and chemical industries, especially in drying, pasteurizing, sterilizing, evaporation, and distillation processes. The heating capacities range from about 20 kW to 20MW. The refrigerants used are mainly R245fa, R717,R744, R134a, and R1234ze(E). Most circuits are single-stage and differ primarily in the applied refrigerant and compressor type. Internal heat exchangers (IHX) are used to ensure sufficient superheating. Process optimization is achieved with economizer cycles or two-stage turbo compressors with intermediate vapor injection. Two-stage cascade cycles or open flash economizers are also used in commercial HTHPs. The COP values range from about 1.6 to 5.8 at temperature lifts of 130 to 40 K, respectively. Several research projects push the limits of the achievable COPs and heat sink temperatures to higher levels. Groups in Austria, Germany, France, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, and China are active in the experimental research of HTHPs. Several laboratory scale HTHPs have been built to demonstrate the technical feasibility of sink temperatures above 120°C. The heat pump cycles examined are mainly single-stage and in some cases contain an IHX for superheating or an economizer for vapor injection into the compressor. The investigated refrigerants are R1336mzz(Z), R718, R245fa, R1234ze(Z), R600, and R601. R1336mzz(Z) enables exceptionally high heat sink temperatures of up to 160°C. The experimentally obtained COPs at 120°C heat sink temperature vary between about 5.7 and 6.5 at 30 K temperature lift and 2.2 and 2.8 at 70 K lift. New environmental friendly refrigerants with low GWP and improved components lead to a need for research on optimized cycles. The high level of research activity and the large number of demonstration R&D projects indicate that HTHPs with a heat sink temperature of 160°C will reach market maturity in the next few years. However, despite the great application potential, other competing heating technologies and most importantly low prices for fossilfuels are still hindering the wider spread of HTHPs in industry.

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