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Column: Challenges for the Industrial Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are making their way into the industrial sector. Industries in fields such as forest products, textiles, chemicals, and others, make use of heat pumps for drying, washing, evaporation etc. But there are challenges. The ones that stand out are listed below.
  • Many potential application areas are identified for high temperature heat pumps, and they are expected to be widely deployed. The most pressing challenge regards extending efficiency limits and heat sink temperature without shifting to more environmentally harmful refrigerants.
  • The amount of refrigerant charge in heat exchangers needs to be minimized. This lowers the cost, and reduces the damage caused by a possible leak.
  • Replacement of steam boilers. In Japan, there is a commercial heat pump system that can produce steam with temperatures of 120 °C and above. Such systems are under development in other countries as well.
  • Heat pumps could be integrated with district heating systems. In areas where district heating is common, this could lead to better use of, for example, waste heat. More research and development is needed.
  • High-temperature heat pumps could be used to upgrade waste heat to process heat, used in drying processes, among others. This could make the process more energy-efficient; demonstration and validation in real production is currently ongoing.
Rainer M. Jakobs, Germany (Operating Agent for HPT Annex 48)

The text has been shortened by the HPC team

Read the full text in the HPT Magazine