Market survey of industrial heat pumps for district heating and cooling applications
Sirbu, Alfred (2023)
School of Energy Systems, Energiatekniikka
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Industrial heat pumps play a crucial role in the decarbonisation of the heating and cooling sector. To better understand the current industrial heat pump market and globally available solutions, this thesis investigated the most suitable models for district heating and cooling applications based on the criteria provided by Lahti Energia. By gathering data on global manufacturers providing water source heat pumps with a minimum heating capacity of 1 MW, a list of 79 manufacturers was formed that provided 21 suitable models of which 6 were selected based on their performance in four scenarios. The suitable models ranged from 1 MW to 48 MW systems and all used natural refrigerants. An analysis of the manufacturer data showed the market distribution, development and identified Europe’s rapid growth within the market. The survey determined the relationship between the system efficiency, heat capacity and temperature range based on compressor and refrigerant type. The characteristics of each compressor type were identified and the data collected showed that natural refrigerants offered better efficiency compared to synthetic refrigerants however, performance may have been influenced by government funding. It was found that refrigerant choice depended largely on the application and legislation rather than performance. An investigation of the laws regarding refrigerant use and their global impact showed increasing future restrictions on synthetic refrigerants. Additionally, observations in current safety classifications showed no regard for toxic PFAS chemicals in synthetic refrigerants. The survey revealed the factors needed to interpret the market and select the most suitable models.