Summary of the technology
Researchers at the Korea Institute of Energy Research have developed a new method of managing the inherent limitations of heat pumps, in terms of their application for unpredictable heat energy sources.
Description of the technology
Heat pumps are devices that can produce hot water with a high temperature using a heat source with a low temperature. In general, heat pumps produce hot water with a set temperature and a set flow rate using a heat source that is introduced with both predetermined temperature and flow rate. However, with the increased use of new renewable heat sources, such as geothermal heat, sewage heat and solar heat; there is a need for heat pumps with the capacity to manage heat sources with characteristically unpredictable temperatures and flow rates that are prone to sudden change. What’s more, there is an increasing requirement for heat pumps capable of supplying hot water at varying temperatures, as opposed to one set temperature – to accommodate demand requirements.
Conventional heat pumps are limited in their capability to sufficiently align the characteristics of heat sources and the characteristics of the demand source. Generally, demand sources for heat pump energy require both consistent temperatures and flow rates. Meaning that heat sources, such as renewables, which suffer unreliable temperatures and flow rates are generally unsuitable for heat pump use. The innovative broadband heat pump technology presented offers a unique system which can overcome the inherent limitations of heat pump technology. This technology enables the control of heat source temperatures in order that heat supplied is at a uniform temperature and can be tailored to meet the requirements of the demand source.
This broadband heat pump technology has several beneficial implications. Notably the pump is capable of being supplied with hot water with various levels of temperature, which can then be supplied to any desired demand source. Additionally, since heat sources with varying levels of temperature, notably including renewable energy sources, can be used, energy availability increases, and the pump offers a gateway for renewable energy use.
Broadband heat pump technology method:
This advanced heat pump technology addresses the common issues derived from using characteristically unreliable and variant heat sources, specifically renewable heat sources. This technology consists of a heat pump module, including a plurality of heat pumps which supply hot water with variant levels of temperature, and a heat source supply module, with several heat source mixers that allow water to be selectively introduced from one or several of heat sources. This system enables the temperature mixing of different hot water sources to control water temperature and manage against extremes of temperature. The technology is aided using a controller that controls the heat pump module as well as the heat source supply module and the hot water mixing module. Using the heat pump controller enables users to tailor the characteristics of the heat source, by selecting one hot water mixer and one heat source from those available, to meet the needs of the heat demand source.
This technology is geared to overcome a key challenge incurred during the use of renewable technology, specifically in the management of the variant temperatures generally supplied by renewable technologies, such as geothermal and solar heat.
Intellectual property status
Patent number : 9377229
Where : USA
Current development status
Commercially available technologies
Desired business relationship
New technology applications
Adaptation of technology to other markets
Korea Institute of Energy Research