EDF’s R&D division has developed a very high temperature industrial heat pump that uses water as its work fluid. Thus, it entails many advantages over previous designs: no negative effect on global warming, high performance and simpler regulatory constraints.
PACO is a completely new type of industrial heat pump that uses zero chemical fluid for its operation – just water. This unique feature allows it to supply heat up to 130°C (compared with 70°C for traditional heat pumps), making it exceptionally energy efficient and reducing its environmental impact to a minimal level. The heat pump delivers a complete response to industrial heating needs, especially for processes requiring low-pressure steam and releasing waste heat in the form of liquid discharges below 100°C.
The project – an experimental demonstrator fitted to a pilot compressor – has removed a number of technological barriers, including:
Development of oil-free compressors
Fluid volume sizing
Compressor bearing seals
Analysis of heat pump behaviour during transitional phases
It has also been the subject of a thesis in conjunction with CETHIL, the Lyon Energy & Heat Research Centre.
Centrifugal steam compressor with magnetic bearings
The collaborative research work has paid off: the PACO heat pump can achieve 130°C (providing the option to generate low-pressure steam) and deliver remarkable performances: 5.2 at design mean operating conditions.
Potential applications have also been studied technically and economically in areas as diverse as papermaking and food industry.
PACO’s installation as part of an existing industrial process is now in the planning stage, and the JCI manufacturer has begun design work on a larger steam compressor (3t/h).
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