Cold Climate Heat Pump Research Project
The U.S. Department of Energy is currently conducting research into cold climate heat pumps. The research is designed to overcome technical and economic barriers that limit market penetration in cold climates.
This project seeks to develop a high-performance, cold climate heat pump technology using multi-stage compressor technology. Several vapor compression cycle configurations are being examined and optimized for superior performance. Target performance and preliminary results will be used to perform a detailed market assessment in order to investigate the national impact and potential market penetration.
Research is being undertaken through a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and a CRADA partner.
The goal of this project is to develop a split system heat pump providing 48,000 British thermal units per hour heating capacity with a coefficient of performance of 4.5 at the 47°F Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute rating condition, and an efficiency degradation of 50%, and capacity loss of 25% at -13°F ambient conditions.
An assessment study of cost effective strategies for improving performance will also be performed for cold climate heat pumps. The assessment will rely on system modeling using tools as well as actual cost figures based on manufacturer data.
Benefits and Impacts
Based on business case analyses conducted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a cumulative energy savings potential of 0.5 Quads is estimated for the period 2015 – 2030 for a cold climate heat pump based on a penetration rate of 25% and compared to conventional electric heat pumps and electric resistance units.