Impact for the participating SMEs
The outline of the project is carefully planned to deliver the required impact. The main objective of the project is to deal and develop three interconnected products: a) a new commercial expander, which contributes significantly to the work-recovery of the high-pressure refrigerant in vapour-compression units, b) an improved heat pump unit, integrating this expander. This integration will show increased performance at cooling/heating mode, c) a retrofit kit for installed heat pump units, using the developed expander and its coupling to the compressor/motor. This retrofit will increase the performance of the heat pump, leading to a cost-effective solution.
These products will come into the market offering:
- An expander that could be used by VCC unit manufacturers (heat pumps, refrigeration units and perhaps air-conditioning units), boosting their COP values (at heating/cooling mode). This component will be provided as an add-on, giving the manufacturers the opportunity to adapt it in their products.
- High-performance heat pumps, already integrating the develop expander, being a step forward from the competition.
- Retrofit kits for increasing the performance of installed heat pumps, easily applied for a wide range of capacities.
All these products are highly relevant to the activities of the participating SMEs, helping them to substantially improve their competitiveness.
Specific and innovative impact of project results
The technology to be evolved within the framework of the current project gathers potential applications in the following markets: a) the heat pump market. An improved re-designed heat pump unit of higher efficiency offered at slightly higher cost will be introduced by EURE, while it is anticipated to have a very low pay-back-period, securing its cost effectiveness. Except from that, DORIN and ITAL can distribute the developed expander to other heat pump manufacturers as well, increasing their penetration to this growing market, b) the refrigeration market. The same component (perhaps modified) can be also integrated in refrigeration units, increasing their COP values. Probably in such units the performance is increased even more than 20-25%, since the temperature/pressure ratio is larger and the work-recovery potential is greater and c) the air-conditioning market. A similar concept could also be used in air-conditioning units, since these have a similar operation and there is still the need to recover the energy of the high-pressure refrigerant. Again, in such units there is higher work-recovery potential, due to the larger pressure ratios.
Moreover, the expander can be also utilized in various VCC units using natural refrigerants, and especially CO2, whose commercial use is not very common in Europe. Nevertheless, for such applications it should sustain important technical developments, due to the trans-critical operation of such units. Therefore, it could be integrated in units, which are still under development and have just entered their commercial stage, aiding in higher efficiency and promoting the innovative status of European VCC unit manufacturers.