Thermally driven adsorption heat pumps for substitution of electricity and fossil fuels


Fossil fuel and electricity use for heating and cooling are major contributors to energy consumption and emissions. The THRIVE joint project studied and developed adsorption heat pump technology to harness waste heat and renewable heat in Switzerland to substitute electricity and fossil fuels.

Thermally driven adsorption heat pumps represent a promising technology to utilise abundant waste heat or renewable heat to provide heating and cooling at optimal temperatures with high exergetic efficiency. Savings in both electricity consumption as well as carbon emissions related to heating and cooling are substantial compared to conventional heating and cooling technologies. However, a number of challenges have so far hindered widespread adoption of adsorption heat pumps in the field. First, application scenarios for adsorption heat pumps in the context of existing heating and cooling infrastructure are lacking or insufficiently described. Second, the use of inefficient adsorbent materials and heat exchanger designs result in large system volumes and capital cost. Third, detailed life cycle and cost analyses of adsorption heat pump technology against accepted benchmarks are lacking. Addressing these three main challenges is expected to improve understanding of relevant deployment schemes and create technical and economic incentives for adoption of adsorption heat pumps as a sustainable technology for heating and cooling.

The motivation of the THRIVE project was to contribute to the reduction of electricity consumption and CO2 emissions for heating and cooling. The key contributions were to identify applications scenarios for adsorption heat pumps in Switzerland, to improve adsorption heat pump technology via novel materials and materials integration, and to evaluate adsorption heat pump technology in terms of performance, sustainability and cost.

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