History of Heat Pumps

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  • Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications DETEC

    Swiss Federal Office of Energy SFOE Section Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energies

    History of Heat Pumps

    Swiss Contributions

    and International Milestones

    Martin Zogg

    Process and Energy Engineering CH-3414 Oberburg, Switzerland

    mazo@zogg-engineering.ch

    May 2008

  • Introduction 2

    Preface This report emerged from the desire of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy for a comprehensive history of the heat pump development focussing on the Swiss pioneers substantial contri-butions and to present it at the 9th International Energy Agency Heat Pump Conference on May 20-22, 2008 in Zurich. As regards the Swiss activities, many personal interviews were ar-ranged. The report is based on the best knowledge of the author; but there is no claim for com-pleteness and infallibility. The authors sincere thanks go to the following people for their generous information, support and advice: Karin bi, Marco Andreoli, Peter Bailer, Heinz Baumann, Franz Beyeler, Pierre Binggeli, Rudolf Bolliger, Otto Bosshart, Carlo Brugnoli, Georg Dubacher, Fredy Eberhard, Max Ehrbar, Hans-Rudolf Fankhauser, Daniel Favrat, Peter Fluri, Pirmin Frei, Rolf Frischknecht, Herbert Giger, Martin Graf, Heinz Grimm, Gerald C. Groff, Emil Grninger, Hans Grter, Gn-ther Reiner, Daniel Gut, Karl-Heinz Handl, Franz Hansen, Filip Hauptmann, Hans-Peter Hemmi, Fredy Hoyer, Peter Hubacher, Hans Huber, Max Hutter, Beda Huwyler, Dieter Im-boden, Walter Janach, Bruno Jordi, Daniel Kalberer, Bruno Kemm, Christine Klinger, Heinz Lattmann, Urs Leibundgut, Franz Lenz, Jrg Lieberherr, Daniel Mani, Gabriella Mariani, Werner Mendler, Istvan Meszaros, Rolf Mielebacher, Ernst A. Mller, Marco Nani, Karl Ottinger, Ulrich Pietrucha, Jrg Rechsteiner, Kurt Riesen, Andreas Rindisbacher, Therese Rochat, Ernst Rohner Sr., Stefan Roth, Ladislaus Rybach, Marco Scanderbeg, Felix Schmid, Max Schulthe-iss, Heiko Stegmaier, Ren Steiner, Rolf Steiner, Urs Studer, Gyula Szokody, Paul Truninger, Rolf Truninger, Daniel Trssel, Kurt Trssel, Carl Wassermann, Bruno Weber, Bruno Wermel-inger, Stefan Zeller, Hans Zogg. Special thanks go to Thomas Kopp, Fabrice Rognon and Hans Ulrich Schrer of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy for their encouragement and to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy for the financial support. Last but not least many thanks to my wife Blanca for her assistance dur-ing my first months of retirement. May 2008 Martin Zogg

    Copyright 2008 by Martin Zogg, CH-3414 Oberburg

    Last modification: 2009-01-16

  • Introduction 3

    Abstract

    Compared to conventional boilers heating by heat pumps cuts down fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to about 50%. Compared to electric resistance heating, the energy consumption is even reduced up to 80%. Therefore the impressive market penetration growth of heat pumps will continue. Swiss pioneers were the first to realize functioning vapour recompression plants. The first European heat pumps were realized in Switzerland. To date it remains one of the heat pump champions. Swiss pioneering work in the development of borehole heat exchangers, sewage heat recovery, oil free piston compressors and turbo compressors is well known. The biggest heat pump ever built comes from Switzerland. Although there is a fairly comprehensive natural gas distribution grid, 75% of the new single-family homes built in Switzerland are cur-rently heated by heat pumps. This paper presents some of the highlights of this success story focusing on Swiss developments and relating them to the international milestones. In order to indicate the direction in which the future development might go to, some recent Swiss research projects are presented as well.

    An English summary is available [Zogg 2008a].

    Zusammenfassung

    Mit Heizen durch Wrmepumpen kann der Brennstoffverbrauch und damit die CO2 Emission im Vergleich zu einer konventionellen Kesselheizung auf rund die Hlfte gesenkt werden. Gegen-ber einer elektrischen Widerstandsheizung ergibt die Wrmepumpenheizung sogar eine Re-duktion des Energiebedarfs um bis zu 80%. Die Wrmepumpenheizung wird sich deshalb knf-tig noch vermehrt durchsetzen. Schweizer Pioniere haben als erste funktionierende Brden-kompressionsanlagen gebaut. Die ersten Wrmepumpen in Europa wurden in der Schweiz realisiert. Die Schweiz ist in der Wrmepumpentechnik bis heute bei den fhrenden Lndern geblieben. Ihre Pionierarbeiten in der Entwicklung von Erdwrmesonden, der Nutzung von Ab-wasser als Wrmequelle, der Entwicklung lfreier Kolbenkompressoren sowie von Turbokom-pressoren sind allgemein bekannt. Die grsste je gebaute Wrmepumpe stammt aus der Schweiz. Obwohl ein umfassendes Gasverteilnetz besteht, werden heute rund 75% der neuen Einfamilienhuser mit Wrmepumpen beheizt. Dieser Bericht prsentiert einige Highlights aus dieser Erfolgsgeschichte. Dabei werden die Schweizer Entwicklungen ins Zentrum gerckt und ihre Beziehungen zu den internationalen Meilensteinen aufgezeigt. Um anzudeuten, in welcher Richtung die knftigen Entwicklungen gehen knnten, werden auch einige neuere Arbeiten aus der Schweizer Wrmepumpenforschung vorgestellt.

    Der vollstndige Bericht erschien auch in deutscher Sprache [Zogg 2008b].

    Instead of a Glossary use http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

    Key Words: heat pump, history, pioneer, vapour compression cycle, absorption cycle,

    vapour recompression, Switzerland

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

  • Introduction 4

    Introduction.............................................................................................. 6

    1 WHY HEATING ONLY BY HEAT PUMPS? ...................................... 6

    2 SCIENTIFIC APPROACHES - HEAT PUMP FUNDAMENTALS .... 8

    3 THE PIONEERS BEFORE 1875...................................................... 10

    3.1. Components and Refrigeration 11 3.1.1 .Vapour Compression Cycle 11 3.1.2 .Absorption Cycle 12

    3.2. Mechanical Vapour Recompression 12

    4 INDUSTRIALISATION 1876-1918................................................... 13

    4.1. Components and Refrigeration 14 4.1.1 .Vapour Compression Cycle 14 4.1.2 .Absorption Cycle 16

    4.2. Vapour Recompression Swiss Pioneering Work 17

    5 HEAT PUMP HEATING BECOMING COMPETITIVE 1919-1950... 19

    5.1. Components and Refrigeration 19 5.1.1 .Vapour Compression Cycle 19 5.1.2 .Absorption Cycle 22

    5.2. Heat Pumps for Heating Swiss Pioneering Work 23 5.2.1 .Historic Heat Pumps of Zurich 24 5.2.2 .Other Heat Pumps of Special Interest 32

    5.3. Heat Pumps for Heating - International Milestones 33

    5.4. Mechanical Vapour Recompression - a Swiss Success Story 34

    6 THE PERIOD OF LOW OIL PRICE 1951-1972............................... 37

    6.1. Components and Refrigeration 37 6.1.1 .Vapour Compression Cycle 38 6.1.2 .Absorption Cycle 39

    6.2. Heat Pumps in Switzerland 39 6.2.1 .Rare Closed Loop Systems 39 6.2.2 .Success in Mechanical Vapour Recompression 40

    6.3. Heat Pumps International Milestones 40

  • Introduction 5

    7 ENTHUSIASM AND DISILLUSIONMENT 1973-1989 ..................... 41

    7.1 .Components and Refrigeration 42 7.1.1. Vapour Compression Cycle 42 7.1.2. Absorption Cycle 44

    7.2 .Heat Pumps for Heating - Swiss Contributions 45 7.2.1. Pioneers of Central Heat Pumps for Homes (10-50 kW) 45 7.2.2. Medium Size Heat Pump Systems (50-1000 kW) 49 7.2.3. Large Heat Pump Systems ( > 1 MW) 51 7.2.4. Pioneers of Borehole Heat Exchangers 54 7.2.5. Pioneers of Heat Recovery from Raw Sewage 56 7.2.6. Quality Control for Small Heat Pumps 57 7.2.7. Support by Public R & D 58 7.2.8. Support by Associations, Federal Administration and Media 60

    7.3 .Heat Pumps for Heating - International Milestones 61

    7.4 .Vapour Recompression Swiss Pioneering Work in Distillation 63

    8 THE SUCCESS STORY 1990 TODAY ......................................... 64

    8.1 .Components and Refrigeration 64

    8.2 .Heat Pumps for Heating - Swiss Contributions 65 8.2.1. Selected Installations and Developments 69 8.2.2. Swiss Retrofit Heat Pump Programme for Homes 76 8.2.3. Further Support by Public R & D 80 8.2.4. Support by Associations and the Federal Government 89 8.2.5. Quality Management 90 8.2.6. Vapour Recompression 93

    8.3 .Heat Pumps for Heating - International Milestones 93

    9 SPECIAL PRINCIPLES ................................................................... 96

    10 REFERENCES................................................................................. 99

  • WHY HEATING ONLY BY HEAT PUMPS? 6

    IINNTTRROODDUUCCTTIIOONN

    Ever since the Stone Age mankind has been able to produce heat by artificially sparked fires. But the problem of artificial cooling was much more complex and was not solved before about 1850 when pioneers invented the first refrigeration machines. The same machines can be used as heat pumps for heating. But it was the huge demand for cooling, which led to the rapid de-velopment of this newly discovered technique and to a triumphal dissemination around the globe. By 2005, more than 130 million unitary heat pumps for cooling and heating were operat-ing worldwide, and the annual sales attained 15 millions in Asia, 2 millions in North America and several hundred thousands in Europe [Groff 2005]. This illustrates the importance of the heat pump technology. In Europe there is a main demand for cooling in the southern regions only. In northern climate heating only and heating of domestic hot water by heat pumps are the standard applications for properly designed bui