Solar Thermal, Heat Pump
This paper outlines the design of an active solar thermal loop system that will be integrated with an air source heat pump hot water heater to provide highly efficient heating of a water/propylene glycol mixture. This system design uses solar energy when available, but reverts to the heat pump at night or during cloudy weather. This new design will be used for hydronic heating in the Applied Energy Laboratory, a teaching laboratory at Purdue University, but it is more generally applicable for a residential scale system that could be used for both hydronic heating and hot water production. This combined system should provide efficient heating at a fraction of the operating costs of competing electric, gas, or even heat pump water heaters. The initial cost of installing a similar system is currently relatively high, but it should be noted that the design is still in the prototype stage. The price should reduce dramatically when the system is commercialized. There are multiple applications where the production of heated fluid by a combined solar/heat pump hydronic system can be much more attractive than conventional heating methods. Construction and implementation of this proposed design will take place summer of 2014 and data collection will be pursued afterwards.