Oil-free, heat pumps, thermal storage, renewables
The goal to decarbonize buildings is quickly driving growth in the adoption of heat pumps to replace fossil fuel-based heating equipment. The trend is significantly driven by the integration of renewables in the electric grid, also replacing fossil fuel-based sources, to in-turn drive decarbonization. The impact of this change is greater if also changing out end-use fossil fuel-based heating equipment to electric-driven. With the trend to heat pumps, there is a critical choice on both the scale and corresponding heat source. The heat pumps can be implemented with ambient air as the heat source or with other higher temperature/efficiency sources such as geothermal, process or district cooling heat recovery. Nevertheless, these sources are not always available in close proximity to the heat load. This raises the opportunity for larger-scale heating systems, serving multiple loads and with the corresponding opportunity to integrate one or more potential higher-temperature heat recovery heat sources. A related critical factor with the growth of heat pumps is resiliency. The term has historically mainly been associated with critical facilities and the ability to withstand critical events. Now it’s evolving because of that same integration of renewables into the power grid and their inconsistent availability. Now resiliency has more to do with preparing for this periodic unavailability – Ensuring that demand is met when supply is not necessarily available. This paper will present a concept for a community heating and cooling system utilizing oil-free turbo compressor technology, to address the electrification of heating while also taking advantage of multiple higher-temperature heat sources. The technology and heat sources ensure the most efficient system possible, resulting in minimum operating costs and maximum decarbonization, while the community configuration and multiple sources ensure resiliency, consistently meeting the demand requirements.