Thermal heat pump

Thermal heat pump

A heat pump is a heat recovery system that is based on a heat/cold cycle. A thermal heat pump recovers thermal energy from environmental energy (environmental medium), e.g. hot exhaust air or hot water. It can be based on different carrier media. The most common types are water-air- and water-water-based systems. In both systems the carrier medium water is a refrigerant.

A heat pump works according to the Carnot process. The refrigerant circulates inside the thermal heat pump. From outside, the environmental medium is fed into the thermal heat pump either via a direct evaporator or a brine-split system. Due to the heat of the environmental medium, the refrigerant evaporates over a certain period of time. The resulting vapor is transferred to a compressor to be compressed. For compression, conventional energy has to be fed to the compressor to achieve a ratio of 4:1 of environmental energy to electricity or gas.

The compression process generates heat, which then heats the gaseous refrigerant. The heated vapor is then transferred to a condenser. A condenser works similar to a heat exchanger. The refrigerant gas return in the condenser to a liquid state. During this process, the contained heat from the vapor is transferred to a third medium, e.g. fresh air or process water. In the last step, the liquefied refrigerant is transferred to a throttle which reduces the pressure on the refrigerant. Afterwards, the heat pump cycle begins anew.

Especially the production exhaust air of energy-intensive industries often contains high levels of valuable process waste heat.  To recover this energy for further processing steps, KMA Umwelttechnik uses highly efficient thermal heat pumps combined with high-performance KMA heat exchangers. This is particularly necessary if the heat exchanger alone cannot produce the necessary tempeartures required for subsequent processing steps. For such cases, the KMA heat exchanger is followed by a highly efficient KMA heat pump.

The high coefficient of performance (COP) of KMA thermal heat pumps is based on the high initial temperatures. Thermal heat pumps are also used in case of low exhaust air temperatures. The system can be used in reverse to cool the production halls during the warmer months.