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The primary goals of the proposed project were to develop, test, and evaluate a high performance and cost-effective vapor compression air-source heat pump for use in cold climate regions. Vapor compression heat pumps are a proven technology, and have been used for many years to meet heating requirements for buildings in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. However, in climate regions that experience very low outdoor ambient temperatures both the heating capacity and coefficient of performance (COP) of traditional air-source vapor compression heat pumps drops dramatically with a decrease in the outdoor air temperature. The efficiency of heat pumping equipment has improved substantially over the past 20 years; however, the efficiencies of the highest rated equipment on the market are approaching practical limits that cannot be surpassed without modifications to the basic cycle and possibly the use of additional hardware. In this report, three technologies to improve the efficiency of vapor compression systems are described. These are a) vapor injected compression, b) oil flooded compression and c) hybrid flow control of the evaporator. Compressor prototypes for both, oil flooded and vapor injected compression were developed by Emerson Climate Technologies. For the oil flooded compressor, the oil injection port location was optimizedmore » and an internal oil separator was added using several design iterations. After initial testing at Emerson Climate Technologies, further testing was done at Purdue University, and compressor models were developed. These models were then integrated into a system model to determine the achievable improvement of seasonal energy efficiency (SEER) for Minneapolis (Minnesota) climate. For the oil flooded compression, a 34% improvement in seasonal energy efficiency was found while a 21% improvement in seasonal energy efficiency ratio was found for the vapor injected compression. It was found that one benefit of both tested compression technologies is a lower discharge temperature, which allows for continued operation at lower ambient temperatures. A bin analysis of the vapor injected prototype cold climate heat pump predicts a 6% improvement in HSPF for Minneapolis. This improvement is mainly a result of the increased capacity of the system for active vapor injection. For the oil flooded system, a slightly larger performance improvement is predicted, in this case mostly caused by an increase in heating COP. Based on an economic analysis of these results, the maximum additional cost of the system changes, for the Minneapolis location, are $430 for the vapor injected system and $391 for the oil flooded system. These estimates assume that a 3-year simple payback period is accepted by the customer. For the hybrid flow control of evaporators, a new type of balancing valve was developed together with Emerson Climate technologies to reduce the cost of the control scheme. In contrast to conventional stepper motor valves, this valve requires less cables and can be driven by a cheaper output circuit on the control board. The correct valve size was determined in a dedicated test stand in several design iterations. The performance benefits of the hybrid control of the evaporator coil were determined for clean coil conditions as well as with partial blockage of the air inlet grille and under frosting conditions. For clean coil conditions, the benefits in terms of COP and capacity are negligible. However, significant benefits were noted for severely air-maldistributed operating conditions. For the H2-test, the maximum COP improvement of 17% along with a capacity improvement of nearly 40% was observed. Overall, the hybrid control scheme leads to a significant amount of performance improvement, if the air inlet conditions to the evaporator are maldistributed.« less
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  1. Purdue University
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Purdue University
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE; USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Program (EE-2J)
Contributing Orgs:
Emerson Climate Technologies, Carrier Corporation
Country of Publication:
United States
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION Cold climate heat pump, liquid flooded compression, vapor injected compression, heat exchanger maldistribution