Case of the Week: Week 43 - Coefficient of Performance
Are you an interested in heating or cooling supply? Does your company manufacture heat exchangers or heat pumps? Would you like to know more about the coefficient of performance (COP)? This case of the week is about understanding this key indicator in heat pump science.
The Coefficient of Performance (COP) is a ratio of useful heating or cooling provided to work required. It’s calculated separately for heating and for cooling. COP is a reference measure in heat pumps, refrigerators or air conditioning systems. Generally speaking - higher COP equates to lower operating costs. The COP usually exceeds 1, especially in heat pumps. Instead of just converting work to heat (which would be 1 in perfect conditions), it pumps additional heat from a heat source to where the heat is required. For complete systems, COP calculations should include energy consumption of all power consuming auxiliaries. In that context, even thought electric heat pumps seem more efficient to drive energy from condenser to evaporator, they have a lot of hidden inefficiencies in electricity supply which in most cases is coming from turbines (about 40% efficiency).
SaltX salts very often are part of a heat pump system. Whenever the salt is used for energy storage, it absorbs the energy from a heat source. To release the energy, salt reacts with water vapor or other gasses. Evaporating water or other gasses absorb the energy. Hence, the evaporating reservoir is acting as a cooling part of a heat pump and salt-containing part is acting as a heating part. This is an absorption type of system. SaltX Technology offers several recipes of salts which have different COPs. Since the condenser side is tied to the source heat that drives the heat pump, the heating COPs are not exceeding 2. For most salts, heating COP is around 1.4-1.7. Cooling COP is around 0.4-0.7. This means that if one puts into the system 1kWh of heat, on average they can expect to get out about 1.6kWh of heat and 0.6kWh of cooling in theory.
SaltX Technology can be very useful in the cases where waste heat is generated - free heat compared to paid electricity makes absorption heat pumps a very desirable system. SaltX salts can also deliver high temperatures that are usually not possible using electricity driven heat pumps.
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Here are a few sources of information about COPs and heat pumps:
Refrigeration and heat pump examples in numbers:
Chiller efficiency calculations:
Information about Heat Pumps:
Information about COP and its calculation:
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