HyCool’s technology helps industrial processes to achieve higher refrigeration efficiency by integrating solar heat with hybrid heat pump technology. The performance of a hybrid adsorption-compression cooling system mainly depends on the operation parameters of the process. We have developed a “Refrigeration Capacity and EER Calculator Tool” that helps you estimate the performance of hybrid heat pump technology based on hot water temperature, chilled water temperature, and dry cooler outlet temperature.
During this online encounter, a selection of fifteen H2020 EU-funded projects gathered experts from the biomass, geothermal, solar thermal and heat pump sectors to explore a shared strategy to expand the use of renewable energy technology for building and industrial heating and cooling processes.
These technologies offer efficient and increasingly cost-competitive solutions to energy consumption.
Figure 1. Banner for “Renewable Heating and Cooling Solutions for Buildings and Industry Workshop” at SP2020.
In the course of the workshop, the projects were grouped into four categories according to their focus: (1) RHC for industrial applications; (2) storage solutions for RHC building support; (3) innovative solutions for RHC building deployment; (4) demonstration actions for RHC in buildings.
Within the first cluster reviewing Renewable Heating and Cooling (RHC) for industries, Dr. Jakob offered a view of HyCool’s mission to increase the use of solar heat in industrial processes. For instance, HyCool’s solution combines solar collectors with adsorption chillers, that use solar energy to produce steam, heating, and cooling energy with greater efficiency.
Figure 2. Slide from Dr. Jakob’s presentation at SP2020.
Furthermore, Dr. Jakob’s shared the key equipment composing HyCool’s innovation and how it will be tested on the two pilot sites where HyCool will use the latest available developments in both concentrated solar panels and thermal storage fields to develop two innovative hybrid solar system concepts: one for chemical industrial processes primarily meant for solar steam and cooling energy provision and one for the small food industry primarily meant for solar cooling production.
Figure 3. Slide from Dr. Jakob’s presentation at SP2020.
In addition, Dr. Jakob showed how the HyCool’s Pre-feasibility Simulator can enable users to evaluate whether or not HyCool’s technology is suitable for a given industrial cooling process.
More About the Workshop
In conclusion, to further support the increase in the share of renewable energy across the EU, the production and validation of RHC solutions are of primary importance. The numerous fields of application in which innovative RHC technologies are proposed and currently investigated to demonstrate the relevance of this subject. Their performance and reliability must be demonstrated in order to achieve large distribution, because one of the key obstacles is the reluctance of industrial firms to implement new technologies, which can cause problems in production processes.
What seems necessary is to continue and improve cooperation between EU partners in order to take advantage of the expertise gained and to explore the social obstacles to the implementation of these solutions.
The hybrid heat pump constitutes one of the core elements of the HyCool solution for solar cooling in industry and, therefore, its optimal design is crucial to achieving high performance of the overall system. Since the very beginning of the project, the Fahrenheit team has been working on a prototype of the hybrid heat pump with the goal of obtaining highest efficiency while keeping the machine simple and reliable. In the early spring of 2019, the first prototype HyCool XHHP01 was ready for testing. The results of the tests performed by CNR have shown a very good performance of the prototype and have indicated a few areas, which still needed improvement. Currently, the Fahrenheit team is making use of the time left before the installation of the pilot sites to optimize the functionalities of the hybrid heat pump. Three members of the team explain to us the general concept of the hybrid heat pump, how they want to optimize the prototype, and what challenges are still ahead of them.
The hybrid heat pump constitutes one of the core elements of the HyCool solution for solar cooling in industry and, therefore, its optimal design is crucial to achieving high performance of the overall system.
Eliza Nowak, Project Engineer at Fahrenheit GmbH, on the general concept of the hybrid heat pump
The term “hybrid” refers to a combination of two or more interconnected and co-operating heat pumps based on different principles of operation. In our case, the developed prototype consists of an adsorption and a compression heat pump connected in such a way that the evaporator of the adsorption unit cools down the condenser of the compression one. This lowers the condensation temperature below the one resulting from the outdoor conditions. Lower condensation temperature means higher EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio – ratio of the delivered cooling capacity to the consumed electrical power) of the compression chiller. Of course, to make this layout feasible, the savings of the electrical power consumption of the compressor due to higher EER should be higher than the additional power consumption of the adsorption unit and its auxiliaries.
Doreen Acker, Software Developer at Fahrenheit GmbH, on the prototype optimization
In terms of the control software optimization, we are implementing two changes in the HyCool XHHP01 prototype. The first one is the introduction of a free cooling mode, to allow the use of low external temperatures for cooling of the compression unit’s condenser. In brief, in the free cooling mode the condensation heat of the compression chiller is dissipated directly to the ambient air via the dry cooler. If the outdoor temperatures are low enough to ensure the condensing temperature of the compression chiller as low as or lower than with the use of the adsorption chiller, which happens mostly in winter and during night time, the system will operate more efficiently in the free cooling mode. The operation of the system resembles the standard operation of the compression chiller and saves the electrical power needed to drive the circulating pumps of the adsorption chiller. Thanks to the clever hydraulic connections in the adsorption unit, we can implement this new operation mode through a software update without the need to rebuild anything in hydraulics. The second change is the optimized start-up procedure. After the tests performed by the colleagues from CNR, they suggested that the compression unit should be started when the temperature in the cold water circuit of the adsorption unit reaches a specified threshold. In this way, we will ensure favourable conditions for the operation of the compression unit at all times.
René Weinitschke, After Sales & Factory Service Engineer at Fahrenheit GmbH, on the data logging and Cloud solutions
In order to evaluate the performance of the hybrid heat pump, we have to perform measurements and collect meaningful data. Some of the measurements will be carried out by the main control system based on the sensors installed on the pipelines but there are also quite a few sensors installed inside the prototype. The values from these sensors will not be sent to the main control system; rather we plan to collect them in the Cloud. We have not used this technology so far, but its implementation in our commercial projects is one of our priorities. It will not only help our After Sales services, but also contribute to our technology development. HyCool is a great opportunity for us to test this solution! From the beginning, we have to place great emphasis on the data security, especially because the pilot plants will be installed in “real-life” factories.
According to the current execution plan, the optimized prototype of the hybrid heat pump is going to be delivered to the Bo de Debó demo site in October 2019. After proper installation and commissioning, the operation of the hybrid heat pump will be monitored for 12 consecutive months. Based on the collected data the Fahrenheit team will evaluate its performance. It is expected that due to the optimization measures implemented, the prototype will show even better performance than what was achieved during the first tests at CNR.
The HyCool project is ramping up the development of the exciting “HyCool Toolset” that couples innovative concentrated solar thermal collectors with novel hybrid-heat pumps to achieve a wider temperature output range of renewable heating & cooling for any industrial environment or process which may need cooling.
To demonstrate the solar refrigeration concept underpinning the “HyCool Toolset”, a “pre-feasibility simulator” or PFS has been released on the project’s website (https://hycool-project.eu/prefeasibility/). The HyCool PFS in seconds tells users how well this HyCool solar refrigeration concept fits to any given industrial cooling process.
The HyCool PFS is conceived for any user interested in deploying renewable energy into an industrial process. The inputs asked for the simulation are about the process and the estimated temperature:
Industrial process & internal temperature – only the required cooling temperature, the electricity price and the amount of full-load operation hours of the process are needed.
Estimated solar irradiation and external temperature – an irradiation map is provided; you’ll determine the yearly average Direct Normal Irradiation at the industrial site being simulated. Furthermore, you will need the average external temperature, which can be easily found on the web.
Once you have input the above data into the PFS, you will be able to evaluate the suitability of solar refrigeration for your industrial process in just a couple of seconds. If your industrial cooling process turns out to be feasible, you can contact the HyCool team via the project website and refer to your PFS-ID. You must know the tool only provides a very rough evaluation and is not meant for commercial use.
Users receive a free, private dataset that fully complies with GDPR and is first shown on-screen and subsequently auto-emailed to you. Results are concise, and scores range from 0 to 40 with 0 meaning no suitability and 40 being perfectly suitabile.
With little or no understanding of solar thermal energy and heat pump technology, and very little data about the process being simulated, the HyCool PFS offers the public a glimpse of Industry 4.0 with high efficiency, energy flexibility to reduce consumption, and a high penetration of renewables for industry.
The business cases are currently being piloted across Europe for the market-ready hardware to enter commercialisation planning phase by 2020. HyCool encourages you to test the PFS today!