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High Temperature Heat Pumps

Heat Pumps are conversion devices able to transfer heat from a lower temperature heat source into a higher temperature heat sink. Within the last years, due to its large potential, its use for industrial application, recovering heat either from renewable sources or waste heat has been in the focus of the thermal sector. Industrial waste heat represents a valuable heat source for heat upgrade technologies due to its relatively high-temperature level in the form of, e.g. cooling liquid in refrigeration machines, wastewater, warm compressed air, or moist exhaust air.

Overall, great application potential for Industrial Heat Pump technologies or High Temperature Heat Pumps (HTHP) has been identified for applications in the supply temperature range of 100 - 150°C  in the food, paper, and chemical/pharma industries, in particular in drying processes, as well as in pasteurizing, sterilizing, evaporation, and distillation. On the other hand, steam is a commonly used form of energy in industrial process heating, especially in lower temperatures (<200ºC), being a significant amount of energy used in several industrial sectors, such as pulp & paper, food & beverages and chemical sectors. 

The application of heat pump technologies opens additionally new options for sector coupling of electricity, heating, and cooling and provides flexibility, e.g. through heat storage in industrial plants. There are several available HTHP technologies, but each has its advantages and disadvantages. In particular, the degree of integration, e.g. at the process, utility, or supply level, affects the profitability and the ability to retrofit heat upgrade technologies in existing industrial plants.

In recent years, there are several start-up companies, and customers are also willing/forced to switch from fossil fuel-based technologies to industrial heat pump technologies, but progress has been slow. Several heat pump manufacturers are beginning to offer products, but further development and demonstration are needed. Despite their efficiency potential and demonstration as a mature and efficient technology below 100°C supply temperature, industrial heat pump technologies have hardly been integrated into the industry for supply temperatures above 100°C.

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Circular economyClimate resilienceWasteEnergyIndustrySustainable fuelTechnology
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