‘At heart it’s the same technology’: the heat pump that uses water instead of air

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Scientists successful Edinburgh person developed a location heating strategy that draws its power from nan world’s astir abundant resource: water.

The instrumentality tin usage oversea water, rivers, ponds and moreover excavation h2o to power radiators and h2o for baths and showers, utilizing nan aforesaid exertion arsenic successful aerial root power pumps.

It is being trialled by Edinburgh University successful an affordable lodging task adjacent to nan Firth of Forth adjacent nan Forth Bridge, astatine a gold-mining depository successful south-west Scotland and successful a commercialized greenhouse successful Fife.

Another strategy is owed to beryllium installed this summertime astatine nan Scottish Seabird Centre successful North Berwick, besides drafting its power from nan Firth of Forth. All of nan systems usage h2o from nan oversea aliases adjacent rivers.

It is nan latest measurement of exploiting nan ambient warmth successful nan earthy situation to power buildings, utilizing nan aforesaid technologies successful aerial and crushed root power pumps.

The warmth of nan oversea aliases stream h2o is captured by glycol, nan liquid utilized successful anti-freeze, which is past compressed successful nan power pump. That compression makes it basking capable to power h2o for radiators aliases baths. As it travels done nan power pump, nan liquid cools down again, and nan process repeats.

Dr Andrew Fraser Harris and Professor Christopher McDermott pinch nan SeaWarm strategy – layers of looped tubing carrying nan glycol, which transfers nan warmth of nan h2o to nan power pump.
Dr Andrew Fraser Harris and Professor Christopher McDermott pinch nan SeaWarm strategy – layers of looped tubing carrying nan glycol, which transfers nan warmth of nan h2o to nan power pump. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

Similar exertion is already utilized successful ample territory heating networks: h2o from nan Clyde is utilized astatine nan Queen’s Quay lodging development astatine Clydebank adjacent Glasgow. Sewage is being utilized to powerfulness territory heating systems successful places specified arsenic Stirling, Borders assemblage successful Galashiels, and successful Granton, Edinburgh.

Unlike large-scale plants, nan prototypes built by hydrogeologists astatine Edinburgh University are designed to beryllium compact, easy portable and utilized successful homes and smaller buildings, peculiarly successful agrarian and coastal areas.

They are intended to supply different type of nan small-scale greenish power systems needed successful immense numbers to switch gas- and oil-powered heating, arsenic nan UK moves towards a zero-carbon power supply. The UK has astir 23m state boilers, and astir 1m oil-fired boilers.

The squad down nan creation said h2o was usually a much predictable root of power than nan extracurricular air, arsenic nan sea, lakes and rivers mostly stay astatine a accordant temperature.

It sits alongside nan mini-hydro schemes utilized successful hilly areas aliases nan ground-source power pumps householders pinch ample gardens tin install, by moving pipes down heavy boreholes into nan crushed aliases by laying nan pipes complete a ample area beneath nan aboveground of nan ground.

While aerial root power pumps request to activity harder successful very acold conditions, nan Edinburgh University squad opportunity their designs, which they person called SeaWarm and RiverWarm, tin besides usage stiff water.

“It’s astir trying retired a full bid of constellations, but astatine nan bosom of it is nan aforesaid technology,” said Prof Chris McDermott, from Edinburgh’s schoolhouse of geosciences and nan lead designer.

Gus Fraser-Harris, a hydrogeologist progressive pinch nan design, said nan strategy would beryllium much costly to bargain and instal than an aerial root power pump but cheaper than a crushed root power pump erstwhile its last type goes connected sale.

The SeaWarm strategy collects nan h2o successful a ample information tub, which holds 3.7 cubic metres of water, astir nan aforesaid measurement arsenic 12 bath tubs. Inside nan tub are layers of looped tubing carrying nan glycol, which transfers nan warmth of nan h2o to nan power pump. It tin usage a h2o assemblage 500 metres distant from nan building.

The main operating serviceman of Lar Housing Trust, Mikko Ramstedt, successful what was nan jailhouse of nan Naval Barracks wherever nan power pump is astatine work, heating radiators.
The main operating serviceman of Lar Housing Trust, Mikko Ramstedt, successful what was nan jailhouse of nan Naval Barracks wherever nan power pump is astatine work, heating radiators. Photograph: Murdo MacLeod/The Guardian

They person called nan strategy HotTwist and opportunity nan tub tin beryllium buried successful nan ground, which besides helps to support it astatine a changeless temperature. It delivers 350% to 400% much power than nan energy it needs to operate, Fraser-Harris said, comparable to nan astir businesslike aerial root power pumps.

The aviator task adjacent Edinburgh, portion of a task by LAR Housing Trust to person an aged naval barracks and situation into affordable lodging project, involves pumping h2o up from nan sea.

The gold-mining depository astatine Wanlockhead, southbound of Glasgow, uses gravity to transportation h2o from nan stream utilized for gold-panning down to nan power pump, while nan greenhouses successful Fife return h2o from a adjacent burn.

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Source theguardian
theguardian