2010 EHPA report
Outlook 2010: European Heat Pump Statistics
The European Heat Pump Association has recently published its annual report on the performance and sales trends, development and outlook in the European market for heat pumps.
This technology is gaining a very strong interest in recent years, mainly related to the response that this can give in terms of reducing energy consumption and thus pollutant emissions, due to widespread use of renewable resources.
The report highlights a scenario of the European market for heating and air conditioning technologies in large and important change, putting the focus on concepts and technologies that until a few years ago were not known or were considered less common, such as the gas absorption heat pumps.
We've pulled out some passages of the report, which seem significant to better delineate the scenario concerning the use of heat pumps in air conditioning and in particular those thermally driven.
Heat pumps and use of renewable energy
The push towards using renewable energy technologies, in particular carried out by the known RES Directive, aims to significantly reduce both consumption of primary energy and the resulting emissions into the atmosphere. On this front, Italy is certainly not among the best performing countries, as it is close to the lasts in the ranking of the use of renewable energy (air-source, ground-source and water-source energy) through the installation of heat pumps.
Also heat pumps will be equipped with energy label (according to ErP Directive 2009/125/EC) considering the efficiency of the equipment, calculated on primary energy. The conversion of primary energy (PER), defined by Eurostat as the average value of the Member States, is currently equal to 2.5 for electricity and 1 for fossil fuels. This means that the primary energy used by an electric heat pump is 2.5 times greater than that consumed directly from the equipment, while the energy consumed by gas heat pumps is already primary energy.
To facilitate the understanding of the efficiency of the equipment by the consumer this efficiency will be expressed in energy classes from class A + + + (for efficiencies greater than 125%) to G class (efficiencies below 40%). The consumer that will choose the equipment with the best energy class will benefit from subsidies and incentives, which will be promoted by the European Parliament.
The thermally driven heat pumps
The gas powered heat pump is a market segment that it is still relatively small, but promising for its development. This technology is now able to meet virtually all requirements of heating, air conditioning and production of domestic hot water.
In a gas absorption heat pump the evaporated refrigerant is absorbed in a liquid solution (ammonia / water). The energy required for activation of the cycle is provided by a modulating gas burner.
The technology of heat pumps gas absorption is mature and reliable. This has been widely used for decades in the field of refrigeration. Its application in heating is achieved simply by using reversible cooling cycle.
The key drivers of performance of thermally driven heat pumps are:
- contribution to the achievement of EU targets concerning energy and climate: reduction of CO2 emissions from 30 to 40% compared to traditional heating technologies, primary energy savings and energy efficiency, diversification of energy sources;
- application in areas with insufficient electricity grid and in areas with harsh weather (and supply of gas available);
- lower costs for geothermal probes due to the need for a smaller heat source and reduced need for back-up systems due to reduced demand for power;
- outlet temperature up to 70° C: compatible with retrofit applications and production of domestic hot water;
- refrigerants not harmful for the environment (H2O/NH3): absence of fluorinated chemicals, no risk for the global warming;
- possibility of reversible heating and cooling.
The high outlet temperature that can be obtained from the absorption heat pumps makes them directly applicable to existing heating systems. Thanks to their design for water applications, these heat pumps are easily integrable with other heating technologies, such as solar panels, condensing boilers or electric heat pumps.
ROBUR S.p.A. has been producing since several years the gas absorption heat pumps using water / ammonia cycle. The GAHP units use all sources of renewable energy (air, water, ground).
The sale of reliable and high quality absorption heat pumps is growing (source: IEA Heat Pump Centre Newsletter - Volume 27 - No. 4 / 2009 - Giovanni Restuccia, CNR-ITAE, Italy). In the market segment of light commercial at the end of 2009 were running more than 4,000 systems in Europe (source: ROBUR S.p.A.). It is expected that a greater awareness and availability of technology on the market will create a growing demand in many European markets.
Following the decisions taken by the Kyoto agreement and the requirements laid down at European level, several countries have set specific targets for reducing carbon dioxide emissions to the environment.
In several European countries, gas absorption heat pumps are supported through financial incentives in order to facilitate consumer adoption and use of available technologies on the market.
Here are some countries that support the thermally driven heat pumps:
In Austria GAHP are supported by two different incentives: 30% comes from central government grant, 10% from Regions.
The French government facilitates the use of absorption heat pumps in the same way as done for electric heat pumps that are very common in France.
The current law on the use of renewable energy requires a coefficient of efficiency (ACOP) minimum for absorption heat pumps equal to 1.2. The federal program of market incentives was revised in February 2010 and includes contributions of up to 2,400 euro for each apartment powered by gas heat pumps.
Provides tax incentives equal to 55% for the installation of heat pumps in heating systems to replace existing heat generators. There are also other incentives promoted by regional and local administrations.
The Dutch government promotes the use of gas absorption heat pumps through subsidies proportional to the thermal power installed.
The technical associations of Germany (DVGW), Switzerland (SVGW) and Austria (ÖVGW) are working together to create standardized rules and support for these technologies.