Fuel driven sorption heat pumps. Overview of the technology, market and system performance
A number of recent publications and studies identify fuel driven sorption heat pumps (FSHP) as a promising technology for heating and DHW preparation in residential buildings. The technology is seen by many as the next step in the development of fossil fuel heating systems. It can considerably increase the energy efficiency and usage of renewable energy sources while decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, compared with current state-of-the-art. With expected net decarbonisation of gas grid by increasing biogas production and development of power-to-gas concepts, the FSHP, especially gas-fired heat pumps, may further gain in importance. Presently, vapour compression heat pumps are dominating the heat pump market. However, in gas and/or oil dominating heating markets, FSHP can rapidly improve the carbon footprint of heating systems, especially in the retrofit segment which makes around three quarters of the overall heating market. A number of products are offered by different manufacturers with more expected to enter the market in the short to mid-term period. Still, there are several challenges the technology is currently facing, both technical and non-technical. The paper provides results of a comprehensive simulation study of the future German energy system with emphasis on the role of gas-fired heat pumps (GHP) as part of the solution to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It gives an overview of current market products and on-going development work. A comparison regarding acquisition and operational costs for different technologies is given with conclusions regarding development work needed to reach better market penetration for sorption technologies. Finally, the goals and structure of IEA HPT Annex 43 is shortly presented.