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Theoretical Development of Supersonic Compressors for High Efficiency Industrial Heat Pumps

   Faculty of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment

  Prof N J Hewitt, Dr Nikhilkumar Shah  Monday, February 27, 2023  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The electrification of industrial heating processes is seen in conjunction with combinations of waste heat recovery applications, heat networks and geothermal energy resources which are part of the UK’s heat decarbonisation pathways. The aim of this research is to model advanced vapour compression heat pump technology that incorporates high-speed compressors to improve efficiency of high temperature lift industrial heat pumps.

Given that it is beneficial to also avoid environmental impacts directly caused by the working fluids, water (R718) will be initially considered as the working fluid. High Coefficients of Performance (COP ≥ 5) at lower temperature lifts for turbo (centrifugal) compressors have been achieved but challenges remain in terms of increases in impeller size with increased temperature lift, choice of bearings (gas-lubricated, magnetic etc), efficiency, compactness and the higher speeds and temperatures proposed. Speeds of 100,000 rpm to 650,000 rpm are now feasible at lower temperatures.

Thus, the novelty is to take this technology basis and model its operation at higher temperatures and pressures (that are well within standard refrigeration plant tolerances) in order to address a hard-to-treat sector of industrial heat decarbonisation. This is then a precursor to the development of a future experimental system.


Thermal characteristics of high-temperature R718 heat pumps with turbo compressor thermal vapor recompression, (2017), Milan N. Šarevski, Vasko N. Šarevski, Applied Thermal Engineering 117 (2017) 355–365
Small, High-Speed, Oil-Free Radial Turbo compressors for Cooling Applications: Refrigerant Selection (2018), Konstantinos Kontomaris, Cordin Arpagaus, Stefan S. Bertsch, Jürg Schiffmann, International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference, Purdue University.
The performance comparison of high temperature heat pump among R718 and other refrigerants (2020) Di Wu, Bin Hu, R.Z. Wang, Haibin Fan, Rujin Wang, Renewable Energy 154 (2020)
Fleiter T, Elsland R, Rehfeldt M, Steinbach J, Reiter U, Catenazzi G, et al. Profile of heating and cooling demand in 2015 2017.
Energy saving potential of high temperature heat pumps in the UK Food and Drink sector (2019) Samuel JG Cooper, Geoffrey P Hammond, Neil Hewitt, Jonathan B Norman, Savvas A Tassou, Walid Youssef, Energy Procedia, Volume 161, March 2019, Pages 142-149

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