UPDATED: IEA issues heating and cooling technology roadmap

By R744.com team, Jun 08, 2011, 12:29 6 minute reading

A new International Energy Agency roadmap underlines the importance of heat pumps in achieving a low carbon buildings sector. Further R&D is required to develop new products, reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Meanwhile, R&D efforts and incentives in Japan, have led to increased efficiencies of CO2 heat pumps among other products. UPDATE: The IEA underscored the key role heat pumps play in IEA CO2 emission reduction sce

In a June 2008 meeting in Aomori, Japan, Ministers from G8 countries requested the International Energy Agency (IEA) to prepare energy technology roadmaps to advance innovative energy technologies.

Published in 2011, the “Energy Efficient Buildings: Heating and Cooling Systems roadmap” is the first roadmap for the buildings sector, setting out a vision for heating and cooling equipment if the world is to achieve a 50% reduction in energy related CO2 emissions by 2050.

The role of heat pumps and thermal storage

Heat pumps for cooling, and space and water heating is identified by the IEA as one of the four key technology options for heating and cooling in buildings with the greatest long-term potential for CO2 emissions reductions, the remaining being active solar thermal, combined heat and power (CHP) and thermal storage.

Overall, heating and cooling technology solutions will allow the buildings sector to shift to a more sustainable future, saving 2 Gt CO2 by 2050. The increased deployment of heat pumps for space and water heating in particular, as well as the use of more efficient heat pumps for cooling account for 63% of the total heating and cooling technology savings (2 Gt CO2). To achieve this target, the IEA envisages 3,500 million installed heat pumps in the residential sector worldwide by 2050, compared to an estimated 800 million units installed worldwide in 2010.

Moreover, the IEA assesses that thermal energy storage will also play an increasingly important role, envisaging that by 2050 half of all space heating and hot water systems will be linked to thermal energy storage.

Heat pump R&D needs and efficiency goals

Overall, the IEA assesses that public and private sector investment in RD&D for heating and cooling technologies needs to increase by $3.5 billion (€2.45 billion) per year above today’s levels by 2030.

Regarding heat pumps, although they are a mature technology for many applications, further R&D is required to reduce costs, improve performance and develop new products that are optimised for a wider range of applications. The roadmap recommends the following R&D action:

 Action area  Milestones
R&D into more efficient components and systems for heat pumps for heating and cooling applications, as well as to reduce first-costs for heat pumps for heating and cooling. 20% improvement in COPs by 2020; 50% by 2030

15% reduction in costs by 2020; 25% improvement by 2030 
More efficient integrated heat pump systems (capable of simultaneous space/water heating and cooling) capable of meeting needs of low- energy buildings and interfacing with smart grids/home energy management systems. Begin deployment in 2015, widespread deployment from 2020
Efficient low-temperature space heating systems and high-temperature space cooling systems integrated with heat pumps.  All new buildings capable of accepting low-temperature heating/high-temperature cooling by 2020 in OECD
Development of hybrid heat pump systems (e.g. with solar thermal) with very high efficiency and CO2 savings  Widespread deployment from 2020-25

More specifically, the roadmap identifies the following areas where research is needed:
  • Equipment and components: Decrease costs and increase reliability and performance through more efficient components (heat exchangers; compressors; expansion devices/valves; fans, circulators and drives; heat pump cycles; variable speed compressors; defrosting strategies; advanced system design - including for colder climates; smart controls).
  • Systems/applications: Optimise component integration and improve heat pump design and installations for specific applications to achieve higher seasonal efficiency in wider capacity ranges. Improve optimisation with ventilation systems in larger applications.
  • Control and operation: Develop intelligent control strategies to adapt operation to variable loads and optimise annual performance. Develop automatic fault detection and diagnostic tools. Improve communication with building energy management systems and upstream to smart energy grids.
  • Integrated and hybrid systems: Develop integrated heat pump systems that combine multiple functions (e.g. space-conditioning and water heating) and hybrid heat pump systems that are paired with other energy technologies (e.g. storage, solar thermal and other energy sources) in order to achieve very high levels of performance.
IEA presents heat pumps as key to achieving a low-carbon building sector, at the 2011 EHPA Forum

The IEA’s Michael Taylor reviewed the findings from the Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) 2010 report at the 4th EHPA Forum, an event dedicated to reporting on developments affecting heat pump technology in Europe. The ETP document reinforces previous conclusions that current carbon-intensive energy trends are unsustainable, and that using a mixture of existing and new technologies it is possible to reduce worldwide energy-related CO2 emissions by 50% by 2050.  

According to the IEA BLUE scenario, switching from fossil fuel heating to efficient heat pumps will play a key role in decarbonising the energy end-user sector and achieving cost-effective CO2 emission reductions. Under the IEA Blue scenario, global CO2 emissions across all sectors are halved by 2050 compared to 2005 levels.

The model forecasts that end-use fuel switching as a whole, which includes changing to heat pump to meet space and water heating needs, has the potential to achieve 15% of the CO2 reductions.
Heat pumps have a particularly key role to play in the IEA BLUE scenario CO2 emission reductions for buildings.

Mr. Taylor also referred to the IEA “Technology Roadmap on Energy-Efficient Buildings: Heating and Cooling Equipment”, according to which heat pumps are one of four pivotal technologies for buildings with large potential to help chart a path towards a low carbon future. 

For heat pumps to play their part, the IEA urges that complementary policies be developed that address barriers such as awareness raising of low/zero carbon heating and cooling equipment in the fragmented building sector. Also, better data is to be collected to aid the development of information packages for decision-makers.

Lastly, the presentation reiterated the IEA recommendation that 3.5 billion a year be spent on RD&D by 2030 to help reduce costs and improve best available technologies (BAT).
Efficiency track of CO2 heat pump water heaters in Japan

In the latest newsletter of the IEA Heat Pump Centre, Shogo Tokura, of the Heat Pump & Thermal Storage Technology Center of Japan discusses policy actions in Japan and beyond to improve energy efficiency in buildings.

Japan’s Top Runner programme as well as tax incentives and subsidies have helped to raise coefficients of performance (COPs) in the past ten years:

  • Eco Cute, the CO2 refrigerant heat pump water heater that was introduced in 2001, has improved the mid-term unit efficiency of heat source equipment and achieved a COP of 5.1 from an initial COP of about 3.5. Eco Cute sales have reached 2.5 million units at the end of September 2010.
  • Centrifugal chillers for commercial and industrial uses have also improved their efficiency by about 40 % and achieved COPs of 7.0.
  • The COP of heat pump air conditioners in Japan increased from around 4.3 in 1997 to around 6.6 in 2008.
The Japanese government is currently pursuing breakthrough technologies, including expansion dynamics recovery technology, super-high-efficient heat exchange, next-generation refrigerant, operation in extremely cold climates, heat recovery and utilisation of waste heat.

About the IEA

The International Energy Agency (IEA), an autonomous agency, was established in November 1974. Its primary mandate was - and is - two-fold: to promote energy security amongst its member countries through collective response to physical disruptions in oil supply, and provide authoritative research and analysis on ways to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. The IEA carries out a comprehensive programme of energy co-operation among its member countries, each of which is obliged to hold oil stocks equivalent to 90 days of its net imports.  


By R744.com team (@r744)

Jun 08, 2011, 12:29

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