A French start-up presents its new residential acoustic heat pump – pv magazine International

Equium has developed a new heat pump core capable of producing between 3 and 4 kW of heat for every kilowatt of energy consumed. According to the company, the device operating without refrigerant gas could generate domestic hot water at temperatures that reach 80°C.

According pv international magazine

French start-up Equium has developed a heat pump core that operates using acoustic waves and produces hot and cold air. Equium manufactures the core and works with another company to integrate it into heat pump systems. The units, designed for residential applications, range from 1 kW to 3 kW.

This new heat pump can reach higher temperatures than existing pumps without using refrigerant gases. It works through a Hi-Fi speaker (high fidelity) that creates an acoustic wave in a container filled with helium at a pressure of 30 bar. The acoustic wave causes the gas to compress or expand, moving heat from a lower temperature to a higher temperature, or vice versa. The heart of the heat pump is filled with water, which absorbs or releases this heat.

“The acoustic wave carries out the work of compressing and expanding the gas which produces heat or cold respectively”, indicates Philippe Loyer, product manager at Equium, to pv-magazine.

According to him, the heat pump can produce domestic water up to 80°C. One of the main advantages of the acoustic heat pump, compared to traditional units that use refrigerants, would be its ability to reach very high or very low temperatures.

“Traditional heat pumps use refrigerants that have a temperature limit. This corresponds to the phase change temperature of the coolant, when it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state, he explains. In our heart, helium remains in the form of a gas. Since helium remains a gas down to -200°C, we can reach higher temperatures inside our heat pump core. »

The heat pump must work with all external heat sources, including air sources ranging from -15 to 50°C. Since its core is filled with water, it works ideally as a pump for water and geothermal heat. To use it as an air source heat pump, it is possible to equip the unit with a fan that transfers heat from the air to the water, adds Philippe Loyer.

The acoustic heat pump has a coefficient of performance of three to four, which means it produces between 3 kW and 4 kW of heat for every kilowatt of electricity consumed. Equium targets a thermal power of 8 to 10 kW for the heat pump core, specifies Philippe Loyer. Easy to install, its service life is 30 years. Also, it offers better modulation than traditional units. “We have the same efficiency as traditional heat pumps, but with better modulation thanks to acoustic transfer”, he says.

Traditional fixed output units cycle on and off several times a day, going from zero capacity to full capacity to achieve the correct temperature balance. This is not the case with the new heat pump, which modulates its output power to constantly supply the desired temperature.

“Regulating the power of a conventional heat pump consumes a lot of energy. In our acoustic system, adjustment is very easy, continues Philippe Loyer. If you want less power, just lower the volume on the Hi-Fi speaker.”

Equium ensures that your heat pump system is completely silent despite the use of a loudspeaker to generate the acoustic wave. The noise level would in fact be less than 30 dB, the equivalent of a whisper.

“The sound produced by our system remains confined inside the heart, so it is impossible to hear it outside”, says Philippe Loyer. Equium is currently conducting field trials for its thermoacoustic heat pump. It plans to launch its commercialization in late 2023.

Translation by Christelle Taureau

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