Heat Pumps

Heat pumps do something simple but effective - they move heat from where it is available in excess or economically to where it is needed. Running on electricity, heat pumps can provide coefficients of performance much higher than 1 mainly because they are able to utilize waste heat efficiently.

Heat pumps can be either air source heat pumps, water source heat pumps or geothermal heat pumps. In all these cases, heat pumps derive heat from the respective sources and transport them to domestic or industrial applications that need them. Heat pumps are typically useful for low temperature applications, up to about 75 degrees C. Industries such as food, dairy, chemicals, pharma and automotives have processes operating at these temperatures. Heat pumps can also work in combination with air conditioners so that the same equipment can cool in summer and provide heating in winter. 

Heat pumps can be used in many countries, and even in some cold regions. Heat pumps are an established technology; and geothermal heat pumps have existed for decades. What is new is the range of applications emerging for heat pumps, and also use of new sources such as river or drainage water.

Some key challenges in heat pumps mainly revolve around specific maintenance issues, lack of effective maintenance support, and lack of awareness among many industrial segments.

For the 2020-2030 period, key innovations in heat pumps will revolve around enhancing heat pump performance, low maintenance heat pumps, geothermal heat pumps, use of alternative refrigerants in heat pumps, and hybrid of heat pumps and air conditioners.

Decarbonization potential

Heat pumps provide an excellent example of utilizing wasted energy for useful purposes and represents a decarbonization avenue with significant potential for large scale use.

Global installed industrial heat pump capacity is about 100 GW. At their current installations for industries, they could already be saving about 175 million tons CO2 emissions per annum.

For residential and service building segments, heat pumps contribute only about 10% of the total energy supplied to these globally, though its contribution could be much higher in future. Globally, about 700 TWh thermal is used for residential heating alone, which emits about 200 million tons of CO2 emissions annually. Significantly higher use of heat pumps for these segments can abate a large part of these emissions, especially in the EU.

Industries impacted

  • Automobiles & auto components
  • Chemicals & petrochemicals
  • Food & beverages
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paper & forest products
  • Textile & apparel
  • Water

Latest News on Heat Pumps

Themes & Topics

  • Type of heat pump

    • Air source

    • Water source

    • Seawater heat pumps

    • Geothermal

    • Medium temperature heat pumps

  • Components

    • Compressors

    • Condensers

    • Expansion valves 

    • Evaporators

    • Refrigerants

      • CO2 as refrigerant

  • Education/capacity building

  • Collaboration

  • Use of IT & digital in heat pumps

  • Case studies




  • End use industries

    • Manufacturing & engineering

    • Transport

    • Chemicals & pharma

    • Food & beverages

    • Residential heat pumps

    • Heat pump / AC combination

  • Heat pumps for:

    • Cold regions

    • Hot regions

  • Solar powered heat pumps

  • Heat pumps & solar thermal

  • Heat storage for heat pumps

  • Challenges

  • Economics

  • Maintenance







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