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ECN publication
Bench scale electrically driven thermoacoustic heat pump
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Biomass & Energy Efficiency 4-4-2016
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-M--15-051 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
4 Download PDF  

The application of heat pumps in the industry can lead to large energy savings and reduce global warming emissions. Heat pumps can be used to upgrade waste heat. This enables to reuse the huge quantities of energy that would otherwise be rejected to the environment. One of the industrial applications where the application of a heat pump can be beneficial is the distillation process [1-2]. Distillation is one of the largest energy consumers processes in refining and bulk chemical industries. It is estimated that distillation columns consume about 40% of the total energy used to operate plants in these sectors [3-4]. The distillation process is a very inefficient process as heat at high temperature is supplied to boil a mixture of liquids and most of this heat is released at a lower temperature level during condensation. In a conventional distillation column energy is supplied to the system via the reboiler to evaporate the feed for the separation process. The vapors from the top of the column are liquefied in the (water) cooled condenser. About 95 % of the energy needed for the reboiler leaves the system as waste heat. In a heat pump assisted distillation column, the condenser is linked to the reboiler via the heat pump where the temperature of the vapor from the top of the column is increased and fed to the reboiler where it is condensed. For the Netherlands, the total energy saving potential is estimated to 10-20 PJ/year. The extrapolation to Europe and the world, based on production capacities, leads to more than 100-200 PJ/year for Europe and 300-600 PJ/year for the world.

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