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Split-System Cold Climate Heat Pump

ORNL/Emerson laboratory prototype test system

ORNL/Emerson laboratory prototype test system

Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Oak Ridge, TN
-- Unico, Inc. - St. Louis, MO
-- Emerson Climate Technologies - Sidney, OH
DOE Funding: $2,599,000
Cost Share: Provided by CRADA partners
Project Term: 3/1/2012 - 2/28/2016

Project Objective

This project is developing a split-system, cold climate heat pump (CCHP) that provides a nominal heating capacity of 36,000 Btu/hr (3 tons) with a COP of 4.0 at the 47°F ambient temperature standard rating condition.  In addition heating capacity at -13°F ambient conditions is to be ≥75% of the nominal capacity. ORNL will perform an assessment study of cost effective strategies for improving the performance of cold climate heat pumps. The assessment will rely on system modeling tools as well as actual cost figures based on manufacturer data. ORNL will assist Unico with analyses for component selection & sizing and prototype performance verification testing under the companion project Residential Cold Climate Heat Pump with Variable Speed Technology. ORNL will work with Emerson Climate Technologies on the development of a high performance CCHP based on the cost effective strategies identified in the assessment. Furthermore, ORNL and Emerson will jointly design and construct lab breadboard and field test prototype units for cold climates. The key performance metrics of a lab breadboard unit will be verified by laboratory testing. The heat pump field testing will be conducted in one or two U.S. cold climate zones, to demonstrate the energy saving potential in comparison to strip heating.

Project Impact

In the United States, approximately 14.4 million dwellings use electricity for heating in very cold and cold regions, consuming 0.16 quads of energy annually. A high-performance CCHP would result in significant savings over current technologies (greater than 70% compared to strip heating). The CCHP can result in annual primary energy savings of 0.1 quads when fully deployed, which is equivalent to a reduction of 5.9 million tons of annual carbon dioxide emissions.


DOE Technology Manager: Tony Bouza
Performer: Ed Vineyard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory