A hybrid transcritical solar heat pump system ?

The purpose of this website is to explain the PhD project that I’m currently pursuing under the funding of the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

The subject of this research concerns a hybrid system integrating a photovoltaic/thermal solar collector providing both electricity and heat to a transcritical CO2 heat pump.

Heat pumps are used in a variety of applications, including food refrigeration and air conditioning. These systems could also provide heat as a replacement for electrical baseboards during the cold season. Their performances could be 3 to 5 times more efficient than electrical baseboards. Unfortunately, the heating performances are strongly related to outdoor air temperature and as such, the heating efficiency decreases along with the decrease of the ambient outdoor air temperature. In other words, during winter, as the temperature decreases, the performances of the heat pump become inferior (and disadvantageous) to that of an electrical baseboard. Note that the latter runs at a 100% conversion efficiency of electricity into heat.

This project aims to develop a prototype able to improve the heating performances of heat pumps used in cold climate using the heat provided by the sun. In this way, a hybrid photovoltaic/thermal solar collector will be integrated with a transcritical CO2 heat pump to increase the number of hours where the system will provide heat with good performances. The final system will also be able to provide an alternative source of electricity.