Here at Lutfey Innovations we develop new heat pump technologies with the goal of reducing our carbon footprint. Here are some questions we are addressing:
- How can heat pumps be used to optimally heat and cool buildings?
- How can we build more efficient heat pumps?
- What could we do with ultra efficient heat pumps?
While heat pumps have been around for more than 150 years, the basic design has remained largely unchanged beyond incremental improvements. While heat pumps by their very design make something hot and something cold, very few applications take advantage of this property. One example of this is to use a heat pump to air condition a house and heat up a swimming pool at the same time. Why not use a heat pump to cool a freezer and heat hot water at the same time? Can a heat pump economically move heat energy into the ground in the summer and pull out in the winter? What is the theoretical maximum efficiency of a heat pump? What could we do with such a device?
After thinking about all of these questions, here is what we have been developing.
Turbo charging heat pumps. Most of the inefficiency in a heat pump is due to the energy lost when the refrigerant moves from the high pressure side to the low pressure side. If this energy was captured and used to move gas back to the high pressure side the efficiency could be increased substantially due to a significantly reduced demand on the compressor.
Install mini split heat pumps with the compressor unit in the basement of a house. This allows heat to be transferred into the concrete foundation. In the winter heat is pulled from the ground and in the summer heat is replaced.
We believe that the heat pumps are an overlooked asset in moving to a renewable energy economy. Current generation heat pumps are not efficient enough to extract energy from our surroundings. Given an optimally efficient heat pump several new areas of renewable energy could be opened up.
- Low cost geothermal heating and cooling. Instead of burying a system of pipes underground a efficient heat pump could move underground energy through the basement concrete foundation.
- Produce electricity from warm bodies of water. Extracting heat from a body of water could be concentrated to spin a turbine. This would create electricity and cool the oceans at the same time.
- Self propelled boats. Imagine large shipping containers moving across the oceans without burning any fossil fuels. Instead they would cool the water around their hull to produce propulsion.
While these ideas might seem grandiose, they are all quite plausible given the right equipment. Heat pumps could be one solution in the move to renewable energy.