Harmonization of Life Cycle Climate Performance and Its Improvements for Heat Pump Applications
Troch, Sarah Virginia
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Life Cycle Climate Performance (LCCP) is an evaluation method by which heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems can be evaluated for their global warming impact over the course of their complete life cycle. LCCP is more inclusive than previous metrics such as Total Equivalent Warming Impact. It is calculated as the sum of direct and indirect emissions generated over the lifetime of the system “from cradle to grave”. Direct emissions include all effects from the release of refrigerants into the atmosphere during the lifetime of the system. This includes annual leakage and losses during the disposal of the unit. The indirect emissions include emissions from the energy consumption during manufacturing process, lifetime operation, and disposal of the system. This thesis proposes a standardized approach to the use of LCCP and traceable data sources for all aspects of the calculation. An equation is proposed that unifies the efforts of previous researchers. Data sources are recommended for average values for all LCCP inputs. A residential heat pump sample problem is presented illustrating the methodology. The heat pump is evaluated at five U.S. locations in different climate zones. An excel tool was developed for residential heat pumps using the proposed method. The primary factor in the LCCP calculation is the energy consumption of the system. The effects of advanced vapor compression cycles are then investigated for heat pump applications. Advanced cycle options attempt to reduce the energy consumption in various ways. There are three categories of advanced cycle options: subcooling cycles, expansion loss recovery cycles and multi-stage cycles. The cycles selected for research are the suction line heat exchanger cycle, the expander cycle, the ejector cycle, and the vapor injection cycle. The cycles are modeled using Engineering Equation Solver and the results are applied to the LCCP methodology. The expander cycle, ejector cycle and vapor injection cycle are effective in reducing LCCP of a residential heat pump by 5.6%, 8.2% and 10.5%, respectively in Phoenix, AZ. The advanced cycles are evaluated with the use of low GWP refrigerants and are capable of reducing the LCCP of a residential heat by 13.7%, 16.3% and 18.6% using a refrigerant with a GWP of 10. To meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s goal of reducing residential energy use by 40% by 2025 with a proportional reduction in all other categories of residential energy consumption, a reduction in the energy consumption of a residential heat pump of 34.8% with a refrigerant GWP of 10 for Phoenix, AZ is necessary. A combination of advanced cycle, control options and low GWP refrigerants are necessary to meet this goal.