Heating, air conditioning and ventilation costs account for almost half of all building operating costs. In the context of rising gas prices and electricity tariffs, reducing energy consumption is a priority issue of the state economic policy not only for the efficient functioning of industry, agro-industrial complex, services and housing and communal services, but also for achieving Ukraine’s energy independence.
As a rule, the solution to this issue is sought in the diversification of energy supplies, in the domestic production of blue fuel and the development of shale gas, in the construction of LNG terminals or in the replacement of gas with other types of fuel. Or in the direction of the development of «green» energy, which, unfortunately, Ukraine simply cannot afford. This is the privilege of developed countries. Since, firstly, a huge amount of capital investment is required and, secondly, 1 kW of such energy costs much more than a kilowatt obtained by traditional methods. Thus, alternative energy can be developed solely through state subsidies and subsidies.
How to save gas?
Today, Ukraine has its own unique environmentally friendly technologies that can significantly reduce the consumption of gas and electricity. Over the past 7 years, scientists from the UPEC Air Turbine Technologies Engineering Center have been working on the creation of a new generation of climate systems, which are based on the possibility of obtaining thermal energy from the surrounding air.
The created fundamentally new air cycle heat pump (AHVC) is an alternative to both traditional (fuel combustion, electric heating) and expensive «green» technologies, and a kilowatt of heat produced is much cheaper than that obtained by traditional methods.
Figure 1: The electric turbocharger is the heart of an air cycle heat pump
Pilot-industrial operation of TNVTs showed a decrease in the total costs for heating and ventilation of industrial premises by more than 3 times during the heating season, which made it possible to proceed to the development of industrial production of these units.
Domestic developments have already received worldwide recognition at international exhibitions, and UPEC is negotiating with leading companies in various segments of the application of air cycle heat pump technology.
Fig.2: International exhibition Chillventa-2012 (Nuremberg, Germany) «Air climate system (ACS) — world premiere»
In TNVC, 1 kW of consumed electricity is transformed into 3-4 kWh of thermal energy. The heating coefficient (COP) is 2.8–4.2, with a 100% fresh air supply.
On the basis of the same air cycle technology, an air climate system (ACS) was developed, which in winter works as a heat pump, and in summer as an air conditioner with an efficiency of COP 1.2-1.6, also with the possibility of a 100% inflow of fresh air.
Compared to traditional heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, the cost of equipping air cycle systems is at least 15-20% cheaper, since VCS combines these three functions. Unlike, for example, well-known ground source heat pumps, the installation of TNVTs or VKS does not require expensive installation and construction work. At the same time, operating costs are reduced several times, and the payback period for most objects does not exceed 3-4 years. After that, thanks to the triple savings, TNVC actually starts making money.
Vartan Petrosyants, Director and Chief Designer of the «Engineering Center for Air Turbine Technologies of the IG UPEC»: “For example, when installing a TNVTs in the pool of a sports complex with a room volume of 7500 cubic meters, the difference in costs in comparison with the use of heating elements is 185 thousand UAH. for the heating season, and when compared with gas heating, then more than 215 thousand UAH. At the same time, TNVC for the pool combines 3 functions at the same time: ventilation, heating and air dehumidification. And when heated by heating elements, the drainage of the pool is carried out with the help of additional equipment and has additional costs.
A step towards energy independence
Given the significant economic effect of the use of heat pumps on the air cycle, the state needs to create conditions for the introduction of energy-saving technologies through the mechanisms of public-private partnerships, priority lending, leasing programs with the involvement of international financial institutions (within the framework of EBRD financing in Ukraine, there is a program for financing alternative energy in Ukraine ( USELF) and the Ukrainian Energy Efficiency Program (UKEEP)).
And if it will take years to create an infrastructure for the supply of liquefied gas and drilling shale gas wells (and it is not a fact that the price of this gas will be cheaper than imported gas), then the introduction of TNVTs takes much less time and does not require budgetary costs. The initial costs are borne by the consumer, who must be provided with long-term cheap money. And thus give an incentive for the widespread introduction of energy-saving technology in order to get an effect on a national scale.
For example, to replace the consumption of 1 billion cubic meters. m of natural gas used for heating requires an investment of less than $1 billion to install heat pumps on an air cycle with a payback period of 3-4 years.
These investments have a long-term effect and provide an opportunity to take a real step towards increasing the energy independence of the country.
The publication was prepared by UPEC specialists