An Eye on the Future


23 September 2015
SIRACH - AC Journal
An Introduction to Heating and Cooling Technologies.

Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps (RACHP) industry underpins everything we do. 

Refrigeration reaches in to vast range of fields, that we all encounter in our everyday lives for example without it the food supply would still be seasonal and limited to locally produced non-consumable items; data centres would not work, comfortable living conditions and certain medical advancements would be impossible.

RACHP account for 19% of UK electricity demand or around 10% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  Last month at an EU meeting in Paris, the EU agreed to intensify reductions in carbon emission further from 2020 to 2030. This will include a further 40% GHG reduction, through much greater use of renewable technologies and a massive increase in energy efficiency.

As a big GHG emitter and electricity user, the RACHP industry will be at the forefront Adopting different ways of reducing the energy use and carbon emission for RACHP such as utilising and developing efficient innovative and low carbon technologies. 

Modern refrigeration is almost entirely based on a compression and expansion refrigeration cycle. Vapour compression refrigeration is a mature, reliable and relatively low cost technology. 

Over the years, the design of components and equipment of refrigeration systems, such as heat exchangers, compressors, fans, pumps, refrigerants and expansion valves were considerably improved due to extended research and developmental efforts. Anticipated improvements, however, are incremental since modern refrigeration is already near its fundamental limit of energy efficiency. 

However, vapour compression is not the only cooling technology available. There are many many others. These are shown in figure 1 below included here are technologies that maybe familiar including absorption and adsorption refrigeration, however, there are some more obscure technologies such as Electrocalorics and thermoacoustics. 
SIRACH Heating and cooling drawing - ACR Journal
Figure 1 different types of cooling & heating technologies.
In a series of articles SIRACH will review individual heating and cooling technologies and simply describe how they work, who has been developing them. The potential benefits of application and the challenges in bringing to market. Next month we will describe Magnetic refrigeration.

SIRACH recently explored the topic of - Innovations in Heat Pumps and Cooling - The Integration Challenge. The event focused on the “integration challenge” and latest developments and innovations in heat pumps and cooling technologies and look at the challenges that integration poses. Presentations have included an overview and technical presentation from Arctic Circle. 

The SIRACH event also included a unique tour of Arctic Circle’s leading edge research and development facilities in the UK. Arctic Circle is well known for providing low carbon solutions to the industry through innovation in compressors, heat recovery, chillers, thermal storage and heat pumps. Delegates will be able to hear from experts on the design and manufacturing process in this unique tour. Anyone who wants to attend this event can book online.

For more information or to be included on the SIRACH mailing list please register at  or email [email protected] 
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