Absorption heat pumps are essentially air-source heat pumps driven not by electricity, but by a heat source such as natural gas, 丙烷, 太阳能水, 或geothermal-heated水. Because natural gas is the most common heat source for absorption heat pumps, they are also referred to as gas-fired heat pumps. There are also absorption (or gas-fired) coolers available that work on the same principle. 不像一些吸收式热泵, 然而, these are not reversible and cannot serve as a heat source.
Residential absorption heat pumps use an ammonia-water absorption cycle to provide heating and cooling. 就像标准的热泵一样, 制冷剂(在这种情况下, ammonia) is condensed in one coil to release its heat; its pressure is then reduced and the refrigerant is evaporated to absorb heat. If the system absorbs heat from the interior of your home, it provides cooling; if it releases heat to the interior of your home, 它提供了加热.
The difference in absorption heat pumps is that the evaporated ammonia is not pumped up in pressure in a compressor, but is instead absorbed into water. A relatively low-power pump can then pump the solution up to a higher pressure. The problem then is removing the ammonia from the water, and that's where the heat source comes in. The heat essentially boils the ammonia out of the water, starting the cycle again.
A key component in the units now on the market is generator absorber heat exchanger technology, 或GAX, which boosts the efficiency of the unit by recovering the heat that is released when the ammonia is absorbed into the water. Other innovations include high-efficiency vapor separation, 可变氨流量, 和低排放, variable-capacity combustion of the natural gas.
Although mainly used in industrial or commercial settings, absorption coolers are now commercially available for large residential homes, and absorption heat pumps are under development. The 5-ton residential cooler systems currently available are only appropriate for homes on the scale of 4,000平方英尺或更多.
Absorption coolers and heat pumps usually only make sense in homes without an electricity source, but they have an added advantage in that they can make use of any heat source, 包括太阳能, 地热热水, 或者其他热源. They are also amenable to zoned systems, in which different parts of the house are kept at different temperatures.
The efficiency of air-source absorption coolers and heat pumps is indicated by their coefficient of performance (COP). COP is the ratio of either heat removed (for cooling) or heat provided (for heating) in Btu per Btu of energy input.
U.S. Department of Energy - 能源效率 and Renewable Energy