Energy Concepts Co., Annapolis, Md., has developed a solar thermal chiller/heat pump that it says doubles the useful output from a solar thermal collector.

The California Energy Innovation Small Grant Program funded the prototype, which Energy Concepts says produces 87 kW (25 TR) of chilling and 215 kW of water heating from 130 kW thermal fluid heat input. The design was optimized and scaled to refrigeration capacities from 10 to 200 TR (35 to 700 kW). The company says supplying 100 kW of thermal heat from a collector to the Helisorber will yield 75 kW of 44.6°F (7°C) chilling plus 175 kW of hot water heating to 140°F (60°C).

According to the company, the high performance level comes with two caveats:
  • The chilling and heat pumping are produced simultaneously, so both must be used and stored, or lost.
  • The driving temperature must be 257°F (125°C) or higher.
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