Plumbing. Heating. Conditioning. Energy Efficiency.

Smart Grid Ready heat pumps

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15 November 2012

Heat pumps are expected to play an ever increasingly important role both in building technologies and in smart grids where they can be used to equalise peak electricity demands. As wind power, photovoltaic, solar heating, biomass and other renewable energy sources become more prevalent, heat pumps will become more and more widespread as a means of short-term storage, transforming electricity into heat and cold stored in the building thermal mass.

The German Heat Pump Association (Bundesverband Wärmepumpe, BWP) is currently working on Smart Grid Ready heat pumps improving their demand side management potential by integrating two digital signals instead of one. These heat pumps will be able to handle four different steering commands, enabling them to switch on and off as needed for demand side management, but also providing a “business-as-usual”-case where the heat pump runs according to the current heat demand. The proposed solution is elegantly simple, using unidirectional communication. In other words it only receives signals, and can be used with technologies as simple as a ripple control signal, currently used to transmit the signal for switching off heat pumps. However, bidirectional and IP based communication is also possible in combination with other communication and control devices. This technology will allow for modular broadening of functions, while avoiding concerns related to data security. The BWP is planning to issue a special “SG ready Heat pump” label.

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