This paper investigates a novel system to improve the efficiency of using natural gas for domestic heating. The exhaust from a gas burner powers a small-scale Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) system using hexane as the working fluid, which is used to directly drive the compressor of a heat pump, using R134a as the working fluid. Water is heated from ambient by passing it through three heat exchangers, the condenser of the Heat Pump, the condenser of the ORC, and the secondary heat exchanger that is heated by the hot flue gas from the burner after it transfers the heat to the evaporator of the ORC subsystem. By using the heat generated from the burning of gas in a burner in this way, a fuel-to-usable-heat efficiency of up to 160% is projected, outperforming the other technologies discussed, giving it the potential to significantly reduce energy demand and carbon emissions. This paper investigates the effect of varying ambient conditions upon the cycle, namely the temperature of ambient air, which has a strong effect on the performance of the heat pump.
Papers presented to the 12th International Conference on Heat Transfer, Fluid Mechanics and Thermodynamics, Costa de Sol, Spain on 11-13 July 2016.