The work of this thesis concerns the application of heat pumps to domestic space heating in Ireland. Only small air-source electric-powered vapour compression plants using fluorocarbon refrigerants are considered.
Tests have been carried out on an air-to-air heat pump unit with a rated heat output of 3 kW. The performance characteristics of each of the system components have been determined from the test results.
Computer programs have been written to calculate performance figures for theoretical heat pump cycles and refrigerants 12, 22 and 502 have been compared with one another on the basis of theoretical performance.
A computer program has been written to simulate the performance of a heat pump plant given the performance characteristics of the system components and the operating conditions. An extension of this program allows the seasonal performance of a heat pump installation to be predicted.
The measured performance of the unit tested was very poor, but, it has not been determined whether or not specially designed heat pumps could compete with other forms of heating in Ireland. However, it is felt that the simulation program provides a useful means of optimising heat pump designs for Irish conditions. This step is essential to their evaluation.