Performance of a shallow solar pond coupled with a heat pump cycle for thermal energy in net zero-energy buildings Articles uri icon

publication date

  • November 2021

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 22


  • 199

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1359-4311

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-5606


  • Refrigerant evaporation, in heat pumping systems, is a particularly complex process. Since the evaporator is subjected to environmental conditions, several factors weigh in on overall system performance, mainly, the additional energy input from the surroundings. This renders the evaporation process especially susceptible to gaps and fluctuations of said energy availability, particularly in solar-assisted setups. Despite the, comparatively, high heat flux associated to this source, these occurrences make them suitable mostly for low-to-medium thermal requirements, especially in regions with more extreme climates. The present work introduces a novel evaporator design, based on solar ponds. The proposed evaporation device incorporates a short-term, passive, thermal storage solution to compensate for gaps in energy availability. A mathematical-thermal model is developed and a performance assessment is conducted based on real seasonal atmospheric and operation conditions. For this study R134a, R152a, R1234yf and R1234ze(E) were used as working fluids. The proposed heat pump configuration is evaluated for hot water production at 55 degrees C, indoor air heating at 18¿22 degrees C and a combined simultaneous scheme. The results show that this configuration performs well under moderate climate conditions. For hot water production during spring, highest outlet temperature of 68.54 degrees C for the R1234yf working fluid, were reached and maintained after the first 13 h. Internal thermal capacitor reached an average temperature of 61.88 degrees C for R1234yf. During winter, these temperatures decrease almost by a third, with 40.6 degrees C for R1234yf working fluid. However, daily average outlet temperature of 64.8 degrees Care reached within the first 15 h of operation. Despite a lower thermal storage, with average capacitor, the system yielded consistent average outlet temperature of 20.7 degrees C. For a simultaneous operation scheme, desired outlet water temperature, is reached within the first 16 h of operation, whilst the indoor air temperature reaches comfort levels within the first 12 h. Despite employing part of the energy absorbed to maintain a stable comfort condition within the dwelling, instead of compensating the heat loss of the hot water tank, both goals are achieved. The inclusion of an inner thermal capacitor that collects and stores energy at a much higher rate provides the refrigerant with an additional heat source. This results in a more effective overall energy absorption of the evaporator, which exceeds the rate at which heat is dissipated from the tank/dwelling to the environment. This heat loss buffer lessens, considerably, the thermal demand during periods with lower energy availability, resulting in achievable outlet conditions.


  • Renewable Energies


  • heat pump system; solar pond; statistical analysis; thermal energy generation; thermal modelling