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Fraunhofer IEG opens testing site for MW-sized heat pumps

The Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy (Fraunhofer IEG) says it plans to open two new test benches for large heat pumps. Manufacturers, developers and project planners will have access to the test benches, in order to bring new systems to market maturity.

From pv magazine Germany

The city of Cottbus, Germany, now offers a solution for developers and integrators of large heat pumps in need of testing facilities. Fraunhofer IEG has launched Germany’s inaugural test bench for large heat pumps at its Lausitz site. The facility features two testing benches designed for heat pumps with megawatt-scale outputs and high flow temperatures

Manufacturers, project planners and developers have the opportunity to use the open facility and validate new concepts, systems or projects and collect important data. This involves the development of new systems to market maturity, but project developers should also be able to optimize existing systems for their applications.

“With our research facility for large heat pumps, we are making a central contribution to the energy system of the future and supporting energy suppliers and manufacturers in finding the best possible heat pump for their application – whether process heat for industry or district heating networks at the municipal level,” said Mario Ragwitz, the head of Fraunhofer IEG.

One of the two test benches is designed to measure brine-water heat pumps with a performance range of up to 1 MW and flow temperatures of up to 90 C. Operations on the test bench are “close to reality” and therefore provide data for further development of prototypes. Among other things, sound propagation and the measurement of electromagnetic compatibility are possible.

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On the second test bench, research is carried out for the city of Cottbus itself. In the future, a heat pump with several megawatts of power will supply the city’s district heating network, using the heat from the “Baltic Sea” post-mining waters. However, this heat pump still needs to be developed.

At the test stand, Fraunhofer IEG operates a heat pump with 500 kW of power in continuous operation in order to obtain data for the model of the planned multi-megawatt heat pump. In the “FernWP” project, Fraunhofer IEG is researching the operating concept of the heat pump to supply the city of Cottbus.

The researchers are exploring potential heat sources and refrigerants for the project, while also assessing key technical and economic challenges.

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Source: pv magazine