Comparison of Thermoelectric and Vapor Cycle Technologies for Groundwater Heat Pump Application

[+] Author and Article Information
V. C. Mei, F. C. Chen

Energy Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN

B. Mathiprakasam

Midwest Research Institute, Kansas City, MO

J. Sol. Energy Eng 111(4), 353-357 (Nov 01, 1989) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3268334 History: Received July 01, 1988; Revised August 01, 1989; Online November 11, 2009


The performance of a groundwater thermoelectric (TE) heat pump system, based on today’s state-of-the-art TE materials, was calculated and compared with that of a conventional groundwater heat pump under the same water inlet temperature and flow rate. It was found that the TE system was competitive for cooling, particularly for groundwater temperatures below 18° C (64° F). The TE system performed poorly for heating mode operation. A cooling coefficient of performance (COP) of 6.4 could be realized by a properly designed TE system at a groundwater temperature of 13° C (55° F), compared with a COP of 4.35 for a conventional heat pump. For heating mode operation at the same water temperature, the TE system achieved a COP of 1.72, while the conventional heat pump performed at a COP of 3.72. Use of TE systems should be considered in areas where year-round cooling load dominates.

Copyright © 1989 by ASME
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