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You are here: Home Summit EcoBuilding 2015 Archive 2015 Speakers Ken Eklund, Washington State University Energy Program

Ken Eklund, Washington State University Energy Program

Refrigerants have come under fire over the past 35 years, for their impact on the ozone layer and for their global warming potential. These concerns have led to testing other chemicals for use as refrigerants, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). The big advantage with CO2-based heat pumps is that they can produce the much higher-temperature outputs needed to integrate with solar power, providing an important alternative to burning fossil fuels. This could help us transition to a solar future. This technology is already being used for commercial applications, and now it is on the verge of becoming available for residential applications. Ken Eklund of the Washington State University Energy Program is at the forefront of vetting CO2 refrigerant heat pumps and will present three diverse studies: one on water heating, a second on exploring demand response potential, and a third on the combined space and water heating in highly efficient homes. The current data shows CO2 heat pumps using half the electricity of a typical heat pump water heater for heat production — in the neighborhood of .5 kWh per gallon. By this fall, nearly a full year of data will be accumulated from the combined space/water heating research and will be available to share with you.
Ken Eklund, Washington State University Energy Program

CO2 Heat Pumps

Refrigerants have come under fire over the past 35 years, for their impact on the ozone layer and for their global warming potential. These concerns have led to testing other chemicals for use as refrigerants, such as carbon dioxide (CO2). The big advantage with CO2-based heat pumps is that they can produce the much higher-temperature outputs needed to integrate with solar power, providing an important alternative to burning fossil fuels. This could help us transition to a solar future. This technology is already being used for commercial applications, and now it is on the verge of becoming available for residential applications. Ken Eklund of the Washington State University Energy Program is at the forefront of vetting CO2 refrigerant heat pumps and will present three diverse studies: one on water heating, a second on exploring demand response potential, and a third on the combined space and water heating in highly efficient homes. The current data shows CO2 heat pumps using half the electricity of a typical heat pump water heater for heat production — in the neighborhood of .5 kWh per gallon. By this fall, nearly a full year of data will be accumulated from the combined space/water heating research and will be available to share with you.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how CO2 works as a refrigerant. How does it compare with hydrofluorocarbons? There are both technical and pragmatic differences.

  • Understand the monitored performance of CO2 refrigerant heat pump water heaters and the potential applications of this technology beyond water heating.

  • Understand why CO2 is more environmentally friendly than conventional refrigerants.

  • Be introduced to the potentials and issues regarding application of CO2 heat pump technology to combined space and water heating.

Bio

Ken Eklund is the building science and standards team leader at the WSU Energy Program. He has over 30 years of experience in energy efficiency and renewable energy research, training, demonstration, program development, implementation and management. He and his team focus on energy code and beyond code program implementation and building science research and training including emerging technologies. His current work includes creation of research projects spanning several years with multiple partners, obtaining funding, and coordinating the implementation, data management, analysis and reporting. The topics include ventilation effectiveness in low air leakage homes and CO2 refrigerant heat pumps in applications ranging from water heating to demand response and combined space and water heating.

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