The EU has set ambitious energy consumption targets for all new buildings as of 2018. In response, a former EU-funded project (EFFIHEAT, 2011-2013) developed an efficient new heat pump technology for commercial and industrial applications. The EU-funded EFFIHEAT-DEMO (Demonstration of high efficiency Stirling heat pump) project developed and tested the EFFIHEAT concept. The geothermal heat pump was designed to be much more energy efficient and cheaper to run than alternatives, while also producing low carbon emissions. Researchers installed full-scale EFFIHEAT demonstrators at several specially selected sites. The units performed smoothly in mechanical terms, without interruptions or breakdowns. The prototypes were easy to operate, particularly the user-friendly control panel. Nevertheless, the energy output was much lower than expected, although the units generated the Stirling heat pump cycle. Hence, the team concluded that further development is required, and compiled a list of suggestions. The EFFIHEAT-DEMO project's options for further development and testing will lead to refinement of the concept. Once the technology is commercially ready, European small and medium-sized enterprises will benefit while also lowering costs for consumers and reducing emissions.
EFFIHEAT, geothermal heat pump, Stirling heat pump, energy efficient, emissions