A new avenue in modern heat pump technology is related to the use of natural refrigerants such as carbon dioxide (CO2
). The use of CO2
in direct expansion ground source heat pumps (DX-GSHP) has also gained significant interest as it offers opportunities for cost reduction of the ground loop, albeit some challenges remain in their development, design and use. To address these challenges and to characterize CO2
-DX-GSHP performance for water heating applications, a detailed theoretical model and a fully-instrumented test apparatus was developed and built at CanmetENERGY Research Laboratory. The theoretical model was validated against a set of experimental results and adopted to investigate the performance of the system over a wide operating range. Validation results showed that the model predicts the experimental results within the measurement uncertainty. A detailed system performance analysis was also performed using the theoretical model to understand the system behavior and explore the actions required for performance improvement in future installations. The results of the analysis showed that improper design and control of some components, such as the gas cooler and ground heat exchanger can degrade the system performance by up to 25%, and the heat pump heating capacity by 7.5%.
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