Waste heat is a primary source of energy loss in many applications. A number of developments around a micro rocket engine at the Austrian Research Centers (ARC) promise innovative energy recovery and micro power generation solutions. Here we focus on the investigation of micro technologies for application in HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems. The use of μ-scale turbine expanders for work recovery in transcritical CO2 heat pump processes has been identified as most interesting and promising for the application in HVAC cases. One of the main drawbacks of transcritical CO2 heat pumps is the lower COP (coefficient of performance) compared to conventional heat pump systems which originates from the non isothermal heat rejection in the gas cooler. This drawback can be compensated by utilizing the pressure difference between the high pressure and low pressure part of the heat pump for work recovery. This is feasible as the pressure difference is considerably larger in case of CO2 heat pumps compared to conventional systems. Work recovery can be realized by substituting the expansion valve between the high and low pressure side by an expansion machine. Due to the low flow rate of the working fluid, the turbine type is based on the Pelton turbine with specific two phase flow turbine blades. In addition to the turbine part a magnetic coupling, miniature bearings and a small scale generator are important parts of the system. Thermodynamic simulations showed an absolute microturbine power yield between 60 W and 150 W for a 2 kW heating system.

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