• Study location Dalarna University, Borlänge/digital
  • 2020-09-08 09:15–11:15

The public defense of Corey Blackman's doctoral thesis in Energy and Environmental Engineering

The public defence of Corey Blackman's doctoral thesis ”Evaluation of Modular Thermally Driven Heat Pump Systems” will take place at Dalarna University on September 8, 2020, at 9.15 AM.

Title: Evaluation of Modular Thermally Driven Heat Pump Systems

Serial number: 316

The examining committee consists of Associate professor Zacharie Tamainot-Telto, University of Warwick, Professor Ulrike Jordan, Kassel University and Professor Andrew Martin, KTH. Professor Christian Schweigler, Munich University of Applied Sciences, has been appointed the faculty examiner.

Reserve is Professor Koteshwar Chirumalla, Mälardalen University.


If you wish to participate as a member of the audience at the public defence, please register with Annette Lenne at ale@du.se no later than 4 September 2020.

Please state whether you wish to participate in room 322 at Dalarna University (Rödavägen 3 in Borlänge) or via a link. Please also state the given and family name that you wish to use if you participate via a link.


The building sector accounts for approximately 40% of primary energy use within the European Union, therefore reductions in the energy use intensity of this sector are critical in decreasing total energy usage. Given that the majority of energy used within the built environment is for space conditioning and domestic hot water preparation, prudence would suggest that decreasing primary energy used for these end purposes would have the biggest overall environmental impact. A significant portion of the energy demands in buildings throughout the year could potentially be met using solar energy technology for both heating and cooling. Additionally, improving the efficiency of current heating and cooling appliances can reduce environmental impacts during the transition from non-renewable to renewable sources of energy. However, in spite of favourable energy saving prospects, major energy efficiency improvements as well as solar heating and cooling technology are still somewhat underutilised. This is typically due to higher initial costs, and lack of knowledge of system implementation and expected performance.

The central premise of this thesis is that modular thermally (i.e., sorption) driven heat pumps can be integrated into heating and cooling systems to provide energy cost savings. These sorption modules, by virtue of their design, could be integrated directly into a solar thermal collector. With the resulting sorption integrated collectors, cost-effective pre-engineered solar heating and cooling system kits can be developed. Sorption modules could also be employed to improve the efficiency of natural gas driven boilers. These modules would effectively transform standard condensing boilers into high efficiency gas-driven heat pumps that, similar to electric heat pumps, make use of air or ground source heat.

Based on the studies carried, sorption modules are promising for integration into heating and cooling systems for the built environment generating appreciable energy and cost-savings. Simulations yielded an annual solar fraction of 42% and potential cost savings of €386 per annum for a sorption integrated solar heating and cooling installation versus a state-of-the-art heating and cooling system. Additionally, a sorption integrated gas-fired condensing boiler yielded annual energy savings of up to 14.4% and corresponding annual energy cost savings of up to €196 compared to a standard condensing boiler. A further evaluation method for sorption modules, saw the use of an artificial neural network (ANN) to characterise and predict the performance of the sorption module under various operating conditions. This generic, application agnostic model, could characterise sorption module performance within a ± 8% margin of error. This study thus culminates in the proposal of an overall systematic evaluation method for sorption modules that could be employed for various applications based on the analytical, experimental and simulation methods developed.