The i-GAP project, aimed at achieving a low-carbon zone, intends to develop technologies for the design and production of natural gas absorption heat pumps for residential use, featuring an innovative thermodynamic cycle, compact dimensions and suitability for high volume production. The solutions can also be integrated easily into the plants and systems of a building and can provide a quantification of the energy, environmental and infrastructural benefits resulting from the adoption of this heating technology.
HOW THE PROJECT CAME ABOUT
The building sector is responsible for about 40% of energy consumption and 36% of climate-altering emissions. The majority of energy saving opportunities are concentrated in the upgrading of pre-1990 residential buildings. These homes (about 90% of residential buildings) represent the most energy-intensive part of the building stock, (EPH >200 kWh/m2a), have a surface area of between 60 and 200 sq. m and are mostly heated with gas boilers (PEAR Lombardy 2015) connected to radiators (distribution system). Improvements to the building envelope, together with the implementation of some new plant engineering technologies (e.g. solar thermal, heat pumps) make it possible to reduce energy consumption.
THE ROLE OF ATIT: NATURAL GAS ABSORPTION HEAT PUMP (GAHP)
Within this context, the natural gas absorption heat pump (GAHP) immediately emerged as the most suitable technology thanks to its distinguishing features and the resulting benefits:
In December 2017, the Lombardy Region decided to include the i-GAP project in the research and technological development funding that is part of the Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020, co-financed by the ERDF - European Regional Development Fund 2014-2020. ATIT has assumed the role of project leader, supported by partners including Politecnico di Milano and SNAM.