Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
RADIANT HEAT PUMP DEVICE AND METHOD
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2003/100327
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present method and device is for configuring the geometry of a surface (18) to emit highly non-diffuse radiant energy. When a target surface (12) is placed in a region where it is targeted by the emitting surface (18), there can be a net heat flow from the surface emitting the radiant energy to the target surface (12), notwithstanding the target surface (12) may be at higher temperature than the emitting surface (18). This method is employed in a radiant heat pump whereby the surface for emitting energy radiation surrounds a target. The target may use the temperature increase to upgrade heat flowing through the target for use in industrial processes.

Inventors:
Latos, Gordon (63 Signal Ridge Place SW, Calgary, Alberta T3H 2P2, CA)
Application Number:
PCT/CA2003/000778
Publication Date:
December 04, 2003
Filing Date:
May 28, 2003
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
Latos, Gordon (63 Signal Ridge Place SW, Calgary, Alberta T3H 2P2, CA)
International Classes:
F24J1/00; F24J3/00; F25B23/00; F28F13/18; (IPC1-7): F24J3/00; F28F13/18
Domestic Patent References:
WO1997029223A11997-08-14
WO1992018815A11992-10-29
Foreign References:
FR2695462A11994-03-11
US4321910A1982-03-30
US4188519A1980-02-12
US4082414A1978-04-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kinsman, Anne L. (Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, World Exchange Plaza 100 Queen Street, Suite 110, Ottawa Ontario K1P 1J9, CA)
Download PDF:
Claims:
AMENDED CLAIMS Received by the International Bureau on 19 November 2003 (19.1
1. 2003) original claims 133 are replaced by amended claims 136 1. A method for exaggerating the nondiffuse emission pattern radiating from a surface comprising the step of configuring the geometry of the surface.
2. A method as in claim 1 wherein the radiant heat flux flowing in specific directions from the geometrically configured emitting surface is more concentrated in a direction toward or substantially toward a target than for an ordinary surface having the same composition and temperature.
3. A method as in claim 2 wherein the apparent temperature of the target is higher than the actual temperature of the surface.
4. A method as in claim 3 wherein radiant heat is exchanged between the surface and the target, the target being located in a region where the directed thermal emission radiating from the surface falls on the target, and the apparent temperature of the surface is higher than the actual temperature of the surface from the perspective of the target.
5. A method as in claim 4 wherein there is a net flow of radiant heat from the surface to the target surface notwithstanding that the surface may be colder than the target.
6. A method as in claim 4 further comprising the step of minimizing the convective and conductive heat flow between the surface and the target.
7. A method as in claim 6 further comprising the step of minimizing the convective and conductive heat flow between the surface and the target such that the combined heat flow by conduction and convection between the surface and the target is a small fraction of the net heat flow by radiation between the surface and the target.
8. A method as in claim 7 further comprising the step of entirely surrounding or nearly entirely surrounding the target by at least one surface.
9. A method as in claim 5 further comprising the steps of supplying heat to the surface and removing heat from the target.
10. A method for exaggerating the directional nature of the emission pattern radiating from a surface comprising the step of configuring the geometry of the surface to a V shape.
11. A method for conveying the apparent temperature of a surface to a target where the actual temperature of the surface is lower than the apparent temperature of the surface for ensuring a net flow of radiant heat from the surface to the target, comprising the steps of : configuring the geometry of the surface to project directed radiant emission patterns into the region of the target; and providing the material of the surface with a highly reflective surface for improving the projection of directed radiant emission patterns.
12. A method as in claim 11 wherein the geometry of the surface is a V shape with the open end of the V toward the target.
13. A method as in claim 11 wherein the method further includes the step of minimizing convective and conductive energy transfer between the surface and the target.
14. A method as in claim 11 wherein the method further includes the step of introducing a partial vacuum or vacuum between the surface and the target for reducing convection.
15. A method for emitting radiant heat from a surface to a target, the target having an actual temperature which is higher than the actual temperature of the surface but lower than the apparent temperature of the surface for achieving a net flow of radiant heat to the target comprising the steps of : configuring the geometry of the emitter's surface to project directed radiant emission patterns; providing the emitter surface with a highly reflective surface for improving the projection of directed radiant emission patterns; and minimizing convective and conductive energy transfer between the surface and the target.
16. A method as in claim 15 further including the step of using a nonreflective target for maximizing the radiant heat absorbed by the target.
17. A method for transferring radiant heat from outside an enclosure to a target within the enclosure where the temperature of the target is higher than the temperature outside the enclosure, comprising the steps of : providing an emitting surface in the enclosure in communication with heat energy outside of the enclosure for radiating heat to the target, the emitting surface having a highly reflective surface for improving the projection of directed radiant emission patterns; configuring the geometry of the emitting surface to direct radiant emission patterns toward the target; and minimizing convective and conductive energy between the emitting surface and the target.
18. A method as in claim 17 further including the step of surrounding the target with a plurality of emitting surfaces.
19. A method as in claim 18 where the outside of the enclosure forms a target, and further including the step of nesting the target within a larger enclosure having otherwise the same features as the enclosure that forms the target.
20. A method for recycling waste heat in a generation plant comprising the steps of installing at least one radiant heat pump in the generation plant for absorbing heat outside the radiant heat pump to increase the heat of a target within the heat pump where the target is at a higher temperature than the temperature outside the system.
21. A radiant heat pump device for transferring heat comprising: a surface for emitting energy radiation; a target in communication with the surface for receiving energy from the surface, the target having a higher temperature than the surface; and the surface having a geometrically modified surface for projecting directed radiant emission patterns towards the target.
22. The heat pump of claim 21 with the following added elements: means to deliver external heat to the emitting surface; and means to remove heat from the target to outside of the device.
23. A radiant heat pump as in claim 21 wherein the surface has a polished metallic surface for improving the projection of directed radiant emission patterns.
24. A radiant heat pump as in claim 21 wherein the convective and conductive transfer of energy between the surface and the target is minimized.
25. A radiant heat pump as in claim 21 wherein the geometry of the surface is a V shape.
26. A radiant heat pump as in claim 21 wherein the surface surrounds the target.
27. A radiant heat pump as in claim 21 wherein a second emitting surface surrounds the surface for projecting directed radiant emission patterns towards the surface.
28. A radiant heat pump comprising: a hollow emitter assembly defining a sealed enclosure enclosing a vacuum or partial vacuum; a hollow cylindrical target disposed through the hollow emitter assembly for collecting radiation and for transporting the radiation to the exterior of the emitter assembly; and the emitter assembly having a plurality of emitting plates on the emitter assembly's inner surface, the emitter plates facing the hollow cylindrical target and the emitter plates having a smooth surface for reflecting radiation emitted from the emitter assembly to the emitter plates to the hollow cylindrical target.
29. A radiant heat pump as in claim 28 wherein adjacent emitter plates form a V shape.
30. A radiant heat pump as in claim 28 wherein a second emitter assembly have internal emitting surfaces surrounds the hollow emitter assembly for projecting nondiffuse radiant emission patterns towards the emitter assembly.
31. A radiant heat pump comprising: an inner hollow emitter assembly defining a partially vacuumsealed or vacuumsealed enclosure; an outer hollow emitter assembly in communication with a heat source, the outer hollow emitter assembly concentrically enclosing the inner emitter assembly for transferring heat to the inner emitter assembly; a hollow cylindrical target disposed through the inner emitter assembly for absorbing heat from the inner emitter assembly and for transporting the absorbed heat outside of both emitter assemblies; each emitter assembly having a plurality of emitting plates on each emitter assembly's inner surface, the emitter plates on the inner surface of the inner emitter assembly facing the hollow cylindrical target and having a smooth surface for reflecting heat emitted from the inner emitter assembly to the emitter plates to the hollow cylindrical target; and the emitter plates on the inner surface of the outer emitter assembly facing the inner emitter assembly and having a smooth surface for reflecting heat emitted from the outer emitter assembly to the emitter plates to the inner emitter assembly for increasing heat flow to the inner emitter assembly thereby increasing heat flow by radiation to the hollow cylindrical target.
32. A radiant heat pump comprising: an outer element with an inner surface and an outer surface, a first end and a second end; an inner element within said outer element; a plurality of Vshaped emitting units disposed about the inner surface of said outer element, said emitting units being capable of emitting radiant heat towards said inner element ; an end cap disposed at each end of said outer element, and connecting said outer element and said inner element; a fluid within said inner element, capable of transmitting heat away from said inner element; a vacuum disposed between said outer element and said inner element, and a fluid disposed about said outer element.
33. A radiant heat pump as in claim 32 wherein said outer element is an elongated cylinder and said inner element is an elongated cylinder concentric with said outer element.
34. A method for directing thermal emission radiating from a surface toward a target comprising the step of configuring the geometry of the surface.
35. A method as in claim 1 wherein the radiant heat flux flowing in specific directions from the geometrically configured emitting surface is less concentrated in a direction toward or substantially toward a target than for an ordinary surface having the same composition and temperature.
36. A method as in claim 3 wherein the apparent temperature of the target is lower than the actual temperature of the surface.
Description:
RADIANT HEAT PUMP DEVICE AND METHOD FIELD OF THE INVENTION The invention relates to the field of radiant energy devices, heat transfer devices and methods and more particularly heat pumps.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION In industrialized countries, energy consumption is a fundamental aspect of commerce and personal daily life. Global energy use is rising rapidly as other nations advance toward economic parity with the industrialized world.

Until recently, the significant, observable negative consequences of fossil fuel consumption were limited to relatively localized effects such as smog and acid rain. Now the majority of scientists believe that even current consumption levels are contributing to changes in global climate which pose a high risk for the future stability of the biosphere.

This situation will worsen as consumption continues to grow.

The Kyoto Accord is the first international agreement intended to minimize the climate change impact of fossil fuel consumption by reducing the net emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). To succeed, such initiatives must be supported by technologies which eliminate or significantly reduce the GHG emissions associated with fossil fuels. Alternative energy technologies, such as wind, solar and nuclear have made and continue to make energy supply contributions at or near zero emissions. However, it will be decades before such alternative energy technologies displace fossil fuels sufficiently to tip the GHG balance. In the interim, measures to increase the efficiency of energy use and fossil fuel conversion can help reduce GHG emissions.

Fossil fuels (primarily coal) are burned to generate a large fraction of the total electricity used worldwide. Consumption rates vary widely, but in North America, the monthly C02 emissions associated with domestic electricity use averages roughly three tonnes per household. Some geographic regions have coal reserves which are expected to last more than a century. Consequently, there is great incentive to continue burning coal despite its contribution to GHG emissions. Unfortunately, the steam cycles on which conventional coal-fired generating plants are based run at net efficiencies below 40%.

Most of the energy is released as waste heat into the environment when the steam is condensed.

As a result of trying to address these concerns and as a result of rising energy costs, consumers at the industrial, commercial and residential levels are seeking ways to reduce the quantities of energy they purchase and consume. One method that has been exploited with some success in the last decade is the recovery and reuse of waste heat. Systems which harvest"free"renewable energy from the atmosphere, ground and large bodies of surface water have also become more common. Using the example above, such a system could recover energy from the effluent of a coal burning generation plant to reduce waste heat.

The prior art teaches the recovery of waste heat using passive heat exchange, chemical heat pumps, and vapour compression heat pumps (open or closed cycle heat pumps).

A brief discussion of each of these prior art systems and their deficiencies is as follows: When the temperature of a waste heat source is high enough to be reused directly, passive heat exchange is almost always the most economic method of recovery. However, most waste heat sources are well below the temperature at which a need for energy exists elsewhere. Consequently, the scope for application of passive heat recovery is extremely limited. Industrially, most of these sources have already been exploited.

Chemical heat pumps are limited to applications involving temperature ranges at which certain chemical reactions proceed at favourable rates. This limits both the number of installations for which the technology is economic, and the flexibility of each installation to economically accommodate variations in operating conditions. Because of the nature of the chemicals used, chemical heat pumps are also undesirable for some applications. Perhaps the only advantage that chemical heat pumps enjoy over their vapour compression counterparts is the fact that their requirement for motive (electrical) energy input is a very small fraction of the total energy input.

By far the largest number of operating heat pumps in the world are vapour compression heat pumps. Almost all vapour compression heat pumps are closed cycle units which recirculate a refrigerant continuously around a closed loop. The most common example of a vapour compression heat pump is the refrigerator.

The major problems with vapour compression heat pumps lie in compressor technology (which is the heart of the vapour compression pump) and the availability of suitable refrigerants.

More specifically, vapour compression heat pumps have historically been considered unreliable and are complex thereby requiring maintenance. Many manufacturing companies are preoccupied with production-related equipment and therefore do not readily accept peripheral equipment that might not work or cause operational problems to other operating industrial systems. Further, manufacturing companies do not want peripheral equipment which requires specialized maintenance skills.

Another problem specifically with closed cycle vapour compression heat pumps is the necessity of handling, maintaining and using suitable working fluids (refrigerants).

Working fluids may be chemically unstable at temperatures high enough to be of interest, uneconomical or even hazardous (explosive or toxic or both).

Open cycle heat pumps avoid the refrigerant problem associated with closed cycle units because they use the industrial process fluid as the refrigerant. This eliminates the need for heat exchange with a captive working fluid. However, there are several factors which severely limit the range of applicability for open cycle units. For example, process liquids are sometimes corrosive or otherwise difficult to handle, maintain and use which adds to the compressor cost. Further, process liquids are frequently mixtures of liquids which evaporate at different temperatures and complicate the cycle. Still further, process liquids frequently contain dissolved or suspended solids, which complicates some installations or makes them unworkable. Finally, open systems are not well suited to heat recovery from waste liquids as contamination of the working vapour with air is difficult to avoid and thereby limits cycle efficiency and economic attractiveness.

Open cycle heat pumps at high temperatures are subject to the same compressor problems as their closed cycle counterparts. Both open and closed cycle systems are subject to the limitation that a substantial amount of high cost electrical energy is required for vapour compression. For economic closed cycle systems, the electrical energy input can constitute up to one half of the total high temperature energy that the unit delivers. For well designed open cycle systems, the electrical energy input can be as little as 7 or 8% of the delivered heat. The cost of electricity relative to the costs of other energy sources is a major factor in determining the economic viability of a vapour compression installation.

There is consequently a need for a method of conserving energy which improves the current art of heat transfer devices by providing a simple device and method for heat transfer which does not require vapour compression or chemical reactions to recover

energy from waste heat sources, and which achieves meaningful and useful temperature rises.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The present invention is directed to a method and device for increasing energy efficiencies by recovering heat which would otherwise be lost, and by raising the temperature of the heat sufficiently to permit use of recovered energy.

The present invention provides a method for exaggerating the nondiffuse emission pattern radiating from a surface by configuring the geometry of the surface. This method can result in radiant heat flux flowing in specific directions from the surface in a more concentrated or less concentrated pattern than for an ordinary surface having the same composition and temperature. Another result of the method is that the apparent temperature of the surface as perceived from specific directions is higher than or lower than the actual temperature of the surface. Accordingly, if a receiving surface or target surface is placed in a region where the apparent temperature of the surface is higher than the actual temperature of the surface then the result is a net flow of radiant heat from the surface (or emitting surface) to the target surface.

The net flow of radiant heat transfer can be further realized by minimizing the convective and conductive heat flow between the surface and the target surface (such that the combined heat flow by conduction and convection between the surface and the target surface is a small fraction of the net heat flow by radiation between the surface and the target surface).

While this method is effective for a surface emitting to a target surface, one skilled in the art will appreciate that a plurality of surfaces can be used to emit radiant heat to the target surface. A worker skilled in the art will further appreciate that the geometry of the surface or emitting surface can be configured in various ways. In one method the geometry of the surface is configured to a V shape with the opening of the V facing the target surface. Still further, the surface can be made of various materials. In one method the material is highly reflective and in a more specific embodiment the surface is a highly polished metallic surface.

In one embodiment, entirely surrounding or nearly entirely surrounding the target surface by a continuous surface or a plurality of surfaces further increases the effect of this method. In this embodiment, by supplying heat to the emitting surface and removing heat

from the target surface, the present invention provides a method for producing a useful radiant heat pump.

The concept of the radiant heat pump is based on the fact that radiant heat exchange between two bodies involves an independent and quantifiable flow of energy in each direction. This distinguishes radiant heat transfer from both conduction and convection, since at least on a macroscopic scale, conductive and convective heat transfer are uni-directional along a gradient. By producing an artificial environment in which the flow of radiant energy from an emitting surface at one temperature to a receiving surface at higher temperature is favoured over the reverse and normally dominant flow, the invention proposes to establish a net flow of radiant heat against a temperature differential.

One method of producing the artificial environment is to modify the geometry of the emitting surface such that its apparent temperature, from the perspective of the receiving surface, is higher than its actual temperature. This may be achieved by modifying the geometry of the emitting surface such that its emissions are more focussed and less diffuse, and by orienting the emitting surface to emit a greater concentration of heat in the direction of the receiving surface. The artificial environment can be further enhanced by eliminating conductive and convective heat transfer by introducing a vacuum, for instance, which will also have the benefit of reducing scattering of the emissions and interference with the radiant energy flow.

Radiant heat pumps overcome many of the major problems associated with other prior art systems since radiant heat pumps require no compressor or other complex machines, require no chemicals or refrigerants, can operate well over a wide temperature range, and can be assembled from a large number of identical components which can be mass produced at low cost.

Another advantage of radiant heat pumps is that they require electrical energy input only for pumping of the heat transport fluids, and not for operation (as in thermoelectric devices) or compression. Pumping of ordinary liquids is a very mature technology that industry will have little difficulty implementing efficiently.

The radiant heat pump involves no refrigerants or other complex chemicals.

Therefore, the practical and economic operating temperature ranges are not limited by chemical properties. The performance of each pump is determined by its geometry, the characteristics of the emitter surfaces, and the quality of emitter surface preparation. It

appears that a radiant heat pump will operate well over a far broader temperature range than prior art heat pumps.

Perhaps the most important advantage of radiant heat pumps is the fact that radiant heat transfer is enhanced by increasing temperature. Since the rate of emission is proportional to the fourth power of absolute temperature, the attractiveness of the radiant heat pump over existing technologies will typically increase with increasing source temperature.

In accordance with the methods describe above, the present invention provides a radiant heat pump device for transferring heat from a surface to a receiving or target surface where the target surface has a higher temperature than the emitting surface. The surface emits energy radiation towards the target surface. Further, the surface is geometrically configured to project nondiffuse radiant emission patterns towards the target surface. The result, as apparent from the methods described above, is a net heat flow from the emitting surface to the target surface against a temperature differential.

In another embodiment of the radiant heat pump device, a hollow emitter assembly defines a vacuum-sealed enclosure. Passing through the hollow emitter assembly is a hollow cylindrical target for collecting radiation and for transporting the radiation to the exterior of the emitter assembly. The emitter assembly includes a plurality of emitting plates on the emitter assembly's inner surface, the emitter plates facing the hollow cylindrical target and the emitter plates having a smooth surface for reflecting radiation emitted from the emitter assembly to the emitter plates to the hollow cylindrical target.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS Embodiments of the present invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the attached Figures, wherein: Figure 1 is an emitter assembly including two emitter plates each having an emitting surface in accordance with the invention; Figure 2 is a top view of the emitter assembly in Figure 1 which demonstrates the reflection of emissions between two adjacent plate-emitting surfaces in accordance with the invention; Figure 3 is a perspective view of an emitter assembly in relation to a target in accordance with the invention; Figure 4 is a graph which demonstrates the ratio of focussed flux from an emitting surface compared to a theoretical blackbody flux in accordance with the invention;

Figure 5 is an emitter assembly in relation to a cylindrical target in accordance with the invention; Figure 6A is a side view of one embodiment of the radiant heat pump in accordance with the invention; Figure 6B is a cross sectional view of the radiant heat pump in Figure 6A taken at line A-A in accordance with the invention; Figure 6C is a cross sectional view of the radiant heat pump in Figure 6B taken at line B-B in accordance with the invention; Figure 6D is a cross sectional view of the radiant heat pump in Figure 6C taken at line C-C in accordance with the invention; Figure 7 is a cross sectional view of one embodiment of a radiant heat pump in accordance with the invention; and Figure 8 is a system of radiant heat pumps in accordance with the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Those skilled in the art will know that unlike heat conduction and convection, radiant heat transfer between two bodies involves an independent, quantifiable flow in each direction. Conventional theory on radiant heat transfer is based on an ideal surface, known as the blackbody. The blackbody has a total emissive power which is proportional to the fourth power of its absolute temperature, emits uniformly (diffusely) in all directions, emits with a characteristic, predictable wavelength distribution and absorbs all radiant energy which is incident upon it.

A less idealized theoretical surface than a blackbody is termed a graybody which also emits diffusely and with a characteristic wavelength distribution. However, a graybody only emits a fraction of the power of a blackbody; that fraction (uniform for all wavelengths) is termed its emissivity. Conversely, a graybody also absorbs only a fraction of the incident radiant energy; that fraction (uniform for all wavelengths) is defined as absorptivity (any incident energy not absorbed is reflected diffusely). Further, for a graybody, absorptivity is generally equal to emissivity.

Any two blackbodies or graybodies placed in line of sight contact with each other will exchange radiant energy such that their temperatures tend to converge. That is, if one body has a higher temperature than the other body, then the amount of radiant energy from the higher temperature body which is transmitted to the lower temperature body will be greater than the amount of radiant energy from the lower temperature body which is transmitted to the higher temperature body.

In contrast with blackbodies and graybodies, real surfaces have emissivities and absorptivities which vary with wavelength, emit with distribution patterns that deviate to varying degrees from truly diffuse, and have reflections that are partly specular and partially diffuse. Accordingly, real surfaces will emit different amounts, generally less, radiant energy than blackbody or graybody surfaces.

The present invention provides a method and a device for exaggerating the nondiffuse emission patterns of real surfaces by making radiant emissions from the surfaces less diffuse than the surfaces'normal emissions. As a consequence, the nondiffuse emission patterns can be concentrated onto a receiving surface. Further, there can be a net flow of radiant heat energy from a lower temperature (emitting) surface to a higher temperature target or receiving surface. As described below, this method, which is contrary to the"normal"pattern considering that the vast majority of surfaces radiate heat

diffusely, facilitates the net transfer of radiant heat energy to the receiving surface against a temperature gradient, which has very valuable commercial uses.

In one embodiment of the method of exaggerating nondiffuse emission patterns shown in Figure 1, two emitter plates 16, which each have the same dimensions and emitting surfaces 18, are placed in contact along edges of equal length. Viewed in cross section (Figure 2), the line of contact forms the apex for a narrow, elongated"V"shape. In this formation, the emissions from either plate 16 flowing in the general direction of the opening at the top of the V are confined and reflected by the opposing emitting surface 18 of the plate 16 and are reflected back toward the opening of the V.

The nature of the reflections of the emissions is of particular interest. As shown in Figure 2, the angle between a ray and the axis of symmetry 30 is smaller after the reflection than it is before the reflection, by an amount equal to the angle separating the plates 16. In other words, each reflection is a sort of focussing event. Depending on the geometry of the system and an emission's location of origin, an emission may undergo several more reflections before emerging from the opening of the V. If the plates 16 are sufficiently smooth, only a trivial amount of scattering takes place at each reflection.

Consequently, a high percentage of the original emission is reflected.

The cumulative effect of multiple reflections to numerous emissions from the emitting surfaces 18 of this formation is a roughly concentrated beam of radiant heat energy whose component emissions approach with varying degrees of accuracy towards a direction parallel to the axis of symmetry 30.

Due to the unique emissivity characteristics of metals, a metal surface is preferable for the emitting surfaces 18. More specifically, metals exhibit inverted emissivity characteristics (which increase at low angles) and are far from diffuse. A highly polished metal surface will result in even less diffusion upon reflection of radiant heat energy.

The combination of polished metal emitting surfaces 18 into certain geometries causes the combined emitting surfaces 18 to project nondiffuse radiant emission patterns.

When compared with the radiant emission patterns produced by an ideal blackbody emitter, the total emission of radiant energy from the emitting surfaces 18 will naturally be equal to or less than the corresponding total for the ideal blackbody with the same projected area. However, the emitting surface 18 projects relatively higher concentrations of radiant heat energy to specific regions and lower concentrations to other regions. That is, the radiant flux density projected along the axis of symmetry 30 for each emitting plate

16 pair is significantly higher than it would be in the case of diffuse emission but the flux densities at large angles from the axis of symmetry 30 are correspondingly lower.

Accordingly, the emitting surface 18 may achieve up to several times the equivalent blackbody emission level for a target region and even greater emissions when compared to a diffuse emitter.

Using the method described above and adding a target plane 20 which is perpendicular to the axis of symmetry 30 as shown in Figure 3, it is possible to concentrate a beam of radiant heat energy from the emitting surface 18 on the target plane 20 (or a more specific target 31 as shown in Figure 5) which transmits more radiant energy towards the target plane 20 than if the emitting surface 18 was a normal diffuse emitting surface (or an ideal blackbody emitting surface).

The emitter assembly 14 is constructed so that the maximum relative flux density from the emitter plates 16 is incident on or near the target 31. Consequently, from the target's perspective, the high radiant flux density makes the"apparent"temperature of the emitter plates 16 higher than the emitter plates'actual temperature. Since heat flow to the target 31 is based on the apparent temperature of the emitting surface as perceived by the target surface, the target 31 will absorb more heat emitted from the emitter plates 16 than if the target 31 was able to perceive the emitter plates'actual temperature. Accordingly, there will be a net flow of heat to the target 31, notwithstanding that the target 31 may be at a higher surface temperature than surface temperature of the emitter plates 16.

One method of maximizing heat transfer to a cylindrical target is to increase the number of pairs of emitter plates 16 oriented to project focussed emissions on the cylindrical target. This method can be embodied in the radiant heat pump device discussed below.

Another method to maximize the advantageous radiant transfer from the emitting surface 18 to the target 31 is to minimize the conductive and convective"back flows"that occur as a result of the Zeroth Law. Conduction is minimized by limiting the cross- sectional area available for transfer back from the target 31 to the emitter plates 16.

Convection is minimized by maintaining a vacuum between the emitting and target surfaces.

If undesirable heat losses by conduction and convection from the target 31 are minimized then the following equations describe the relationships between the

temperatures of the target and emitting surfaces and the rates of heat flow between the target and emitting surfaces.

RADt = RADe-CONV.................... (i) Where: RADt is the rate of radiant emission from the target, RADe is the rate of radiant heat gain by the target, and CONV is the rate of convective heat removal.

RADt=AtEtST ; Tt= (RADf/AtEtS)'............ (ii) Where: Et is the emissivity (absorptivity) of the target, S is the Stefan-Boltzmann constant, At is the surface area of the target, and Tt is the absolute temperature of the target.

RADe = RAtSEtTe4..................... (iii) Where: R is the ratio of incident emissions to blackbody emissions, and Te is the temperature of the emitter plates.

Combining equations i, ii, and iii, and setting Et = 1: RAtSTe4-CONV Tt = (-------------------------)1/4 At S In the ideal case where: (1) the emitter assemblies 14 emit with the power of blackbodies and (2) all emissions are incident on the target 31, the maximum concentration ratio that could be achieved would be fixed by the geometry of the emitter assemblies 14.

The particular shape and arrangement of the emitting surfaces are variable. For instance, the V shape shown in the figures may have various alternate configurations.

More specifically, the angle of the opening of the V shape (shown as approximately 30° in Figure 1) may be narrower or wider, the emitter plates 16 may have varying widths and the emitter plates 16 may not be planar. More generally, a V shape is not essential as other geometric configurations (having a plurality of surfaces where some surfaces may even emit diffusely) may achieve the same purpose of exaggerating nondiffuse emission patterns to produce concentrations of emitted energy toward a region or regions.

Using the above methods, it is possible to design a radiant heat pump 10.

In one embodiment shown in Figures 6A, 6B, 6C and 6D, the present invention provides a radiant heat pump 10 having a hollow shell assembly 14 defining a vacuum

sealed recess 15 and a hollow cylindrical target 12 disposed through the emitter assembly 14 for collecting energy by radiation and for transporting the collected energy to the exterior of the shell assembly. In this embodiment the shell assembly 14 includes a plurality of emitting plates 16 on the shell assembly's inner surface 17, the emitter plates 16 facing the hollow cylindrical target 12 and the emitter plates 16 having a smooth active radiant surface or emitting surface 18 for reflecting radiation transferred from the shell assembly 14 to the emitter plates 16 and then by radiation to the hollow cylindrical target 12. The radiant heat pump 10 is designed to enclose a vacuum such that conductive and convective heat transfer effects are insignificant when compared to radiant heat transfer although any means of minimizing conductive and convective heat transfer will be effective.

Although this embodiment is shown in two dimensions for the sake of simplicity, a 3-D symmetry may also be used. For example, in another embodiment, the emitter assembly 14 may be spherical and the emitter plates 16 may define conical recesses for radiating focused emissions on a target 12 which, in such an embodiment, may also be spherical. A worker skilled in the art will appreciate that other two-dimensional and three- dimensional shapes will be effective.

In another or further embodiment, one skilled in the art will appreciate that the shell assembly 14 may be nested as shown in Figure 7. That is, concentric shell assemblies (such that the outer surface of one shell assembly forms the collector in another shell assembly, and so forth) may be provided around the hollow cylindrical (or spherical) target 12. Since emissive power is proportional to the fourth power of absolute temperature, higher source temperatures provided to the inner emitter assembly from the outer emitter assembly would make a radiant heat pump 10 more effective in terms of temperature lift to the target 12.

In general operation, the radiant heat pump 10 is installed in an environment such as a generating plant or other energy facility where heated liquid or steam is in contact with the outside of the radiant heat pump. Typically the liquid or steam is not at a high enough temperature for further use in the generating plant without upgrading the temperature (that is, the heat is waste heat). As the heat or heated water comes into contact with the radiant heat pump 10, the exterior of the shell assembly 14 absorbs the heat and transmits the heat to the interior surface 17 which includes emitter plates 16.

Simultaneously, water or other heat energy removal means flows through the hollow

cylindrical element 12. As a result of using the methods described above to modify the emitting surface 18 of the emitter plates 16 and to modify the geometries of the emitter plates 16 to exaggerate the nondiffuse emission patterns of the emitter plates 16, the apparent temperature of the emitter plates 16 from the perspective of the cylindrical element 12 is greater than the actual temperature of the emitter plates 16, resulting in the cylindrical element 12 absorbing more heat than if cylindrical element 12 perceived the actual (lower) temperature of the emitter plates 16. Accordingly, there is a net flow of energy by radiation to the cylindrical element 12 which can raise the temperature of the cylindrical element 12 to a useful temperature, notwithstanding that the cylindrical element 12 is at a higher temperature than emitter plates 16.

Emitter Plates The emitter plates 16 may be long thin components formed, for example, by machining, forging, stamping, die casting or investment casting. The material used is preferably strong, rigid, and economical, with a high thermal conductivity. In descending order of thermal conductivity, copper, aluminum and steel are among the best common options currently available. If plastics, or composites with sufficient strength and rigidity at high temperature exist in combination with adequate thermal conductivity, durability and very low gas permeability, they can also be used to construct the emitter plates 16.

These composites may have a strength to weight advantage over metals. Suitable plastic forming techniques for forming the emitter plates include rotomolding, thermoforming, and if components are small enough, possibly also injection molding.

The emitter plates 16 are preferably solid and designed to direct a substantial portion of emitted heat to the hollow cylindrical target 12. A worker skilled in the art will appreciate that the emitter plates 16 may be machined in one continuous piece thereby forming one continuous surface around the hollow cylindrical target 12.

The active radiant surface or emitting surface 18 is preferably very smooth. Due to the advantageous properties of polished metal with respect to reflectivity described above, the emitter plates 16 are preferably comprised of or coated with a polished metal surface 18.

Numerous design changes to the emitter plates 16 are conceivable. For instance, the emitter plates 16 may be curved and the emitter plates 16 may include combinations of diffuse emitting materials and polished metals or other highly reflective materials. As

stated above, the particular shape and arrangement of emitting surfaces generally (and specifically the emitter plates 16 in this case) is variable.

In addition to the emitter plates, the radiant heat pump 10 may include reflecting surfaces at each end of the cylindrical or spherical or other emitter surface 14 made of either flat or curved highly reflective material. Alternatively, each end of the emitter assembly 14 may include emitting surfaces made of either flat or curved surfaces that emit diffusely. Still further, the end caps 22 may be composed of combinations of materials which emit diffusely and are highly reflective.

In the embodiments described above, it is also possible to achieve refractive enhancement with materials that transmit the wavelengths of interest, if the effect of the materials used and the geometries designed is to concentrate radiated energy from an emitter to a region including a collector.

Hollow Cylindrical Target 12 The hollow cylindrical target 12 is used to transfer heat absorbed by the target outside of the shell assembly 14 and on to a heat delivery system (usually through fluid flowing through the hollow cylindrical element which is heated to a useful temperature by absorption from the collector's surface). This upgraded energy can then be reused in a system (such as in Figure 8) to achieve the objective of conserving energy, recovering waste energy and reducing costs.

The hollow cylindrical target 12 is preferably not reflective (that is, the surface of the hollow cylindrical target 12 should be highly absorptive to maximize the net heat flow to the hollow cylindrical target 12). To achieve useful results, the surface area of the hollow cylindrical target 12 should be smaller than the apparent or effective surface area of the emitter plates 16.

Environment The artificial environment between the emitter assembly 14 and the hollow cylindrical target 12 can help maximize the net flow of heat to the hollow cylindrical target 12 through the minimization of any back flow (from target to emitter) by conduction or convection. This may be done, for instance, by vacuum sealing the emitter assembly 14 and minimizing contact of emitter and target by (for instance) providing heat insulation between those elements where they necessarily contact each other or intermediate mounting means.

Industrial Applications of the Radiant Heat Pump

General immediate uses for the present invention are: 1. waste energy recovery and upgrading, and process heat transfer in industrial and large commercial applications, and 2. condensing heat recovery from thermal power stations.

In addition to those areas in which the radiant heat pump will out-perform competitive technologies, the present invention can be used in thermal-electric generating stations which currently waste approximately 40% of the total energy input by rejecting the energy input as low temperature heat, usually to a nearby body of water. This waste is the result of a thermodynamic limitation of the cycle used to convert heat into mechanical energy. Steam is condensed at the outlet of each turbine and pumped back up to high pressure as water. To maximize the efficiency of the generating cycle, this heat is rejected at as low a temperature as possible and is not worth recovering. Radiant heat pumps could be used to recover some of this rejected waste heat for re-injection into the process to greatly increase the overall efficiency of the plant. To optimize the recovery system, the discharge temperature from the steam turbines would be increased from the normal ambient temperature to perhaps 300 degrees C. The resulting small loss in efficiency of the existing cycle would be more than offset by the recovered heat. As already discussed, none of the existing heat exchange technologies are capable of effectively dealing with a source at this high temperature.

The availability of the present invention, particularly to industry, may result in industry-specific applications that do not currently exist. As an example, in exchanging heat between two flows it might be advantageous to transfer up in temperature rather than down as is currently the case with passive heat exchange. Depending on the cost of production of the present invention, the present invention may, for example, ultimately find application in building space heating (using ambient or very low temperature sources) or refrigeration.

Method of Manufacturing and Assembling a Radiant Heat Pump After rough forming of the metallic components of the emitter plates 16, the mating surfaces that permit accurate relative positioning of adjacent emitter plates 16 are machined to high accuracy (-+ 0. 005" or better). This precision is economical and practical with the current generation of computer numerically controlled (CNC) machining technology. Locating features such as tabs for position keying and grooves for vacuum sealing elements between emitter plates may be added during the machining operation. In

the same machining operation, or in a separate machining or grinding operation, the surfaces of the emitter plates 16 that participate in the radiant exchange are finished to a high quality. The quality of surface finishing required for economical performance of the radiant heat pump, and the effect of directional surface markings left by machining or grinding on operation of the heat pump is determined empirically, and depends upon the material chosen and the method of manufacture. However, if a higher surface quality of the metal emitter plates 16 is required, it maybe produced by secondary operations such as lapping and/or electropolishing.

Once each emitter has the correct shape, the emitting surfaces 18 are coated with a thin film (likely < 0.002") of an appropriate material. Currently, the preferred materials are chromium or aluminum, however other materials that later prove to be more suitable are intended to be included herein. The coating technique depends upon economics, with a preference for the most economical coating method that provides acceptable radiant and reflective properties to the emitting surfaces 18. Electroplating, which would be used for metals only, and vapour deposition are among the most likely candidates for coating techniques.

If plastics or composites are used, the molding processes may be designed to minimize the amount and cost of work required after forming the emitter plate 16. In particular, polished molds used with high performance release agents might deliver active surface qualities ready for the final coating.

Prior to assembly into the radiant heat pump 10, the emitter plates 16 are cleaned thoroughly and taken to an assembly area which meets clean room standards, not unlike those used for manufacture of microelectronics. Completed emitter plates 16 are then stacked into cylindrical assemblies by placing them next to each other one unit at a time, and engaging the locating features until groupings spanning 180° of arc are complete.

The next step in the assembly of the emitter assembly 14 is to combine two half shells into a full cylindrical array of emitter plates 16. The final step is to strap the array together with external hoops of metal or composite material. Vacuum sealing elements may be placed between emitters individually during assembly, or pumped through the sealing grooves in the entire array during a single step after strapping. In the latter case, the sealing material will harden to a rigid state that provides additional mechanical stability to the emitter assembly 14, and helps to bond its components together. After

bonding, straps may no longer be necessary. A sealing agent applied externally on the emitter assembly 14 may further limit gas diffusion.

End caps 22 of machined metal or a composite material would complete each enclosure and its vacuum seals. The end cap 22 inner surfaces are preferably highly reflective to infrared wavelengths. The end caps 22 also provide the connection point for vacuum lines (not shown), and possibly for reducing gases that would be flushed through each chamber to accelerate the removal of surface oxide prior to startup. As an additional requirement, each end cap 22 would provide a barrier to minimize thermal conduction between the shell assembly 14 and the target 12 passing through its central port. At least one of the two end cap-to-target joints would be allowed to slip relatively freely so that differential thermal expansion of the target 12 would not place it in compression. Both would be thermally isolated such that the target 12 is thermally insulated (for conduction) from the shell (and thus the emitters).

The hollow cylindrical target 12 may be a thin walled tube with a thickness to diameter ratio < 0.1 and with sufficient strength and rigidity to withstand the internal pressure of a fluid medium that flows through the target 12 and conducts high temperature heat away from the radiant heat pump. The target 12 must also be sufficiently rigid to maintain its concentricity in the assembly to an acceptable accuracy. Highly conductive metals, such as copper are potential materials from which the target 12 may be comprised, however other materials are not intended to be excluded if they function as required in this invention. The convective performance inside the targets 12 may be enhanced by providing the interior of the target 12 with turbulence inducing inserts, or by surface roughening of the interior wall of the target 12. The outside surface of each target 12 will be coated with a material having a very high infrared absorbtivity.

Overall, the geometric parameters of the radiant heat pump 10 of this invention will preferably include: 1. an emitter plate 16 separation angle of approximately 3° to 12° ; 2. an emitter assembly 14 length to diameter ratio in the range of 2: 1 to 6: 1; and 3. a ratio of shell assembly 14 inner diameter/target 12 outer diameter of between 10: 1 and 50 : 1.

If the rigidity of a composite or metal emitter assembly 14 assembled according to the above methods proves inadequate, the emitter assembly 14 may be reinforced with an

external metallic frame (not shown). This approach may prove to be more economical than the use of metallic emitter plates 16, particularly in the case of composite emitters.

The above-described embodiments of the present invention are intended to be examples only. Alterations, modifications and variations may be effected to the particular embodiments by those of skill in the art without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined solely by the claims appended hereto.