In various applications the use of sorption chillers and heat pumps is limited by the available temperature level of the driving heat source or the heat sink for export of reject heat. These constraints can be overcome by integrating an efficient high-speed transonic turbo compressor into the internal cycle of a thermally driven water/lithium bromide absorption heat pump.
The operation in a hybrid heat pump with the refrigerant water implies specific challenges for the design of the compressor: Saturation pressures in the sub-atmospheric range, low vapor density, high volume flows and a targeted pressure ratio of 3 result in high impeller tip speeds with machine Mach numbers close to 1. Here the authors present a theoretical design study based on a numerical simulation of a centrifugal compressor, targeted at the given operating conditions. Evaluation of the results is conducted with regard to the relevant thermodynamic and fluid mechanic figures. The optimization of the impeller geometry comprises both fluid dynamic behavior and structural stability.