heat pumps are being used in an innovative research project into the potential of using these highly efficient heat sources to keep roads free of ice as well as, on warmer days, to use the road surface as a heat store/collector
The system, currently undergoing extended trials next to the M1 at Toddington, involves the use of a Clivet
WRHN102 water to water heat pump. The Inter-seasonal Heat Transfer (IHT) process developed by sustainable energy experts Icax Ltd uses underground energy stores to turn solar energy collected via the asphalt road surface into useable energy.
water to water heat pump was supplied by Clivet Aircon
, the service and maintenance company owned by Clivet SPA. Having been instrumental in installing the unit and associated pipework, Clivet Aircon will continue to be involved in the two-year trials by providing ongoing service and maintenance.
According to Icax, the IHT process could prove to be a low cost and low maintenance solution for keeping road surfaces dry and free of ice, reducing motorway maintenance and improving road safety. For buildings that are adjacent or close to roads, the spin off is the availability of low costing heating.
The IHT process uses a collector array of water pipes that are buried below the road surface and a storage pipe loop buried at a lower level. During the summer the water and anti-freeze circulated through the collector collects heat from the road surface. This energy is transferred to the insulated heat store by the fluid. In the winter, the stored heat is pumped from the store to heat the road surface.