Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Cold/Hot storage for heat pumps

Have an intermediary thermal storage block that is heavily insulated
  [vote for,

Heat pumps are effectively pumping against a gradient. The steeper the gradient the harder and less efficiently they pump.

I suggest running them during the day/night in winter/summer respectively when the temperature is closer to the desired temperature range. Instead of pumping heat into the house, pump it into a heat sink that is heavily insulated. Then when you actually want the cold/hot you can pump it into the house.

lostmind, May 25 2013

Geothermal heat pumps http://en.wikipedia...eothermal_heat_pump
wiki link to what inspired the idea [lostmind, May 26 2013]

Like an ice house? http://en.wikipedia...ouse_%28building%29
ice cut in winter stayed until summer or longer. [popbottle, May 27 2013]


       How can you pump a lack of heat into a heat sink?
erenjay, May 26 2013

       Well, it would essentially be a heat exchanger. So it would go in either direction, that is, the working fluid of the heat pump either heating the heat sink, or vice versa. Could have it be a two stage heat pump I guess, increasing cost but improving efficiency. Has some analogies to co-gen in there I imagine.   

       Geothermal heat pumps work on a similar process...except cost a shit load more than what I'm proposing, installation wise that is. Would want something with a high specific heat capacity. Water tends to have the best.
lostmind, May 26 2013

       Water's none too happy at sub 0C though, but you can add glycol (at the cost of some heat-capacity). Ammonia'd work and is environmentally friendly after the initial explosion. How'bout an ammonia tank for cold storage, using glycol/water as transfer medium between the tank and devices ('fridge, freezer and A/C) and the radiator that loads it up during the winter.   

       Water's a natural for hot-storage and that should take care of home heating.   

       But the tanks aren't small unless you're working with a gradient which, as you said, uses energy. [+]
FlyingToaster, May 26 2013

       Mercury fountains. I'm sure you could so something with a mercury fountains.   

       Imagine, on a cold winter's day, warming your hands near the hot mercury fountain. And the more you do it, the better the idea seems to be! Ideal for follow-up calls from the company asking for your endorsement...
not_morrison_rm, May 26 2013

       //Mercury fountains// Like normal fountains, only shiny!
erenjay, May 28 2013


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