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Materials for Thermally Driven Heat Pumps
The end energy consumption for heating applications accounts for around 50% of the total energy consumption in Switzerland. At present, high-grade chemical energy in the form of oil and gas is used to cover at least two-thirds of the low-grade heat demand, which results in unfavorable CO2 emissions. There is therefore a need to minimize the utilization of these fuels and, wherever possible, substitute them with readily available waste heat or renewable energy. A key component required for the effective utilization of thermal energy for low-grade heating and cooling applications is a thermally driven heat pump. Typical materials used for thermally driven heat pumps are zeolites, silica gels and activated carbons. The state of the art of carbon sorbents cannot be considered as wholly satisfactory because of their hydrophobicity. However, monolithic carbons are superior in terms of thermal conductivity which is higher than for zeolites or silica gels.