The heat pump is acknowledged as the world's most energy efficient method of hot water production. Its significance over other hot water systems such as direct solar heating is that it absorbs heat from the air in any weather, day and night. The heat pump can be defined as a machine which pumps heat from a low temperature source to a high temperature reservoir.
The Quantum solar hot water system works on the same principle as a compression-cycle refrigerator, using a refrigerant gas to draw heat out of one space and discharge it into another. It absorbs heat energy from the atmosphere to vaporise the refrigerant. The vapour is then compressed and passed through pipes around the outside of the water storage tank, forming the condenser. As the refrigerant vapour condenses back to its liquid form, it gives off heat to the stored water.
Using a heat pump, all the hot water requirements for a family of four can be met at a cost of 30c per day. This could represent a saving of up to 75% for the hot water portion of a domestic energy bill and a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 3 tonnes each year.
This heat pump was wholly designed and manufactured in Australia. Initial research and development occurred at the University of Melbourne in the 1970s and production by Siddons Industries Ltd in the 1980s. The heat pump hot water systems are currently being manufactured by Quantum Energy Pty Ltd in Adamstown, NSW.
Assistant Curator, Transport