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Turning Waste Heat into Hot and Chilled Water

To create the 2020 AHR Expo Innovation Awards plumbing category’s winner, teams from around the world worked together to develop a solution to a leading industry trend: decarbonization.

LG Electronics USA, Inc.’s (Booth 6343) LG Hydro Kit is an indoor heat exchanger for LG variable refrigerant flow systems capable of transferring heat to make hot or chilled water using the refrigeration cycle rather than fossil fuels. It is available in two capacities: 42,000 Btu/h and 96,000 Btu/h.

With a strong market trend toward decarbonization, the Hydro Kit gives users a flexible option to meet hot and chilled water needs without burning fossil fuels, said Patrick Barry, U.S. senior manager of product development and planning.

Utilizing LG’s variable refrigerant flow technology, the product is designed to transfer heat energy to water, he said. “The Hydro Kit indoor heat exchanger transfers heat between it and the Outdoor Unit to make hot or chilled water for domestic hot water, heating, or cooling applications with LG VRF systems.”

In the case of heat recovery systems, the product’s innovative ability to utilize heat where it is most needed—instead of rejecting it outdoors—is a game-changer, said Barry.  

“The Hydro Kit allows for the conservation of heat—that would otherwise be wasted—to be redirected elsewhere, such as for domestic hot water, radiant under floor heating or even warming a pool,” he said.

Behind the Product

In contrast to other HVAC projects that deal primarily with the refrigeration cycle, the Hydro Kit transfers heat energy to or from water. Because of this, engineers with expertise in fluid dynamics worked together with engineers specializing in thermodynamics in order to develop this hybrid product, said Barry.

 “One of the advantages we have at LG is our collective knowledge across our entire ecosystem of products—washing machines, refrigerators, home appliances, televisions, etc.—so what differentiates us from our competitors is our ability to draw on the resources and experiences of all our divisions to leverage innovative technology across all of our products,” said Barry, adding , “this teamwork helps the company see industry trends and incorporate those into product designs”.

The Hydro Kit is a compact system that provides hot or chilled water with less fossil fuel consumption, according to Barry. By using waste heat generated during the conditioning process the need to consume an additional source of energy to heat water is diminished. “This system can be used in conjunction with the single-phase or three-phase Multi V heat pump or heat recovery outdoor units.”

With the help of integrated controls that set the temperature of the leaving water, hot or chilled water generated is distributed to a number of different applications such as a hot water tank or a conditioned space, said Barry.

The system uses a refrigerant-to-water heat exchanger to produce chilled or hot water. It can heat domestic water stored in an indirect storage tank, snow melt, in-floor or other heating systems, according to Barry. This allows for applications including single-family homes, multi-family residences, universities, offices, schools, hospitals, hotels, retail stores, restaurants and multi-use facilities.

“The Hydro Kit product brings an energy-efficient solution to projects where hot or chilled water is required. For instance, captured heat from rooms in a hotel can be recovered to supply hot water for amenities such as showers, heated pools or spas,” he said.

Barry said LG is launching a residential version of the Hydro Kit, which is expected to debut at the AHR Expo. The higher capacity version of the unit is available for commercial applications.

“Creating solutions for residential, light commercial and larger commercial projects is where we are focused,” he said.

For additional coverage of AHR Expo, visit ASHRAE Journal’s AHR Today web page.

ASHRAE has compiled this publication with care, but ASHRAE has not investigated and ASHRAE expressly disclaims any duty to investigate any product entered in the 2021 AHR Expo Innovation Awards. The appearance of any technical data or editorial material on any product does not constitute endorsement, warranty or guarantee by ASHRAE.