After several evaluations of waste heat sources and designing heat pumps to recover energy, it has become very apparent that there is a great deal of confusion about just what makes a heat pump economic. The purpose of this article is to look into the design and economics of heat pump systems to determine what makes certain heat pump applications winners and others losers. Steam recompression and generation of steam from moist hot air are investigated specifically. Actual commercially available equipment is considered to determine the near-term and future economic viability of each approach as a function of the source and sink temperatures and magnitude of heat flow.

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