A numerical evaluation of a novel recovery fresh air heat pump concept for a generic electric bus

Ehsan Afrasiabian, Roy Douglas, Marco Geron, Gareth Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Since the outbreak of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, public transportation networks have faced unprecedented challenges and have looked for practical solutions to address the rising safety concerns. It is deemed that in confined spaces, operating heating units (and cooling) in non-re-circulation mode (i. e., all-fresh air mode) could reduce the airborne transmission of this infectious disease, by reducing the density of the pathogen and exposure time. However, this will expectedly increase the energy demand and reduce the driving range of electric buses. To tackle both the airborne transmission and energy efficiency issues, in this paper a novel recovery heat pump concept, operating in all-fresh air mode, was proposed. The novelty of this concept lies in its potential to be applied to already manufactured/in-service heat pump units as it does not require any additional components or need for redesigning the heating systems. In this concept, the cabin exhaust air is directed to pass through the evaporator of the heat pump system to recover part of the waste heat from the cabin and to improve the efficiency of the system. In this paper, a 0D/1D coupled model of a generic single-deck cabin and a heat pump system was developed in the Simulink environment of MATLAB (R2020b) software. The model was run in two different modes, namely the all-fresh air (as a baseline and a recovery heat pump concepts), and the air re-circulation mode (as a conventional heat pump concept with a 50% re-circulation ratio). The performance of these concepts was investigated to evaluate how an all-fresh air policy could affect the performance of the system, as well as the energy-saving potential of the proposed recovery concept. The performance of the system was studied under different ambient temperatures of −5 °C, 0 °C, and 5 °C, and for low and moderate occupancy levels. Results show that implementing the all-fresh air policy in the recovery and baseline concepts significantly improved the ventilation rate per person by at least 102% and at most 125%, compared to the air-re-circulating heat pump. Moreover, adopting the recovery concept reduced the power demand by at least 8% and at most 11%, compared to the baseline all-fresh air heat pump, for the selected fan and blower flow rates. The presented results in this paper along with the applicability of this concept to in-service mobile heat pumps could make it a feasible, practical, and quick trade-off solution to help the bus operators to protect people and improve the energy efficiency of their service.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118181
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Early online date09 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 05 Jun 2022


  • Heat pump
  • Contagious diseases
  • Waste heat recovery
  • Electric Bus
  • COVID-19


Dive into the research topics of 'A numerical evaluation of a novel recovery fresh air heat pump concept for a generic electric bus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this