ENERBLUE HP90 with CO2: The refrigerant of the future for domestic hot water.
Highlights from our seminar made on domestic hot water heat pumps (HP90), recently organized by the co-operation of MARITERM a distributor located in Rijeka (Croatia).
ENERBLUE and MARITERM lead the way in development and sales of CO2-based domestic hot water heat pumps
CO2 HP90 technology is a well-tested solution for domestic hot water production. With the current debate regarding the F-Gas Regulation in Europe, which will ultimately restrict the use of HFCs and we will see CO2 heat pumps emerging more strongly in Europe.
Currently ENERBLUE with its HP90 product range is one of a few manufacturers active in Europe. Sanden is a Japanese manufacturer that has a French manufacturing base, has already launched a CO2 DHW HP in France (it is adapted for European needs from the Japanese model). It is early days, but these companies have high expectations. Denso sells its CO2 technology through Stiebel Eltron in Europe – though it is still very much a niche product. Sanyo previously launched a CO2 HP in Europe though its future is uncertain since Sanyo became part of Panasonic.
Why do we not see more companies rushing to launch CO2 products in Europe?
• missing of Government subsidies which are not widespread or consistent in Europe. In Japan, tariffs and subsidies have been in place since the market introduction, and have been a strong incentive for the Co2 Heat pumps.
• Manufacturers must invest heavily to set up the servicing & maintenance networks for CO2 heat pumps. Typical European HP installers are not trained to handle CO2, which has higher working pressures than HFCs, so products cannot be promoted quickly into the market.
• Manufacturers need to invest in making technology adaptations to enable CO2 heat pumps to perform well in Europe – adapting them to European climates, home types and European hot water demand patterns. For example, hot water demand accounts for 30% of a typical Japanese home’s energy demand, whereas in Europe hot water is just 15-20% of energy demand. This means that for optimal performance in Europe, adjustments need to be made to the capacity, tank size and control system.
CO2 – a good bet for manufacturers as they begin to consider diversification in refrigerant usage
In Europe, manufacturers do not have the consistent support from Government and utilities that has been seen in Japan, and that has given Japanese manufacturers confidence to invest in optimising the technology. However, as restrictions on HFCs tighten in Europe, there will have to ultimately be diversification in refrigerant usage. CO2 is not the only refrigerant option which will avoid the regulatory restrictions, but it is already proven to work well in Japan – and the first experiences in Europe are already showing good performances. The challenge is to bring down the upfront costs, which are currently high because of the investments which have been required to adapt the technology for Europe. Companies investing now to adapt CO2 products for Europe will harvest valuable learning experiences, which will strengthen the foundations of their future business.