Danish HVAC&R manufacturer Danfoss has announced a new range of scroll compressors for commercial propane (R290)-based heat pumps in the range of 20–200kW (5.7–56.9TR).
The VZN series will come with a brand-new HVAC drive and will include five variable-speed compressors when it launches at the end of 2023. Two fixed-speed models will complement the R290 offer in early 2024, followed by additional variable and fixed-speed models later in the year, further expanding the options and capacities for the OEMs.
The manufacturer will be offering the option of vapor injection, which will help to reach very low ambient conditions while keeping constant heating capacity and increasing the SCOP significantly.
The new compressor lineup – which Danfoss showcased at the ISH 2023 trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, March 13–17 – covers heating capacities of 25–68kW (7.1–19.2TR) at an evaporating temperature of -7°C (19.4°F) and a condensing temperature of 50°C (122°F).
In multiple circuits, the VZN compressors from Danfoss can deliver water temperatures of up to 80°C (176°F) in systems providing up to 200kW (56.9TR) in heating capacity.
Gap in the market
According to Hervé Michal, Application Expert for Commercial AC and Heat Pumps at Danfoss Climate Solutions, the manufacturer is filling a gap in the market with its new VZN variable-speed compressors.
“The market needs this kind of compressor offering for heat pumps,” he said. “There are several pressures in Europe around GWP etc., and the market is largely going towards natural refrigerants with a low GWP as they’re not in the scope of restriction.”
“To meet this demand, we developed the VZN compressor range,” he added.
To complement its offerings for light-commercial applications, Danfoss is also considering expanding into the residential market with compressors that cover up to 20kW (5.7TR), said Michal, noting that competition in this space was particularly fierce.
“We are all excited to see where the market is going for heat pumps,” he added. “The residential market is already on the path to a revolution, but the commercial and industrial market is where the big challenge is.”
Greater flexibility and efficiency
Offering both variable- and fixed-speed compressors in the range gives OEMs greater flexibility when designing heat pumps, explained Michal.
They can either build a unit that uses a single variable-speed compressor to address up to 70kW (19.9TR), which typically requires two compressors, or they can combine the two technologies into one unit – a variable-speed compressor in one circuit and a fixed-speed compressor in a second circuit – to offer a larger capacity with “relevant efficiency,” he said.