The Danish Technological Institute (DTI) is developing a new generation of air-to-water heat pumps using propane (R290) as refrigerant.

The objectives of the project is to create heat pumps with an energy efficiency 5-10% higher than that of current HFC heat pumps. This result would have the best EU energy rating of A+++ and comply with the EU Ecodesign regulations.

The highest priority for the project design is safety management, both in the end user scenario and during the manufacturing process, to avoid any issues with the flammable R290.

The starting point for the project is an air-to-water heat pump produced by Danish manufacturer Nilan. The current model is used in low-energy housing to provide under-floor heating. The thermodynamic circuit for this model is located entirely outside, making it a good platform for developing a heat pump using R290, according to an announcement on the DTI website.

Apart from the R290 air-to-water heat pump, the project also aims to produce a set of safety management guidelines for this equipment. Such guidelines don’t exist in Denmark.

The project began in March 2019 and is expected to finish in September 2020. It is funded by Elforsk, a public funding program supporting energy-efficiency research in Denmark, and carried out in collaboration with Nilan, EBM Papst, Vonsild Consulting and H. Jessen Jürgensen A/S.

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