U.S. manufacturer Emerson has improved its Copeland-branded propane (R290) scroll compressor design for heat pumps, introducing four models of varying capacities that the company says are low-sound, efficient and compact.

The products were shown at the 2022 Chillventa trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, October 11–13.

These new heat pump compressors offer best-in-class efficiency with A++ performance at 55°C (131°F) reference temperature and only half the sound pressure of standard compressors, -10dB(A), at full capacity, according to a statement by Emerson.

“Thanks to its properties, R290 demonstrates better performances versus HFCs at higher pressure ratio,” according to Emerson’s product brochure. “The excellent properties of R290 at high-pressure ratio nearly compensate the effect of enhanced vapor injection on COP.

Emerson is currently experiencing “a super high demand for heat pumps” because of the pressure to decarbonize the heating sector through electrification, explained Markus Lenz, Director Marketing Refrigeration and Integrated, during an interview at Chillventa. “It doesn’t matter if you ask the manufacturer of the heat pump or the manufacturer of the components and compressor – we cannot satisfy all the demand currently,” Lenz said.

Although there is currently a bottleneck with manufacturing natural refrigerant heat pumps, Lenz explained that this is not a problem specific to the nature of the refrigerant. “This bottleneck would have happened anyway,” said Lenz. “There are supply chain issues, plus the sudden increase in demand was not expected at this level – regardless of whether it’s an A2L compressor, an A1 or a propane compressor. I would not say the F-gas Regulation is the key issue here.”

Large propane compressors for chiller applications were also on display at Chillventa. These 22kW (6.26TR) units are the largest propane compressors in Emerson’s line.

“We cannot satisfy all the [heat pump] demand currently.”

Markus Lenz, Emerson

R290 compressors for display cabinets

The Emerson Chillventa stand also featured a new horizontal scroll propane compressor for integrated display cabinets. There are two options available – for direct expansion systems and indirect systems connected to a water loop. “It is a very efficient solution,” said Lenz.

Additional to the propane ranges, Emerson exhibited its new CO2 scroll compressor and the scroll unit that will be released in Europe by the start of 2023.

Watch this YouTube video tour of the Emerson booth at Chillventa 2022 where Vice-President Thomas Tomski shows the new natural refrigerant technologies, among others.

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