Italian HVAC&R manufacturer LU-VE has opened a new production line for natural refrigerant heat exchangers in response to increased demand, according to a statement on its website.

The new production line is located in LU-VE’s factory in Limana, north of Venice, and will mainly be manufacturing heat exchangers using CO2 (R744) and propane (R290). “These products, mainly intended for the world of commercial refrigeration and developed through co-design activities with the [LU-VE] group’s major partners, are aimed at replacing traditional heat exchangers that use HFC refrigerants,” the statement said.

The heat exchangers  from the new line will use 9.53mm (0.38in) diameter tubes instead of the traditional 16mm (0.63in) or 12mm (0.47in) ones. This makes the heat exchangers suitable for use with refrigerants that operate at high operating pressures like CO2, as well as with flammable refrigerants like hydrocarbons “where it is essential by law to limit the amount of refrigerant charge,” LU-VE said.

The reduction of the tube diameter is “part of a process of optimization not only of the performance of the exchanger, but also of its cost.”

The cost aspect “is of great importance especially in the current historic moment where the prices of commodities such as copper have reached record levels,” LU-VE noted.

LU-VE is a long time proponent of natural refrigerants and launched its first heat exchangers with natural working fluids like CO2, ammonia/NH3 (R717) and hydrocarbons back in 2004. In 2020, LU-VE was one of the first companies to obtain Eurovent certification for CO2 evaporators.

There are plans to add yet another production line in the future that is also for natural refrigerant products, according to the statement.

In 2021, LU-VE received a €30 million (US$33.1 million) loan from Italian bank Banco BPM to support the company’s growth plans, with €18 million (US$19.9 million) being earmarked to support LU-VE’s Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) programs.

Want to find out more, or have something to say about this story? Join the ATMO Connect network to meet and engage with like-minded stakeholders in the clean cooling and natural refrigerant arena.