PHNIX, a Guangzhou, China-based manufacturer, presented its new propane (R290) domestic heat pump water heater, the airExpert Inverter, at Mostra Convegno Expocomfort(MCE).
This year’s MCE, called MCE Live + Digital, combined a live in-person event at MICO, Fiera Milano Convention Centre, Milan, Italy, from April 8-9, with an online component from April 8-16.
PHNIX executives Joseph Wong, Overseas Sales Manager, and Ivan Guo, Area Manager, explained the product during a session at the event.
The heat pump water heater has a cooling capacity of 1.4-2.3kW (4.9-8.1TR) and a storage tank of 200-300L (44-66 gallons). It delivers domestic hot water at 55°C (131°F) with a coefficient of performance (COP) of up to 4.6.
The PHNIX product’s release is tied to the 2030 Climate & Energy Framework of the European Union (EU), which aims to increase the share of renewable energy by 32% and improve energy efficiency by at least 32.5%. It also intends to increase the use of heating and cooling that uses renewable or waste energy by 1.3% annually and cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 40% by 2030 (from 1990 levels). To meet these goals, EU member states are requested to set up a long-term renovation strategy. “The implementation of this framework will benefit heat pump technology,” said Wong.
PHNIX chose the refrigerant R290 because of its low GWP (three). In the company’s transition from R410A (GWP 2,088) and R134a (GWP 1,430) to low-GWP refrigerants, they skipped R32 with a GWP of 675, going directly to R290. “By skipping R32, we are making a great progress,” said Guo.
The inverter technology allows the compressor to work with variable speed based on the required temperature. The smart control logic can also be operated from the user’s smartphone, allowing remote operation and troubleshooting. The main features are temperature setting, mode setting, a curve graph, a timer and a fault display. A DC fan motor is also used.
Use of microchannels
According to PHNIX, the heat pump water heater offers a satisfactory COP by using microchannels in the condenser. The highest COP measured in the context of EN16147 is 4.6, at an ambient temperature of 20℃/15℃ (68°F/59°F) for dry bulb and wet bulb, respectively, and a water tank volume of 300L (66gal). The maximum heating output is 2.6kW (0.74TR); the achieved water outlet temperature is 55°C (131°F), from an inlet temperature of 15°C (59°F).
The inverter heat pump water heater can also be coupled with photovoltaics because it is Smart Grid (SG) ready, meaning it can be integrated into a “smart grid” during phases of oversupply of electricity such as from photovoltaics on sunny days. When this occurs, the heat pump water heater gets the command to heat up a buffer tank and is able to store energy.
About half of PHNIX’s heat pumps, including swimming pool heat pumps, house heating pumps and hot water heat pumps, have been exported to markets outside China, including Europe, the U.S. and Africa. PHNIX has been in the European and North American markets for 18 years.
“By skipping R32, we are making a great progress.”Ivan Guo, PHNIX
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