German manufacturer Skadec is field-testing a four-pipe propane (R290) heat pump that cools and heats at the same time and has introduced a new compact, low-charge, water-cooled modular propane chiller for indoor air-conditioning and other applications.

Both products, designed for commercial/industrial installations, were showcased for the first time at October’s Chillventa trade show in Nuremberg, Germany. The heat pump is expected in 2023, while the low-charge chiller for indoor installation will soon be commercially available.

Part of the Kratschmayer Group, Skadec is an independent company that has been developing chillers at its company headquarters in Hohenlohe, southern Germany, for eight years, according to its website. It has been focusing heavily on developing and optimizing its growing range of R290 products, which it considers “future proof.”

A Chillventa surprise

The manufacturer already received purchase requests for the heat pump at Chillventa, according to Dennis Kratschmayer, Managing Director of Skadec. “Nobody really expected this machine, but we are super happy that we surprised our visitors.”

With two separate refrigeration circuits, the heat pump offers a heating capacity of 166.4kW (47.3TR) at 7°C (45°F) ambient and a cooling capacity of 142.5kW (40.5TR) at 35°C (95°F) ambient. Its seasonal COP (SCOP) is 5.26, with a seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) of 5.07. It includes a reciprocating compressor with inverter technology.

With this new heat pump, it is possible to fulfill the demand for a secondary cooling system as well, explained Kratschmayer. For example, it is possible to fulfill a 50% heating capacity and a 100% cooling capacity at the same time. The “unneeded capacity difference” is eliminated by the air heat exchanger, he added.

The significance of this product is its wide variability of its application areas, energy efficiency and sustainability aspect, according to Skadec. Customers are increasingly interested in natural refrigerants, which encourages the manufacturer to invest in developing and optimizing these products.

Expecting R290 heat pump growth

The current regulatory landscape in the EU is expected to support the acceleration of natural refrigerant-based heat pumps as these align with climate goals. Thus, Skadec expects the market share of R290 heat pumps to continue to increase.

“Looking at the draft of the new F-gas Regulation, it can be assumed that natural refrigerants will actually have a higher market share than f-gases in the near future,” says Kratschmayer. “We see natural refrigerants on their way to becoming the market leader.”

As a result, the market for R290 heat pumps will “increase tremendously,” he predicted. “In the German market, we have already seen this dynamic for two–three years,” while in the overall European market, “we see a huge potential for this sustainable solution due to new regulations in the respective countries.”

“Looking at the draft of the new F-gas Regulation, it can be assumed that natural refrigerants will actually have a higher market share than f-gases in the near future.”

Dennis Kratschmayer, Skadec

Multiple chiller applications

Skadec also received many positive comments on its new compact water-cooled R290 chiller at Chillventa. “The indoor installation and the very compact measures are very interesting facts of this machine,” said Kratschmayer.

This modular chiller is available in capacities ranging between 7 and 85kW (2 and 24.2TR), mainly for indoor installations. It can be used for air-conditioning, process cooling and cold-brine applications. “Whatever the customers’ needs are,” he said.

The chiller features a low propane refrigerant charge of 0.4–2.2kg (0.9–4.9lbs), aligning with charge limits for indoor installation. It comes in a closed machine housing with explosion-proof gas monitoring and explosion-proof housing ventilation. A low-noise version is also available.

>>More information about this chiller and Skadec’s hydrocarbon product range.

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