German manufacturer Vaillant announced on November 23 the launch of a production line for its propane (R290)-charged aroTHERM plus air-to-water monobloc heat pump at its plant in Belper, Derbyshire, U.K.

“Today’s announcement from Vaillant is a significant boost to our plans to kick-start a heat pump manufacturing base in the U.K. so we can develop a range of new low-carbon technologies, create jobs and meet our all-important target of installing 600,000 heat pumps each year by 2028,” said former U.K. Business & Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

Introduced in 2020, the aroTHERM plus is the first in Vaillant’s air-to-water range to use R290. With a flow temperature of up to 75°C (167°F), the aroTHERM plus can “deliver more usable hot water with high hot water comfort levels and removes the need for direct electric immersion to sterilise the water, protecting from legionella,” said Vaillant.

According to Vaillant, the aroTHERM plus has a SCOP of up to 5.03 and can also be combined with photovoltaic systems. With sound power as low as 54dB(A) the heat pump “is suitable for use in densely built-up terraced housing estates,” said the company.

“With home heating contributing around a third of all U.K. emissions, we need to support people to replace their appliances with lower carbon, more efficient technologies, such as heat pumps,” said Kwarteng. “Doing so will not only help the U.K. eliminate its contribution to climate change, but ensure our homes are warmer, more energy efficient and cheaper to run.”

Upcoming legislation

R290-based heat pumps may be helped by upcoming U.K. legislation. For example, following Brexit, the U.K. Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs is leading the efforts to shape the new British F-gas Regulation of HFCs. Updates are expected in the beginning of 2023.

The U.K. Climate Change Committee (CCC), a science-based body set up to advise the government on climate change policies, has previously called for the U.K. government to “match or exceed” the level of increased ambition that will be adopted following the revision of the EU F-gas Regulation. This would accelerate the phase down of HFCs and support the adoption of R290 heat pumps.

In the European Union, fear of misalignment between the bloc’s plan to decarbonize heating and an ambitious action on fluorinated greenhouse gases has been addressed by the European Commission in this analysis.

ATMOsphere, publisher of, has recently concluded a study on the availability of natural refrigerant-based heat pumps in Europe, finding that multiple companies are already offering these systems on the market today. More information related to hydrocarbon-based heat pumps can be found here.