German HVAC manufacturer Vaillant has announced a five-year partnership agreement with ALDI UK to install its air-to-water aroTHERM plus propane (R290) heat pumps in all new UK locations and provide the commission and servicing of the units for ten years.

Between two and five of the 12kW (3.4TR)-capacity units will be installed per location depending on store size, says Vaillant in a statement. “[The units] can achieve hot water flow temperatures of up to 75°C [167°F], meaning the water is stored in the cylinder at a usable temperature without the need for a backup heater.”

“Suitable for all applications, this heat pump operates down to -25°C [-13°F],” Vaillant says on the unit’s product webpage.

“We have been working alongside ALDI since 2016 when our aroTHERM heat pump was installed at its [England] headquarters in Warwickshire,” said Steve Cipriano, Commercial Director for Vaillant. Since that time, the HVAC company has provided “low carbon heating solutions” for seven of the grocery chain’s regional distribution centers, said Vaillant.

As part of this new contract, Vaillant installed its aroTHERM plus heat pump – providing heating and cooling – in ALDI UK’s “eco-concept” store in Leamington Spa, which opened in September 2022. The company estimates a two-thirds reduction in the store’s life-cycle emissions between the design and the use of sustainable building materials, Vaillant said.

By transitioning to natural refrigerants, ALDI UK has been carbon neutral since 2019, said George Brown, National Property Director for ALDI UK. The chain recently added chiller doors to its new and refurbished stores, reducing each store’s energy consumption by roughly 20%, he noted.

“However, this meant we needed a sustainable heat source in our new sites to replace the existing heat-generating fridge packs,” said Brown. The natural refrigerant in the aroTHERM plus, “as a sustainable low-carbon option,” led to the decision to go with Vaillant’s unit, he added.

Launched in 2020, the aroTHERM plus uses R290 refrigerant to “achieve a 60% reduction in refrigerant charge” over HFC, said Vaillant, resulting in a 0.83kg (1.83lbs) carbon footprint per unit.

“Suitable for all applications, this heat pump operates down to -25°C [-13°F].”


U.K. Production line

In 2022, Vaillant announced its new heat pump production line at its England headquarters in Belper, Derbyshire, dedicated to producing the company’s aroTHERM plus units. “This £4 million [US$5 million] investment reinforces the company’s commitment to ensuring that all U.K. homes can be heated via the most effective technology,” said Vaillant in a statement.

The new manufacturing capabilities provide the means to meet the government’s target to install 600,000 heat pumps per year by 2028, said Vaillant. The aroTHERM plus comes in 3.5, 5, 7 and 12kW (1, 1.4, 2 and 3.4TR) capacities and are suitable for use with underfloor heating, fan coils and radiators.

“This important move means we can help increase the availability of U.K.-made heat pumps and further our support for installers via supply, training and installation guidance as they shift to new heating technologies,” said Henrik Hansen, Managing Director of Vaillant Group UK & Ireland.

Founded in 1874 by Johann Vaillant, the international company provides heating, ventilation and hot water solutions.