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Report from the European Heat Pump Summit 2017

The European Heat Pump Summit (EHPS) took place in Nuremberg, Germany, 24 – 25 October 2017, where international experts discussed the European heat pump market, technology and application trends. There were in total more than 30 presentations on different topics related to heat pumping technologies. While the most common theme for the EHPS two years ago, in 2015, where SCOP (Seasonal Coefficient Of Performance) and inverter technology, the main themes on the EHPS 2017 were industrial heat pumps and low GWP refrigerants.

The summit was introduced by Tomas Novak, the General Secretary of EHPA, who reported that the total amount of number of sold heat pumps in Europe passed one million during 2016, which is the highest figure ever. The introduction was followed by a number of presentations about successful installations of heat pumps in different types of industries – many related to HPT Annex 48 “Industrial Heat Pumps, Second Phase”.

One example was reported from Japan that energy savings of over 80% had been reached in one case study by a newly developed heat pump for washing and cutting processes in automotive industry. Several case studies from food industry were reported from Europe, but industrial heat pumps are also used in pulp and paper industry, in base chemistry industry, for drying processes and by utilities. From Austria we learnt that there are several research projects on industrial heat pumps where some aim for condensing temperatures up to 160-180 °C.

Heat pumps in India

There was one presentation from India, where the industrial sector is expected to grow – but the use of energy must be limited and to a larger extent be produced by renewable sources, since it is to a large extent fossil based today. Hence, there is a huge potential for industrial heat pumps in India across several sectors, but the awareness and knowledge about the technology is low and present heat pumps on the market today cannot produce sufficiently high temperatures (above 100 °C) and/or are larger than what is required (often around 100 kW).

Low GWP refrigerants

On the topic low GWP refrigerants representatives from industry talked about the forthcoming transition in the heat pump industry to refrigerants with lower GWP. It was claimed that sustainable solutions exist on the market to comply with both the ERP directive and F-gas phase down scenario. However, heat pump OEMs have to define their own path to reach these objectives. On the long term refrigerants used in heat pumps will most probably be flammable or mildly flammable. The ongoing update of the safety standards will result in an easier integration of electrical and electronics components in A2L (mildly flammable) systems. It was also reported about newly developed components for (mildly) flammable refrigerants, e.g. double wall vented heat exchangers.

Very good results from performance tests with possible replacers of the conventional refrigerants were presented and some of the presenters meant that the transition to low GWP refrigerants is too slow.