Propane system wins top German award

The ESyCool Green propane-based heat pump refrigeration system has been awarded the government-backed German Innovation Prize for Climate and Environment.

The Innovationspreis für Klima und Umwelt (IKU) Award is presented every two years by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety and the Federal Association of German Industry. It awards prizes to innovations from industry and research that showcase new approaches in the field of climate and environmental protection.

The ESyCool Green solution was one of six winners this year, taking first place in the Process Innovations for Climate Protection category. Developed by Viessmann in cooperation with discount retailer ALDI Nord, ESyCool Green is a new refrigeration/heat composite system. It uses brine-water heat pumps operating with the refrigerant R290 (propane) in small, hermetically sealed refrigeration circuits.

The innovative heat pump technology and the use of propane significantly reduces the typical refrigerant charge. According to Viessmann, whereas a conventional refrigeration system in a discounter store might, for instance, require approximately 100 kg of refrigerant, ESyCool Green reduces the amount of refrigerant to less than 5 kg.

Another special feature of the energy system is the ice energy storage system, called Power2Ice, which uses the phase change energy from water to ice. On particularly cold days, additional heat can be extracted very efficiently from the thermal storage. In summer operation, the heat pumps can also be used to build up ice in the ice energy storage system during the day via the photovoltaic system. In this way, the stored regenerative solar energy can be used at night to operate the cooling units.