22 May 2008
In Japan, the commercial-type CO2 heat pump water heater is steadily being popularized in parallel with the rapid penetration of the domestic one. It was developed first by Itomic Kankyou System Co. Ltd. and called the Eco-Cute. Its potential for drastically reducing greenhouse gases is expected to play messianic roles in achieving the CO2-reduction goal of the Kyoto Protocol and electric load leveling. Itomic’s commercial Eco-Cute was released in August 2002 as the world first CO2 heat pump water heater in commercial use. Over 1000 units have been delivered, and 976 are in service as of October 2007, of which 143 units are currently in South Korea. In Japan, the Eco-Cute is most successfully applied at elderly healthcare facilities, followed by hospitals, hotels, school catering and food factories. It makes great contributions to promote shifting to nighttime electrical power utilization because of its operation cost being set up about a half cheaper than daytime one. In South Korea, the application example of the Eco-Cute can be seen mainly at the public baths (sauna). The Eco-Cute has been employed for versatile applications in wide areas; its practical issues have been solved and functions for ease of use have been developed. The development of the heat pump for cold regions is planned to be launched in the future.