World News

Industry news and insights from Europe and around the World

UK News

Latest news and developments in the United Kingdom


Keep up-to-date with the latest new products and technology


General articles, applications and industry analysis

Clean start for industrial propane heat pump

GERMANY: Research on a heat pump with a propane refrigeration circuit in an industrial cleaning machine has proven the suitability of propane to industrial processes with heating and cooling requirements.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE partnered with the Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE Bayern) and the German industrial cleaning machine manufacturer MAFAC E Schwarz GmbH to develop a modular thermal management module for the industrial component cleaning machine.

Fraunhofer ISE was responsible for integrating an innovative propane refrigeration circuit into this module. The thermal management module operates in standby and is coupled with an existing cleaning machine via the process and control technology to supply the machine with useful heat and cold provided by the heat pump.

Previously, the heat and cold supply of the cleaning system was purely electrical. In the course of the new application, the two separate processes could be transferred into one process. 

Significantly, the project team succeeded in optimally designing the heat pump using just 255g of propane.

A refrigerant-reduced cooling circuit using 150g of propane had previously been developed by Fraunhofer ISE as part of the LC150 project.

Retrofitting the existing cleaning machine is said to have resulted in a significantly higher energy efficiency. The heat pump achieved a combined heating and cooling COP of 5.6. The power requirements for heating the process water (cleaning, rinsing) and for heating the flow air for drying were cut by half, while the power used for heating the fresh water was said to have Benn reduced by as much as 80%. 

By recirculating the exhaust air, over 10,000 litres of fresh water could be saved annually, thanks to a new type of condensation unit that efficiently re-cools the process exhaust air, allowing the available cooling from the heat pump to be used in the cleaning machine in line with the process. 

In a two-shift operation with five production days per week and 48 production weeks per year, the new thermal management module is is expected to achieve cost savings of around €4,800 per year and CO2 emission savings of around 12,600kg per year.

The application is also seen as promising in other processes that operate in a similar temperature range (50-70°C), such as large dishwashers in canteens.

The project was part of the ETA in Existing Facilities project started in November 2020 with a planned duration of three years. Funding was provided by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) as part of the German government’s seventh energy research programme. 

Related stories:

Engineers develop optimised propane heat pump – 21 June 2023
GERMANY: Engineers in Germany have developed a functional brine heat pump using a fully hermetic compressor with a heating capacity of 11.4kW using only 146g of propane. Read more…

Propane heat pump hits new efficiency record – 11 October 2022
GERMANY: Engineers in Germany developing a propane-based refrigeration circuit for heat pumps are said to have achieved a heating capacity of 12.8kW with only 124g of propane. Read more…

Low charge propane heat pump developer seeks partners – 22 October 2019
GERMANY: A German research institute claims to have developed a prototype hydrocarbon domestic heat pump with a heat output of 8kW from just 150g of propane. Read more…

Fraunhofer develops propane heat pump – 3 September 2018
GERMANY: Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute claim to have developed a viable propane heat pump using low volume heat exchangers and a special compressor. Read more…

Latest News

14th June 2024

Daikin polyvalent unit on R513A

BELGIUM: Daikin Europe is launching the new polyvalent cooling and heating unit for industrial and commercial applications. 
14th June 2024

EC seeks feedback on F-gas portal amendments

EUROPE: The European Commission is now seeking feedback on the amendments to the rules on registration for the F-gas portal as laid down in the new F-gas regulation.
14th June 2024

Amy Gittoes joins Climalife

UK: Amy Gittoes, the former commercial manager of the now defunct Hereford-based refrigeration company Arctic Circle, has joined Climalife UK.
14th June 2024

ECHA to consider PFAS impacts this year

FINLAND: European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) evaluations of the impact of fluorinated HFC/HFO refrigerants under proposed new European PFAS restrictions are expected to take place in November/December.
13th June 2024

Uzbekistan customs stop R22 equipment

UZBEKISTAN: Customs officers in the Uzbekistan capital Tashkent have stopped the importation of process chilling equipment running on banned ozone-depleting refrigerant R22.
13th June 2024

Varying refrigerant blends boosts HP flexibility

SWITZERLAND: Researchers have found that varying the composition of refrigerant mixtures can enable heat pumps to generate different temperatures from different heat sources, while increasing efficiency by up to 25%.