Propane as a refrigerant. What are the benefits?

Since propane (R290) does not contribute to the greenhouse effect and brings about higher coefficients of performance, it is increasingly being used in heat pumps, air conditioning and refrigeration systems, as well as customized large scale systems, despite its special safety requirements. Dr. Markus Klausner, CTO at Viessmann Climate Solutions SE, talks in an interview about the refrigerant of the future.

More about this interview

"We've investigated very systematically which refrigerants have all the properties we need. We're talking about very high efficiency in heating and cooling operation, environmental compatibility, and the need to be able to demonstrate high supply temperatures. Propane best meets these requirements, by far." The fact that propane could not be used as a refrigerant until now is mainly due to the fact that crucial components were not suitable for use with propane – such as the compressor or parts of the electronics. Since the new refrigerant regulation (F-gas Regulation) includes refrigerants in its stipulations for a reduction of global warming potential, state of the art propane heat pumps can now be developed with new components.

Anyone planning to install a heat pump must always ensure that certain minimum clearances are maintained, for example in the case of light wells or basement doors. Nothing needs to be taken into account during the installation itself, as the refrigerant circuit of monoblock heat pumps is completely sealed. This means that partners don't have to work directly with propane. Furthermore, all refrigerant circuits are 100 percent leak tested at the factory – so a refrigeration certificate is no longer required for installation.

In addition to its good environmental profile, propane has further advantages that are particularly beneficial to system users. The new heat pumps are ideal for modernization projects because propane can be used to achieve supply temperatures of up to 70 degrees. A very convenient supply of DHW is ensured as well. Another factor: propane has special thermodynamic properties – so high efficiency and high temperatures can still be achieved even at very low outside temperatures (down to minus 15 degrees Celsius). Viewed over the entire year, the system user can therefore enjoy a reduction in running costs.

Viessmann will launch the first heat pumps with propane this year, and gradually convert more and more products to propane in the future. "What matters to us is creating living spaces for generations to come. This is reflected in our highly efficient product range." You can find out more interesting facts about propane as a refrigerant in an interview with CTO Dr. Markus Klausner.

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