New Breed of Heat Pumps Emerging

January 2024

Heat Pump

According to a recent BBC news article, there is a new breed of heat pumps emerging. As engineers have gradually improved this technology, heat pumps are now able to supply much higher temperatures, sometimes in excess of 70C.

Initially, the first heat pumps that were sold about 15 years ago were not very hot, a former wholesaler stating that “to get to 50C – that was quite hard”. These older heat pumps are said to have struggled to heat homes efficiently and successfully, unless the homeowner installed radiators, for example.

The article delves into this and talks about the new breed of heat pumps being a consequential action of the rise of new refrigerants, such as R290, or propane. The refrigerant in a heat pump circulates inside, and captures warmth from the outside air, even on cold days. When the refrigerant is compressed, the heat pump can increase the temperature and the heat is transferred. R290 “is up to 34% more efficient” and a lot more environmentally friendly, it enables heat pumps “to supply higher temperatures without incurring severe efficiency losses”.

It has been said, this new refrigerant is a “game changer”.

This has been researched and tested by multiple companies; ‘An independent non-profit Energy Systems Catapult has, since 2020, been testing 742 heat pumps of varying models, across different housing types in England and Scotland. Daniel Logue, consultant, says that the R290 heat pumps included in the trial have performed well.”

He averaged the results he collected over the course of a year and found that “the R290 high-temperature heat pumps were performing significantly better than the R410A heat pumps, which is a refrigerant that's being phased out now”.

The case study showed that the heat pumps maintained a coefficient of performance (COP) of approximately 3. This metric signifies the quantity of heat energy generated, measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), for each kWh of electricity utilised. To ensure cost efficiency and to be competitive with gas boilers “a COP of around 3 of higher is generally desirable”.

Martyn Perks

Martyn Perks, the Sales Manager at Nuenta has responded to this article; “A great article from the BBC. Nice to hear ASHPs are getting some positive press coverage. Ecoforest have the R290 as standard refrigerant throughout their whole ecoAIR+ PRO* range, which we know is more cost and energy-efficient!

Although, there is no mention of ground source*, which is a more stable renewable source than the air! Furthermore, it would have been good to see information about cooling, an added benefit of installing a heat pump is that they are reversible, all Ecoforest's ecoAIR+ PRO’s* can reach temperatures of 75⁰C, but they also have on-board cooling functions built in as standard. With increasing summer air temperatures, cooling is something to consider when replacing your heating system.

Nuenta can supply a wide range of ground* and air source* heat pumps for heating and cooling. We can also advise homeowners on the best solution for their home and put them in touch with an installer from our trusted network of installers.”

Full article can be found here:
Will hotter heat pumps win over homeowners?

Further information:
*ecoAIR+ PRO
*ground source
*ecoAIR PRO’s
*ground source
*air source