Heat pumps are a key technology of the future heating supply. Their further development is an essential part of the heat transition. This makes research into sustainable, efficient refrigerant solutions all the more important.
Propane is increasingly being seen as a significant natural refrigerant in the heat pump industry. The advantages are mainly the very good thermodynamic properties, which allow higher COPs compared to conventional refrigerants, while at the same time massively reducing the global warming potential. A disadvantage is the flammability and formation of explosive mixtures. To minimize this drawback, reducing the refrigerant to below 150 g is a promising development path. In the LC150 research project (“low charge 150 g”), the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE is going to develop a standardized refrigerant-reduced refrigeration circuit with the working fluid propane that is qualified for a wide range of components.
The development work is financially supported and technically accompanied by a broad industrial consortium of European heat pump manufacturers. The joint development platform is expected to open up significant cost reduction potential for the participating companies and accelerate the industrial development of heat pumps for residential buildings.
The LC150 project runs from October 2020 to March 2023 and is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.
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The LC150 heat pump developed at Fraunhofer ISE is based on the climate-friendly refrigerant propane.
In the measurement campaign, dozens of heat pump component combinations are tested under different operating parameters.