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 significant cost reduction potential for the participating companies and accelerate the industrial development of heat pumps for residential buildings.