Panasonic to Release Commercial Air-to-Water Heat Pumps Using Natural Refrigerants for Europe

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Osaka, Japan — Panasonic Corporation has announced that its Heating & Ventilation A/C Company (HVAC) will release three new models of commercial air-to-water (A2W) heat pumps using environmentally friendly natural refrigerants for multidwelling units, stores, offices, and other light commercial properties in September 2024. They employ compact designs that are at the highest level of the industry1 and join our lineup of models for stand-alone homes to serve a wider range of customer needs.

A2W is a heating system that captures heat from the air to create hot water for use in buildings. It minimizes environmental impact with less CO2 emissions compared to fossil fuel-using heaters, driving demand in Europe. Growth so far has centered on homes, and with the addition of multidwelling units and light commercial properties demand is expected to expand.

The global warming impact of hydroflurocarbons (HFCs)2 used as the refrigerants of air conditioners, A2W, and similar equipment led to them being designated for gradual production and consumption phaseout under the Montreal Protocol3 (Kigali Amendment) in October 2016, which came into effect in January 2019.

Panasonic began European sales in 2008 of its Aquarea, a residential A2W system developed based on energy-saving technologies accumulated through Eco Cute and air conditioners. Key features include its heating function that maintains warmth even in cold regions4 and the ability to use it for cooling in warmer areas. Remote monitoring services are provided via the cloud. In May 2023 Panasonic was the first Japanese manufacturer to release products using natural refrigerants.

It acquired the commercial hydronic air conditioning business of the major Swedish air quality and air conditioning equipment manufacturer Systemair AB (hereinafter referred to as Systemair) at the end of February 2023. Systemair has made significant progress in environmental technology such as use of natural refrigerants in place of fluorocarbons such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Panasonic combined its own highly developed air conditioning technology with Systemair’s environmental technology to create new A2W products with powerful heating capacities. Production will begin in September 2024 in the Czech Republic and in France from April next year in readiness for the release of these products this September. Key features of the new products are as follows.

1. A lineup of products with powerful heating capacities for multidwelling units and light commercial properties

Our lineup so far consisted of models with six levels of heating capacity from 3 to 16 kilowatts, so the latest additions mark a significant leap up to 20, 25, and 30 kilowatts. They can be installed in multidwelling units, stores, offices, and other light commercial properties to address a wide range of customer needs.

2. First Japanese manufacturer to adopt natural refrigerants with an extremely low greenhouse effect for A2W in multidwelling units and light commercial properties

Up to now the R32 HFC refrigerant has been the mainstream for A2W in multidwelling units and light commercial properties, but Panasonic has become the first Japanese manufacturer to adopt R290, a natural refrigerant with an extremely low greenhouse effect. Panasonic plans to further broaden its lineup in the future.

3. Successfully adoption of a compact design at the highest level of the industry, allowing installation in small spaces

The new models have a compact design putting them at the highest level in the industry, successfully shaving approximately 30% off the size of current A2W for homes.5 They can be installed even in places with limited space.

Panasonic is striving to create spaces that are pleasant to be in while being fully conscious of the global environment, making the maximum use of its technological and manufacturing capabilities as well as its knowhow of people’s lives refined through its many years of business.

1 As of March 14, 2024, in a comparison with competing models of similar capacity. Research by Panasonic.

² HFCs (such as R410A) are alternatives to CFCs but also have a high greenhouse effect themselves.

3 An environmental agreement aiming to protect the ozone layer. Its goal is to reduce the production and consumption of substances that may destroy the ozone layer. It has a defined schedule to reduce use of these substances.

4 For models equipped with Panasonic’s proprietary T-CAP technology.

5 Installation area for one of Panasonic’s 30 kW A2W models compared to two of its J Series (16 kW) models.

About Panasonic Corporation: Panasonic Corporation offers products and services for a variety of living environments, ranging from homes to stores to offices and cities. There are five businesses at the core of Panasonic Corporation: Living Appliances and Solutions Company, Heating & Ventilation A/C Company, Cold Chain Solutions Company, Electric Works Company and China and Northeast Asia Company. The operating company reported consolidated net sales of 3,483.3 billion yen for the year ended March 31, 2023. Panasonic Corporation is committed to fulfilling the mission of Life Tech & Ideas: For the wellbeing of people, society and the planet, and embraces the vision of becoming the best partner of your life with human-centric technology and innovation.

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