The first objective of the project is the identification of the cases in which the development of new first series of heat pumps employing Natural refrigerants here within the project can lead to a fast commercial exploitation, and later to the successful deployment of the technology to other sizes, ranges and applications. The following cases have already been identified as of high potential interest:

·     Hydrocarbons (HCs) will be employed for the development of a set of air or water to water heat pumps supplying hot water at (40-50 ºC) for heating applications as well as to produce sanitary hot water at 60ºC.

·     CO2 will be employed for the development of a heat pump of high capacity being able to produce sanitary hot water at 60 ºC directly from city water (10-15 ºC). Designs for simultaneous production of hot water for heating purposes and sanitary hot water, and applications with higher temperatures: 70-90 ºC will be also explored.

The project aims at reaching higher efficiency (10 - 20% SPF improvement) and lower Carbon footprint (20% lower TEWI) than current state of the art HFCs/HFOs or Sorption heat pump technologies while keeping the cost very similar or only a bit higher (10%) in a way that the better environmental performance clearly compensates for the extra cost; and additionally, this includes efficient capacity modulation and the highest capabilities for combination and integration with other renewable sources in the energy systems of Buildings and Industry. In this way, if the project is successful, it will clearly bring a definitive step forward to overcome the barriers impeding the spread of natural refrigerants, proving that a new generation of heat pumps based on HCs and CO2 is perfectly feasible and commercially competitive.

This proposal puts together a very talented multidisciplinary consortium able to achieve the innovative objectives/deliverables of the project and make a full impact at a European-wide level. The project joins the coordinated effort of 6 leading RTD partners with a long experience on heat pumps, refrigeration equipment and natural refrigerants together with 6 key European industrial partners who are among the most important in this Sector in Europe, all with previous experience and interest in both HCs and CO2. The partners have been carefully selected to incorporate specific know-how and technology with almost no overlapping, what allows us to target ambitious objectives with minimum development cost and avoid conflicts on the later exploitation of the results.

The project organization has been designed following two streamlines corresponding to each type of refrigerant: HCs and CO2, and has been carefully planned to keep a clear flow of work inside each work package and along the whole work plan. The total duration of the project has been planned as 48 months including two experimental development campaigns, a first one for the characterization and study of the optimization of the prototypes and a second one for the assessment of the results of the improved prototypes and for the final optimization of the their control and design.

A complete dissemination plan is included in order to reach not only the scientific and technical community, but especially all the HVAC stakeholders, from the equipment manufacturers to the end users: installers and builders, and including policy-makers and the citizens in general.

A very important component of the project is the exploitation plan, which will start from the very beginning, and will include: a feasibility study about the requirements in the companies for the manufacturing, storage and servicing of the developed components and heat pumps, the adequate protection of the IPR of the results of the project, and finally specific exploitation plans for the components and heat pumps, consisting of the cost analysis, the market analysis and the elaboration of the corresponding business plan.