Sanden aims to sell 30,000 CO2 heat pumps per year by 2015

By Clémence Girard-Reydet, May 10, 2013, 10:35 5 minute reading

At the ATMOsphere conference interviewed Sylvain Gillaux, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sanden, about the company’s new CO2 heat pump project for space heating. Sharing with their new technology and market strategy, he stressed the enormous market potential for CO2 heat pumps in Europe and reported that Sanden could achieve sales target of 30,000 CO2 heat pumps per year by 2015. Sanden brought the CO2 heat pump for water heating to ATMOsphere Europe last year. This year Sanden brings the CO2 heat pump for space heating to the conference. What is the technology innovation of Sanden’s CO2 heat pump?

SG: I am glad you ask me this question. The critics against natural refrigerants always state that we do not have any technology innovation in our products. Our space heating heat pump, which uses CO2, is a very good counter-example to those critics. This advanced CO2 application results from a special project led by our Japanese colleagues: SANDEN, through a consortium, has developed a new approach, which allows us to think about new ways to use CO2 as a clever choice for space heating. Of course, this solution has been patented. Our CO2 heat pumps can be at least as efficient as HFC heat pumps, and often even more efficient. Those systems are sold in Japan and we are currently field-testing them in Europe. Are there any comparisons that can be drawn between the field tests in Europe and Japan?

SG: In Japan, CO2 heat pumps were partly developed for space heating in cold regions. The products have been sold on the Japanese market since February 2012. As for Europe, results obtained from field-testing are even better than the theoretical results we had in Japan. In France, we experienced very cold temperature last winter, and yet the COP values observed were still very high. Regarding the feedback we received from users, they have been very satisfied with the performance of CO2 heat pumps providing space heating. Comfort and consumption have improved a lot in their homes thanks to this system which is very important for us. Has Sanden made any changes for the technology used in the CO2 space heating heat pump in Europe compared to the one in Japan?

SG: Yes, we had to adapt the control logic to the European users. But Sanden’s CO2 heat pumps have the same heating capacity in Japan and Europe. What is Sanden’s sales target for CO2 heat pumps in Europe in 2013, 2015 and 2020?

SG: We are expecting to sell 15,000 to 20,000 units of CO2 heat pumps per year in Europe over the next two years. To be honest, we don't see it as a dream. This is a realistic target. We hope the sales will reach 30,000 units per year in 2015. In Japan, the annual sales number of CO2 heat pumps for domestic water heating is about 600,000 units. In Europe, as we foresee solutions for both space and water heating, theoretically, the potential sales at least equal those of Japan. In your presentation, you mentioned that the heat pumps with temperature outputs below 65ºC cover only 35% of the market. Sanden intends to cover 65% of the market with the new CO2 heat pumps. What else can you tell us about Sanden’s market strategy?

SG: The CO2 heat pump is efficient for domestic water heating because of the high temperature difference it can reach. As for space heating provided by heat pumps, communication on performances tend to focus on low temperature heat pumps only as they usually have a higher COP value. Although low-temperature heat pumps might be a good solution for new buildings, they cannot easily be adapted to the existing buildings and could hardly replace fuel boilers in the market. What the market needs for refurbishing the existing buildings is high-temperature heat pumps like CO2 ones. Why do you think CO2 heat pumps have a very promising future?

SG: CO2 heat pumps are very efficient for temperatures between 60 ºC and 80ºC. Sanden’s CO2 heat pumps for space heating can heat up to 60~65ºC without electrical back up and with a similar COP as HFC-based low-temperature heat pumps. As of today, we already have technology providing the right solution for both retrofit and new build markets in all of Europe. Do you think there will be more companies moving to CO2 heat pumps and what is Sanden’s attitude to a more competitive market?

SG: Currently, the market for CO2 heat pumps is dominated by Japanese companies. Sanden is a Japanese company too but we design, develop and manufacture CO2 heat pumps in France. We welcome our competitors to enter the CO2 market in Europe. Once there are more market players, CO2 heat pumps will gain more visibility. Consumers’ awareness about CO2 technology will raise and they will be more likely to buy CO2 heat pumps as their future solutions. The potential for heat pump sales in Europe is enormous. Even with more competition we expect the market volume to go up for SANDEN. Has Sanden tried to get support from the French government for CO2 heat pumps?

SG: The French government usually chooses to give tax credits to end-users. But at present, the government’s attitude toward CO2 heat pumps is not much different compared to HFC heat pumps. As of today, the French Environment Ministry has not distinguished natural refrigerants from the other refrigerants. Therefore Sanden’s CO2 products don't benefit from any advantage in terms of incentives from the government. Still, discussions are going on regarding a potential taxation of HFCs… Do you have any suggestions to the French government and also to the EU institutions?

SG: On a national level, what we suggest is to keep up with the existing policy focused on tax credits, but to give an additional 10% tax credit bonus dedicated to natural refrigerants solutions only. That would be a very good signal and it would increase visibility of natural refrigerants in the market. On the EU level, incentives are not always the best way to bring solutions to the market. I believe we need a new standard for refrigerants, promoting natural solutions. We should become Global benchmark for the industry. It is not difficult and can even create jobs. If the EU industry moves toward natural refrigerants now, it will be ahead of other countries, with the exception of Japan of course. Thank you!


By Clémence Girard-Reydet

May 10, 2013, 10:35

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