Inside the Copeland Northern Ireland plant in Cookstown.
Inside Copeland's Northern Ireland plant in Cookstown. Photo credit: Copeland.

Copeland Investing £19 Million in Northern Ireland Plant to ‘Meet European Demand for Sustainable, Low-Carbon Heat Pumps’

The Cookstown plant produces R290 scroll compressors for residential and commercial heat pumps.

U.S.-based OEM Copeland has announced a £19 million (€22.1 million/$23.9 million) investment in its compressor manufacturing facility in Cookstown, Northern Ireland, which it said will increase production capacity to “meet the European demand for sustainable, low-carbon heat pumps.”

The expansion: Copeland said the investment includes a 3,500m2 (37,673ft2) building expansion that will add new product lines and give it the ability to increase production while providing the “flexibility” to meet future demand.

  • Copeland said the building expansion has already begun and that it is anticipated to be completed by September 2024.
  • Since opening in 1997, the Cookstown plant has produced more than 5 million Copeland compressors.

NatRefs at Cookstown: While Copeland did not specify that the expansion was to produce compressors for heat pumps using natural refrigerants (NaturalRefrigerants.com has reached out for clarification) its Northern Ireland plant has a history with both propane (R290) and CO2 (R744) compressors.

  • Per Copeland, the Cookstown plant built its first R290 and low-sound compressors, including a propane scroll compressor for commercial and domestic heat pumps released this past December that it called the “most silent scroll compressor for domestic use.”
  • The company said Cookstown also “took the lead” in developing its first transcritical CO2 compressors for refrigeration systems.

Against the grain: Copeland’s bullishness on the European heat pump market, specifically “sustainable, low-carbon” heat pumps, stands in stark contrast to recent stances taken by industry stakeholders.

  • NIBE Group, the parent company of heat pump manufacturer NIBE, recently announced it will lay off 340 employees due to “much weaker demand” in the European heat pump market. NIBE manufactures both R290 and HFC heat pumps.
  • The European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) said heat pump sales in 14 European countries decreased by 5% in 2023 compared to 2022. The report did not group heat pumps by refrigerant types, though, and the EHPA has previously said the revised EU F-gas regulation, which recently became law and mandates a phase out of HFCs by 2050, would “slam the brakes on heat pump deployment.”
  • Copeland is optimistic about the future of air-to-water residential heat pumps in Europe and forecasts 4.1 million installations by 2030. Copeland’s optimism is backed by European manufacutrers, which have  shown a particular interest in producing new hydronic R290 residential monobloc units in recent years.

Quotable: “Our Cookstown site, and our colleagues who work there, play a critical role in helping Copeland develop and produce products and technologies that contribute to decarbonization and the protection of the environment,” said CEO Ross B. Shuster. “This new investment in Cookstown will allow us to best serve Europe’s anticipated demand for heat pumps and sustainable air-conditioning technologies, which are crucial for supporting the U.K. and European Union’s decarbonization goals.”

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