The Panasonic Aquarea M Series R290 air-to-water heat pump
The Panasonic Aquarea M Series R290 heat pump on display at the 2024 Mostra Convegno Expocomfort.

Panasonic Plans European Release of Commercial R290 Air-to-Water Heat Pump

To enhance heat pump efficiencies, the manufacturer has entered into a business alliance with German energy control provider Tado.

Japan-based Panasonic Corporation has announced plans for a September European release of its new Aquarea M Series R290 (propane) air-to-water (A2W) heat pump, suitable for multi-dwelling complexes, offices, stores and other light commercial applications.

The M Series extends the existing R290 Aquarea line, which has six residential models with heating capacities from 3 to 16kW (0.85 to 4.55TR), to commercial applications with three models providing 20, 25 and 30kW (5.7, 7.1 and 8.5TR) capacities, according to a Panasonic press release.

“R32 refrigerant has been mainstream for A2W in multi-dwelling units and light commercial properties, but Panasonic has become the first Japanese manufacturer to adopt R290,” the company said.

“The series delivers up to 75°C [167°F] water outlet temperature at −15°C [5°F] outside temperature and 55°C [131°F] hot water at −25°C [−13°F] outside,” Panasonic said in an Aquarea heat pump statement at the Mostra Convegno Expocomfort, held March 12‒15 in Milan.

According to a Panasonic YouTube video, the M Series with compressor injection technology maintains hot water temperatures at ambient temperatures down to −20°C (−4°F), with a 5.0 SCOP (seasonal coefficient of performance).

The manufacturer indicates that the Aquarea heat pumps are suitable for new construction or to electrify older heating systems using existing radiators, with the ability to connect up to 10 M Series units in cascade to deliver up to 300kW (85TR) capacities. “With its modular design, this series offers versatile applications, featuring various indoor units and flexible control options.”

In addition, the larger units provide a compact design for commercial applications. The company has found the M Series 30kW unit requires roughly 30% less installation space than two Aquarea J Series 16kW units.

To meet the release date, Panasonic plans to start production of the M Series at its Czech plant this September followed by production in France in April 2025.

In an ATMOsphere interview at Monstra, Panasonic said that the larger series, designed for outdoor installation, will contain up to 2.6kg (5.7lbs) of R290. The EU flammable refrigerant charge limit of approximately 500g (1.1lbs) in commercial applications only applies to indoor installations.

“R32 refrigerant has been mainstream for A2W in multi-dwelling units and light commercial properties, but Panasonic has become the first Japanese manufacturer to adopt R290.”

Panasonic

Increasing efficiency with Tado

To enhance the efficiency of its A2W operations, Panasonic has also announced a business alliance with German energy control provider Tado to develop software for the Aquarea heat pumps.

Established in 2011, Munich-based Tado manufactures smart thermostats that connect HVAC equipment to the internet, with remote control applications to support reducing energy consumption. The company also sells electrical power from renewable energy and provides solutions for customers to use power during off-peak hours to reduce energy costs.

For decarbonization, customers are not only looking for equipment but “convenient” energy management, too, said Hiroshi Komatsubara, CEO of Panasonic Heating and Ventilation A/C Division Europe, in a statement during Monstra.

“Connecting Tado smart thermostats to the indoor units [allows] remote temperature adjustments and unit operation based on the weather and the user patterns,” said Komatsubara, with individual heating and cooling adjustments deduced by machine learning.

“This fusion empowers customers to optimize energy usage and realize cost savings,” Panasonic said.

“I am delighted with our collaboration with Panasonic,” said Christian Deilmann, Founder of Tado. “[It] will be a significant step toward accelerating the transition to green energy in Europe.”

According to Panasonic, the companies aim to have final solutions for Aquarea heat pump technology with multi-room control available in Germany and Italy by the end of 2024.

Besides providing air-conditioning and heating solutions, Panasonic offers chillers and refrigeration units, including CO2 (R744) condensing units.

“Connecting Tado smart thermostats to the indoor units [allows] remote temperature adjustments and unit operation based on the weather and the user patterns.”

Hiroshi Komatsubara, CEO of Panasonic Heating and Ventilation A/C Division Europe

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