Tequs’s Marius Hugo Sandem (left) and Joakim Søgård with their CO2 heat pump. (Source: Tequs)
Tequs’s Marius Hugo Sandem (left) and Joakim Søgård with their CO2 heat pump. (Source: Tequs)

Tequs Unveils New CO2 Heat Pump with Small Capacity for Norwegian Market

The commercial system, offering 17–268kW capacity, will be available in spring 2023.

Norwegian heat pump designer Tequs has partnered with Italian HVAC&R manufacturer Rivacold to produce a new water-to-water, plug-and-play CO(R744) heat pump for commercial applications in Norway.

According to Tequs Co-Founder and CEO Joakim Søgård, the heat pump was designed to fill a “clear gap” in the market for smaller COheat pumps that can offer 15–800kW (4.3–227.5TR) in capacity.

The company also wanted to make a heat pump that was more climate- and user-friendly and easier to install and operate, he added.

In addition to providing space heating and hot water, the reversible system – which was launched by Tequs at VVS-Dagene, a trade show for HVAC&R and plumbing in Oslo, Norway, October 19–21 – also offers space cooling for added system efficiency.

Growing market for COheat pumps

Founded in 2021 by Søgård and Marius Hugo Sandem, who now acts as Chief Technical Officer, Tequs was created to meet the demand Sandem was seeing for smaller CO2 heat pumps.

Before then, CO2 heat pumps tended to be used either in high-capacity installations for large commercial and industrial applications or solely for hot water production, explained Søgård in a recent interview.

However, Tequs thinks that CO2 heat pumps should be seen as the natural solution for many smaller commercial and residential projects as well.

“We believe CO2 heat pumps are the only sustainable solution for space and water heating,” says the company on its website. “Every building should be heated by a CO2 heat pump.”

“We believe CO2 heat pumps are the only sustainable solution for space and water heating.”

Tequs

While the system will initially only be available in Norway, Tequs sees “enormous potential” for its product in the European market in the longer term.

According to Søgård, the system was designed using European standards and to Ecodesign specification, so the product is ready for the European market as soon as Tequs is ready to expand beyond Norway.

“Tens of millions of heat pumps are going to need to be installed [in Europe]; quite a lot of those are going to be CO2, and quite a lot of those are potentially going to be ones that Tequs could produce,” said James Higham, Chief Sustainability Officer at Tequs.

“Tens of millions of heat pumps are going to need to be installed [in Europe]; quite a lot of those are going to be CO2, and quite a lot of those are potentially going to be ones that Tequs could produce.”

James Higham, Tequs

New manufacturer

Originally built in-house by Tequs, the heat pumps – which include components from Bitzer, Alfa Laval and Carel – will be manufactured by Rivacold at its facility in Pesaro, Italy.

According to Søgård, Tequs plans to deliver 10–20 units next year, with the first Rivacold-built models being shipped in spring 2023. Between now and then, the two companies will be sourcing the necessary components and conducting thorough testing of the heat pump, which will be built with a new cabinet, at Rivacold’s facility.

The aim is to eventually produce up to 100 units each year, he added.

“We see the demand for the product is there, so we probably could sell a lot more,” said Higham. “However, we want to learn more about how the heat pump is performing and what the best way is to operate so we do it sustainably and reach bigger and bigger volumes each year.”

In addition to ramping up the production of the water-to-water heat pump, Tequs also plans to launch an air-source model later next year.

Energy efficiency

According to Tequs, its heat pump is the “most energy efficient plug-and-play heat pump in the world,” with a heating COP of 5.47 and a cooling COP of 4.86. This was an important achievement if it is to compete with propane (R290) and synthetic alternatives, said Søgård.

To increase the COP, every Tequs heat pumps includes an ejector, explained Sandem. The company has also developed a “unique oil flush solution” to ensure the oil is returned from the liquid receiver.

The system offers a heating capacity of 17.4–268kW (4.9–76.2TR) and a cooling capacity of 13.5–210kW (3.8–59.7TR), and it can supply water up to 90°C (194°F). To meet the varying heating and cooling needs of end users, the heat pump is available in eight models.

“There are lots of applications [for the heat pump], but the best business case is where there’s a demand for water heating, space heating and cooling,” explained Søgård. “For example, hotels or residential buildings where you need cooling in the summer and heating in the winter and you also need hot water; it pays back faster than synthetic heat pumps, costing one-third as much because it’s so much more efficient.”

Demand for such a system is particularly high in a country like Norway where electric heaters are used to produce hot water. According to Higham, energy bills could be reduced by up to 75% with the use of a CO2 heat pump instead.

Higham also emphasized the importance of energy efficiency as we electrify more elements of society and industry.

“Electricity demand is growing massively, so we need to be more energy efficient in other places to make sure the electricity supply is there for everything that needs it,” he said.

Plug and play

To ensure CO2 heat pumps more accessible to more people, Tequs believed it was important to make a plug-and-play system, explained Søgård.

“We are trying to make COmore mass market than it is today, rather than a niche application for bigger projects,” he said. “By creating a more standardized product than existing systems, we can make it cheaper to produce. It also allows for pre-configuration, which means that more people can install it, overcoming current bottlenecks.”

“We are trying to make COmore mass market than it is today, rather than a niche application for bigger projects.”

Joakim Søgård, Tequs

According to Tequs, its heat pump can be installed by “all competent professionals,” including plumbers, ventilation specialists and refrigeration installers.

The heat pump comes pre-charged with COand can be started with the push of a button. This quick and easy installation further reduces the cost for end users, said Søgård.

This approach also allows for Tequs to test each product thoroughly at its facility to ensure optimum performance according to the parameters specified by the contractor when it was ordered, he added.

According to Sandem, the Tequs facility includes two cold rooms that they use to test the heat pumps. “We can regulate the room temperature, which makes it possible for us to simulate different scenarios,” he explained.

According to the manufacturer, its heat pump can be installed by “all competent professionals,” including plumbers, ventilation specialists and refrigeration installers.

The heat pump comes pre-charged with COand can be started with the push of a button. This quick and easy installation further reduces the cost for end users, he added.

This approach also allows for Tequs to test the product thoroughly at its facility to ensure optimum performance according to the parameters specified by the contractor when it was ordered, said Søgård.

According to Sandem, the Tequs facility includes two cold rooms that they use to test the heat pumps. “We can regulate the room temperature, which makes it possible for us to simulate different scenarios,” he explained.

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