Natural Refrigerant Heat Pumps Vahterus ammonia plate and shell heat exchange
Vahterus ammonia plate and shell heat exchanger

Vahterus Collaborates with Finnish Partners to Develop Next-Generation Natural Refrigerant Heat Pumps

Working with LUT University and other organizations, Vahterus seeks solutions for higher-temperature units.

Finnish heat exchanger manufacturer Vahterus has been in collaboration with Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology (LUT University) and other Finnish technical organizations since the summer of 2022 to develop next-generation heat pumps to meet the increasing demand for higher temperature, natural refrigerant solutions.

Vahterus specializes in manufacturing custom plate-and-shell heat exchangers (PSHEs) for ammonia/NH3 (R717) and CO2 (R744) applications. Vahterus brings its experience in refrigeration and heat pump systems to the collaboration with LUT University (based in Lappeenranta, Finland) along with other Finnish partners, including Yaskawa Environmental Energy/The Switch, Fincoil LU-VE, Suomen Tekojää, Nevel, Suur-Savon Sähkö and Suomen lämpöpumppu-yhdistys.

Business Finland is funding the two-year research project with the aim to improve the competitiveness of the Finnish heat pump industry in a global market.

Founded in 1990, Vahterus developed a fully welded plate and shell heat exchanger, creating a structurally durable, compact and safe unit, the company says. Vahterus aims to “maintain its position as a forerunner in its field” through continuous product development and automated production technology and application.

Near the end of 2020, Vahterus launched a new ammonia condenser developed for the heat-pump market. However, the unit is also suitable for other condensing applications, like steam condensers.

U.S. Venture

In December 2021, Vahterus acquired the US-based Harliss Specialties, a manufacturer of heat exchangers and ASME-code pressure vessels. A joint statement indicated the acquisition makes it possible to manufacture Vahterus products in the U.S. and enhance Harliss’s current product offerings.

“We have proved that there’s a market for Vahterus PSHE, and aligning with the pressure-vessel expertise of Harliss will help get product[s] to market in a significantly shorter time frame, as well as at a competitive price,” added Jonathan Pascoe, President of Vahterus Americas.

Vahterus has other subsidiary manufacturing facilities in China, Germany and the UK.

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