IEA HPT Annex 54: Heat pump systems with low GWP refrigerants

The aim of the project is to record the current situation in the field of refrigerants with low Global Warming Potential (GWP). Within the framework of the Annex, the situation in Austria and Europe will be harmonised at international level. The focus of the national project is to survey the current situation in the field of the refrigerants used and to prepare an outlook until 2030 on the availability of components and systems for the use of new "low-GWP" refrigerants.

Short Description

Heat pumps are in many cases an energy efficient opportunity to make use from ambient heat or waste heat sources and are considered as key technologies to reach the climate goals. The reduction of amount of partly fluorinated hydrocarbons by Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases (by 37% in 2020 and by 79% in 2030 (2015 = 100%), but without limit for the GWP factor of the refrigerant) leads to a scarcity of some refrigerants and therefore potentially to a limitation for the production of new heat pumps. As natural refrigerants do not always meet the thermodynamic or security requirements, new alternative refrigerants with low GWP enter the market; an alternative is the reduction of the amount of refrigerant. In future legislations also limits for the GWP factor of the refrigerant are possible.

Therefore, in this project refrigerants with low GWP will be identified, moreover, considering specific fields of application, design guidelines will be elaborated for heat pumps using these new refrigerants, also taking into account the requirements set by Regulation (EU) No 517/2014. The relevant technology leaps are therefore the utilization of the new refrigerants by adaptation of the refrigeration circuit respectively of the relevant machinery to the thermodynamic and physical characteristics of these refrigerants for the selected fields of application and temperatures, especially considering the efficiency (COP) of the heat pump system. Furthermore, opportunities for the reduction of the amount of refrigerant are investigated (e.g. by evaluation of new heat ex-changer concepts).

Through the networking activities with several international partners (from South Korea, Japan, Italy, Sweden, USA and possibly further countries), it is secured that within this project all relevant market and research activities can be included and evaluated. Based on these and other contacts of the project consortium (especially in the fields of industry, research, science and politics) an out-look until 2030 on expected market developments, especially considering the availability of refrigerants, the heat pump demand and technological developments (new refrigerants, cooling circuit, heat exchangers, etc.) will be given.

For the newly designed heat pump systems a detailed life cycle climate performance analysis (LCCP) will be performed, which includes the production of components as well as the performance during operation and disposal.

By dissemination in the fields of further education, teaching and of political decision makers it is ensured that the results are made available to all relevant stakeholder groups and that heat pumps will, despite challenging regulatory framework conditions, retain a relevant market share, especially for heating buildings. Furthermore, the project will deliver input for the new version of the by Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 which is due in 2022.

Project Images

Terms of use: The pictures listed underneath the header “Project Pictures” originate from the projects in the frame of the programmes City of Tomorrow, Building of Tomorrow and the IEA Research Cooperation. They may be used credited for non-commercial purposes under the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC).


Austria, Italy, Japan, Sweden, South Korea, USA

Contact Address

AIT Austrian Institute of Technogy GmbH
Center for Energy
Ing. Christian Köfinger MSc
Giefinggasse 2
1210 Wien
Tel: +43 (0) 50550-6509

Österreichische Energieagentur – Austrian Energy Agency
DI Franz Zach
Mariahilfer Str. 136
1150 Wien
Tel: +43 1 5861524-106

Technische Universität Graz
Institut für Wärmetechnik (IWT)
Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr. René Rieberer
Inffeldgasse 25/B
8010 Graz
Tel.: 0316 873-7302