Panasonic has launched an intelligent hybrid VRF in Europe, combining electric (EHP) and gas-driven heat pump (GHP) technology.
The manufacturer says the new system reduces energy costs by automatically switching between its GHP and EHP; it also provides a free supply of domestic hot water (DHW) aimed at high demand applications, such as hotels and apartment blocks.
The result, says Panasonic, is a significant reduction in electrical demand during peak times when the air conditioning load ratio is high, for example when a hotel is at high occupancy. The GHP system consumes less than 10% of the electricity that the EHP system does at full capacity. By switching to GHP during peak times, energy savings are maximised. This enables the building’s electrical supply to be used much more efficiently to power critical infrastructure, such as the lighting or elevator operation.
For times when the load ratio is low, such as when hotels are at low occupancy during the daytime, the system can switch to EHP to save energy. As the EHP can operate at a much lower capacity than GHP during off-peak periods, heating or cooling can be directed to the precise areas it is required with minimal energy wastage. In addition, the ability to switch to EHP when demand is low, helps to extend the life of the GHP engine, so it is not in constant operation, delivering savings on maintenance costs too. Installation and maintenance requirements are further reduced due to the unit’s unified refrigerant cycle.
The free DHW is supplied by capturing the waste heat generated by the GHP engine during operation and using it to heat water. This feature contributes to huge savings for large-scale commercial applications with a high demand of DHW, such as hotels.
The system is managed by a centralised intelligent controller, which monitors energy consumption and calculates load demand, intuitively switching between GHP and EHP for the most efficient operation. Its user-friendly interface also features multiple energy saving modes, including ‘Smart Multi’, which can be easily customised to increase efficiency.