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Although heat pump water heaters are by far the most efficient way to heat water, heat pump water heaters in itself are not very energy efficient.

In the participating countries some specific programs for R&D on Heat Pump Water Heaters are or have been running and some general R&D programs run in which amongst others heat pump water heater technologies are supported. In Japan the program for the HPWH with CO2 as refrigerant, the ECO-Cute, has been a run-away success over the past decade. While in the USA a special R&D program, based upon the Research & Development Roadmap for Emerging Water Heating Technologies, DOE 2014, has been executed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory with a broad perspective. In Japan a great number of manufacturers execute the major work of R&D, supported by institutes like the Saito Laboratories of Waseda University In France PACTE ECS program by ADEME has been run in which 33 companies participated.

In Netherlands the TKI-Urban Energy program is the leading program for the support of heat pumping technologies in buildings. A selection of relevant projects supported in 2020 show a great focus on filling in the challenges set by governmental policy to create housing quarters free of gas.

In Switzerland the SFOE program has a number of R&D priorities, such as: High-efficiency heat pumps and refrigeration systems, Intelligent heat pumps and additive energy systems, Heat pumps with a broad, flexible temperature regime.

An overview of the R&D work in a number of participating countries is given for Japan, France, Netherlands and Switzerland. While from China and Austria more general R&D reports were available.

A great number of the main heat pump manufacturers/suppliers are not an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and get their components from the world-wide market of compressor technologies, valves, evaporators and refrigerants. Therewith, R&D from non-OEM manufacturers will be mostly ‘application development’ focusing on the application boundaries of the existing and future markets and customer needs and preferences. This is a very challenging market where innovation is of great importance to reach the market.

Technologies in focus

A comparison with the research topics of the publicly funded projects shows the high research relevance of the topic “Increasing the efficiency of the refrigeration cycle”. Of a certain urgency is also a “more efficient system integration in the living area.” The main challenges for Heat Pump Water Heaters are Smaller, Cheaper, More efficient.

Heat Pump Manufacturers, often locally operating have to find the right local opportunities to sell their products.


Component technologies is mainly the work done by Technical Institutes and by Original Equipment Manufacturers, in support of the ‘local; heat pump manufacturers.


Introducing Plug & Play solutions, making installation of the technology especially in renovation, more simple or fit for the local conditions..


Smart technologies focus on integrating Heat Pump Waters in the Energy Grid as well as integrating in the Building structures.

End user

Focusing on smart control, making the installation efficient to handle, and on smart water saving technologies?

Combination with other technologies

Other technologies like Solar Thermal and Solar PVT and PCM’s can make a win-win combination.

Future Work

Worldwide a lot of work is done on the technology. International collaboration under a future Annex has added value.