Decarbonization Avenue : Heat pump

Innovation Insights

Innovations in the refrigerants used in heat pumps

Refrigerant is a chemical compound that requires only a small amount of energy to change from a liquid to a gas and back again. The earliest systems used chemicals that were either toxic or flammable, but modern heat pumps use safe blends referred to by the general name “Freon”. 


Refrigerant is responsible for the movement of heat from one set of coils in the heat pump to another; this is the process called heat exchange that allows a heat pump to warm your house during the winter (the refrigerant absorbs heat from the outdoor coils, releases it to the indoor coils) and cool it during the summer (the refrigerant absorbs heat from the inside coils, and releases it to the outdoor coils).

Innovations are needed in refrigerants such that they are able to support excellent heat pump performance while at the same time do not contribute to the greenhouse effects that some of the conventional refrigerants used earlier in air conditioners & heat pumps had. For instance, the efficiency of ammonia is high in a heat pump and can be easily applied below 80 °C temperature. It is a natural refrigerant and does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Relevant for

  • HVAC engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Electrochemical engineer

Innovation sector

  • Chemistry & chemical engineering

Web Resources


Energy Efficiency

Type of innovation

Core sciences & engineering


Corporate researcher