German energy solutions company MAN Energy Solutions (MAN) has announced that its heat pump technology has passed the Factory Acceptance Test in Zurich, Switzerland and is now ready to be supplied to the largest carbon dioxide (CO2)-based heat pump plant of its kind.

Located in Esbjerg, Denmark, the plant will provide zero emission energy to the city’s 100,000 inhabitants. 

With coal-fired plants supplying most cities with energy for heat, the project could revolutionise the way households and industries generate power and heat. 

By replacing its coal-fired power station with a more sustainable heat pump system, the port city aims to become carbon neutral by 2030 and – in 2023 – the coal power plant will be taken offline, with green wind power replacing coal-fired electricity. 

MAN’s 50 megawatt (MW) heat pump uses CO2 as a non-toxic, flame-resistant refrigerant, enabling higher temperatures compared with traditional cooling agents and improving safety. 

The combined cycle power plant is expected to eventually generate around 235 gigawatt hours (GWh) of heat for city’s inhabitants. 

Commenting on the company’s success, Uwe Lauber, CEO, MAN Energy, said, “We’ve got a good look at the heat pump when we visited our Zurich site and I’m incredibly proud of this project.” 

Although the new system follows the conventional heat pump principles of evaporation, compression, condensation, and expansion, by using CO2 higher pressures can be handled by the compressors, allowing for higher temperatures - up to 150C - and more heat to be generated.