Mitsubishi Electric has launched the next generation of its market-leading Ecodan air source heat pump range with a host of new initiatives that increases heat up efficiency by 17 per cent, makes remote monitoring easier to access, thereby aiding applications to Government initiatives, and also introduces a whole new way of heating a cylinder.
The developments include the UK’s first use of a plate heat exchanger in a domestic cylinder and patented Scale-Stop technology to remove the risk of limescale build-up.
The launch comes as the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) moves from its legacy stage into supporting new market growth, with the company developing the advanced range to answer the growing need for renewable heating in the UK.
“This is our fifth generation of heat pump solutions and we have looked at just about every aspect so that we can maximise efficiency and ease both installation and operation”, explains Max Halliwell, Product Marketing Manager for the domestic Ecodan range. “We are proud to have been first to market with several initiatives in heat pumps and this new generation continues that trend by putting Ecodan streets ahead of any other system”.
Ecodan was the first inverter-driven air source heat pump in the UK to receive MCS (Micro Certification Scheme) certification and the first UK-manufactured unit to receive the prestigious Eco Label.  It is also the only air source heat pump that have received the Noise Abatement Society’s ‘Quiet Mark’ and the first to offer intelligent room sensing as standard.
Mitsubishi Electric has invested heavily in R&D facilities at its UK manufacturing plant in Livingston to focus on the experience of the homeowner, simplifying the installation for the contractor, and making maintenance and monitoring even easier:
“We have set out to develop an incredibly sophisticated machine with a simple front end”, adds Halliwell.
The next generation – the FTC5 range, which is available from January 2015, includes a complete new range of new cylinders which focus on improvements in heat loss performance; hot water recovery efficiency and time; and ease of installation and use.
All ten of the new cylinders dispense with the traditional internal coil method of water heating and instead use an external plate heat exchanger which increases hot water heat up efficiency by 17 per cent over previous models.
“We think that this will grab the headlines because it challenges the traditional ways of heating a cylinder, but equally important to us is the introduction of remote energy monitoring which will now be installed on every Ecodan that leaves the factory”, explains Halliwell, “We see this as a key way of demonstrating the effectiveness of heat pumps moving forward and helping homeowners qualify for incentive payments”.
The FTC5 range offers three different options for homeowners: The standard level which is pre-installed at the factory, offering remote energy monitoring using partial estimation of energy use; Level Two which includes the addition of an electric meter; and Level Three which adds a Metering and Monitoring Service Package (MMSP) heat meter, enabling homeowners to receive an additional RHI payment of £230 per year for seven years..
“We believe that this is one of the strongest ways of demonstrating our faith in the possibilities for the heat pump market”, adds Halliwell, “the ability to monitor and measure energy consumption is not only key to Government incentives but will also become increasingly important as energy prices continue to rise.
“Adding this facility will allow homeowners to measure and maximise system efficiency and minimise run costs”.
Plate heat exchangers use forced convection to heat the water cylinder, rather than the natural convection of a coil and this increases the Delta T, meaning that the water heats up more quickly and recovers temperature quicker when some hot water is used.
However, many parts of the UK suffer from limescale in the water supply and plate heat exchangers are more likely to scale up and drop in performance, which is where the Patented Scale-Stop technology from Mitsubishi Electric comes into its own.
The system promotes the precipitation of scale inside the trap rather than on the plate in the heat exchanger and maintains the high performance for over 10 years, even in hard water areas.
“We have solved the problem of limescale for plate heat exchangers with this technology”, explains Halliwell.
Other initiatives included in the launch include a patented cold inlet diffuser for all of the Pre-plumbed cylinders, which ensures reduced mixing of cold inlet water with stratified hot water.  This device sits within the center of tank, reducing the velocity of the cold water entering tank and reducing the smoother acceptance of the new cold water within the cylinder
A new titanium immersion heater also sets a new standard for operational life – even in the hardest or most aggressive water conditions.  Titanium’s strength, weight and smooth finish enables it to withstand extreme stress, fluctuating temperatures and corrosive environments.
“We expect the heat pump market to continue to grow steadily through a combination of the RHI and in answer to the increasing costs of oil and LPG”, explains John Kellett, General Manager of the company’s heating systems. “We have prepared this new range to ensure that Ecodan is ready to answer that growing need”.