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Dürr invests in heat pump specialist thermea

Bietigheim-Bissingen, September 13, 2012 – Dürr further expands its range of products and services in the area of energy efficiency technology. The Group has acquired a 27% stake in heat pump specialist thermea Energiesysteme GmbH with effect from September 11, 2012. The company from Freital in Saxony is one of the world’s first suppliers of large heat pumps that use the natural refrigerant CO2. This makes the systems more environmentally friendly than conventional heat pumps which use halogenated refrigerants. In addition, thermea systems offer better performance rates at considerably higher flow temperatures of up to 90° C, and even 130° C in future. Industrial operators thus have the efficiency and flexibility they need when generating process heating and cooling as well as hot water. The acquisition is currently awaiting approval from the anti-trust authorities.

  • Further share acquisition in energy efficiency technology
  • Dürr AG and Robert Bosch GmbH are the largest industrial shareholders with 27% each

Heat pumps use energy derived from ambient heat (e.g. from geothermal energy, wastewater or industrial processes) for heating or cooling. A central role is played by the refrigerant, which evaporates and condenses in a closed circuit.

Dürr expects growing demand for CO2 heat pumps as energy-efficient and environmentally friendly processes are becoming increasingly important. “By using waste heat, heat pumps boost energy efficiency and sustainability in heating and cooling supply”, says Ralph Heuwing, responsible for the Clean Technology Systems division within the Board of Management. “With the help of thermea technology, it is possible to reduce emissions and energy costs by up to 50% compared to conventional heat supply systems.” Added to that is a growing need for replacement. A lot of older industrial heat pumps will be replaced as the refrigerants they use are harmful to the environment. Systems based on natural refrigerants provide planning security.

The multi-award winning thermea technology is sold under the trade name of “thermeco2”. It is suitable, e.g., for the process and food industry, for drying processes, data centers and building services, as well as for local and district heating. The automobile industry uses the technology for compressed air dehumidification, among other things.

thermea heat pumps can be operated at waste heat temperatures as low as 8 to 40° C. So far, there have been few commercially viable possibilities for recovery at this level of thermal energy. The performance range is between 50 and 4,000 kW. The technology is particularly efficient in cases where customers require both heating and cooling.

thermea Energiesysteme GmbH was founded in 2008 and achieves sales in the single-digit million euro range. Apart from Dürr, Robert Bosch GmbH also has a 27% stake in thermea.

Ralph Heuwing: “With thermea heat pumps, we are adding another environmentally friendly technology to our range of heat and waste heat recovery systems. On this basis, we can provide the most economical solutions for a number of different applications.” Dürr’s investment in thermea is its fourth acquisition in the area of energy efficiency. Since mid-2011, Dürr has also invested in Dürr Cyplan GmbH (ORC systems for generating electricity from waste heat), heat exchanger specialist HeatMatrix BV and heat storage producer LaTherm GmbH.

The expansion of activities in the area of energy efficiency is a central element of Dürr’s corporate strategy. In order to move this business forward, the Group set up the new Clean Technology Systems division last year. It is expected to achieve sales in excess of € 200 million by 2015.