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issue: November 2003 APPLIANCE Magazine

Tokyo Report
The Japanese Electric Heat Pump Market

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by Wasaku Ishida, Japanese correspondent, APPLIANCE magazine, and vice president, JARN (Japan Air-Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News)

Electric heat pump units occupy a large portion of Japan's air-conditioning market. Heat pump unit production accounts for 98 percent of all room air-conditioner shipments in Japan and 89.6 percent of all packaged air-conditioner shipments.

In recent years, the performance of heat pump units has dramatically improved, thanks to the adoption of compressors using inverter-driven d.c. brushless motors and heat exchangers with high heat-transfer efficiency. Since heat pumps generally are produced in large quantities, their manufacturing cost has dropped to low price levels compared to those of cooling-only units, thus resulting in additional increases in demand.

In order to level the peak demand for electric power each summer, the Japanese government has been taking various steps in cooperation with electric power and gas utility companies. Providing an incentive/subsidy to installers of gas-engine-driven heat pumps forms the core of these steps.

Although thermal storage systems have shown considerable growth during the last few years, their installation pace has slowed. For thermal storage systems, the "de-centralized package type" system has experienced the largest number of installations, with shipments between 7,000 to 9,000 units in the last 3 years.

The number of water thermal storage system installations has been low, as those products require a large space for the thermal storage tank. Nevertheless, installation numbers have been steadily increasing with yearly percentage increases.

Gas-fired absorption chillers and gas-engine-driven heat pumps account for a major portion (20.7 percent) of the gas cooling segment in Japan. Since most absorption chillers are larger than 100 tons, they are used for applications ranging from middle- to large-scale office buildings, while gas-engine-driven heat pumps are produced in the 5 to 30 RT capacity ranges.

Although kerosene-fired, engine-driven heat pumps are available in the Japanese market, their shipments, at 1,500 units per year, are negligible compared to gas-engine-driven heat pumps.

Japanese air-conditioner manufacturers have been steadily improving the energy efficiency of room air-conditioners in compliance with Japan's Energy Saving law. Table 1 shows the top 10 coefficient of performance (COP) of Japanese room air-conditioner manufacturers.

Manufacturer Model No. Nominal Capacity (kW) COPc (cooling) COPh (heating) COP average
Daikin AN22DRS 2.2 5.79 5.77 5.78
Hitachi RAS-2210RX 2.2 6.20 5.98 6.09
Matsushita CS-E223A 2.2 6.29 6.04 6.17
Mitsubishi Electric MSZ-Z22L 2.2 5.79 6.33 6.06
Mitsubishi Heavy SRK22SD 2.2 5.57 5.82 5.7
Mitsubishi Heavy SRK22SE 2.2 6.29 5.93 6.11
Sanyo SAP-E22N 2.2 6.11 5.77 5.94
Sanyo SAP-EC22J 2.2 5.95 5.71 5.83
Sanyo SAP-E22H 2.2 5.79 5.82 5.81
Toshiba RAS-225JDR 2.2 6.03 5.98 6.01

Table 1: Top 10 COPs of Japanese Room Air-Conditioners, 2.2 kW Class


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