Institutes & Centers

Institute for Renewable Energy - Sustainable heating and cooling systems

Sustainable heating and cooling systems

The research group on sustainable heating and cooling systems focus on the integration of heat pump systems in a variety of applications, both in the residential as well as in the tertiary sector.

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Energy Exchange Lab© Eurac Research | Ivo Corrà

The research group on sustainable heating and cooling systems focus on the integration of heat pump systems in a variety of applications, both in the residential as well as in the tertiary sector.

Heat pumps, integrated within systems that also use solar collectors or photovoltaic panels, are used to cover heating and cooling loads in different environments. Heat pump systems can also be effectively used in the industrial sector for recovering low-temperature waste heat for production processes that require hot water or steam. Furthermore, using the same heat pump systems, low temperature waste heat from industrial sites and other urban sources (for example, waste heat from supermarket refrigeration systems and data centres) can be suitably recovered in new generation district heating and cooling networks.

Industrial partners can benefit from technical support during the design and launch phases of new technologies and from specialist advice during the simulation and monitoring phase of their solutions. Public partners and administrations can benefit from our experience analysing the interaction between demand and the production of thermal energy relating to a single building or a district.

We provide two laboratory infrastructures: - Energy Exchange Lab, that reproduces on a small scale the operation of a district heating and cooling network and enables the study of optimum management for the transfer of heat from/to multiple sources/ users. The laboratory also tests heat generation units and thermal exchange substations up to 50 kW. - Heat Pumps Lab, that can test single air/water or water/water units up to a power of 400 kW, air/air or water/air units up to a power of 25 kW and entire plants with a capacity of up to 50 kW.

The research group is active within the European Technology Platform for Renewable Heating and Cooling where it is at present a member of the board. It is further involved with a leading role in several International Energy Agency and European projects


  • design of hybrid heating and cooling systems through numerical simulations and laboratory testing
  • control strategies development for solar thermal system components and for the whole plants
  • monitoring of (complex) solar thermal systems


  • development of sustainable heating and cooling system configurations
  • technological development of solar cooling components, like sorption machines and control units
  • development of innovative test procedures for discontinuous thermally driven heat pumps.


  • laboratory testing of thermally driven and compression heat pumps
  • thermal systems’ design and op​timization through dynamic simulations
  • development of control strategies for the optimal use of free heat fluxes


  • numerical simulations of single components and whole solar systems performed mainly in TRNSYS, Labview and Polysun ambient
  • on site monitoring
  • laboratory tests

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Roberto Fedrizzi

Head of research group

Research Group Projects

1 - 13


EU H2020 REWARDHeat - Renewable and Waste Heat Recovery for Competitive District Heating and Cooling ...

Duration: September 2019 - September 2023Funding:
Societal Challenge (Horizon 2020 /EU funding /Project)

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Institute's Projects

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Eurac Research is a private research center based in Bolzano (South Tyrol) with researchers from a wide variety of scientific fields who come from all over the globe. Together, through scientific knowledge and research, they share the goal of shaping the future.

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Our research addresses the greatest challenges facing us in the future: people need health, energy, well-functioning political and social systems and an intact environment. These are complex questions, and we are seeking the answers in the interaction between many different disciplines. In so doing, our research work embraces three major themes: regions fit for living in, diversity as a life-enhancing feature, a healthy society.

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