Lower Energy Consumption and Improve Life Quality – Anhydrous Floor Heating: an Innovative Heating System

BY Staff reporters FU ZHIBIN & LI YUAN
OUTDOOR temperatures during winter in Zhengzhou, capital city of Henan Province in central China, are around minus four degrees Celsius. Upon entering Mr. Li’s home, however, we found it comfortably warm, not hot and dry, and could see no conventional heating appliances. As it turned out, his home is installed with the anhydrous floor heating system, jointly developed by Henan Reborn Environmental Scientific and Technological Co., Ltd.,  Zhengzhou University, and Zhengzhou Reborn Digital Floor Heating Scientific and Technological Co., Ltd. This scientific innovation is improving the quality of life in this ancient city, and bringing it new vitality.



Shops in streets and alleyways displaying piles of honeycomb briquettes for sale were a common sight in the late 20th century, but are seldom seen today. Chinese people have tried various forms of heating in winter, including heatable adobe sleeping platforms, stoves, central heating, and wall-hung gas boilers. These changes reflect the pursuit of a decent living environment. The common effort towards environmental protection has altered people’s concepts and prompted their exploration of new forms of energy utilization.

“The air source heat pump anhydrous floor heating system uses heat pump technology to absorb thermal energy from outdoor air and compress it into a high-temperature heating medium. The compressed heat flows through a coiled pipe embedded in the floor, condenses and releases heat, so using outdoor air to supply indoor heating. The whole system is simple, energy-saving, safe, and environmentally friendly. Its advantages over traditional heating systems include not using water or coal, or taking up space, nil emissions, and low cost,” chairman of the board of Henan Reborn Environmental Scientific and Technological Co., Ltd Chen Wanren said.

As patent holder, Chen Wanren has vivid memories of the system’s 10-year development process. In 1992, Chen Wanren, then 27, graduated from Zhengzhou Engineering Institute with an MSc in chemical machinery, and joined the school’s research and development team. In the course of his work he discovered that the results of much scientific and technological research in schools and research institutes which had great market potential were nonetheless shelved. Enterprises, meanwhile, floundered amid lackluster development due to an absence of suitable R & D conditions and quality projects. To break that cycle and build smooth “docking” between research projects and market, in March 2001 Chen Wanren founded Zhengzhou Kelai Refrigeration and Heating Engineering Co., Ltd. (predecessor to Reborn Environmental Scientific and Technological Co., Ltd.) in partnership with Zhengzhou University. From its inception, the company focused on communication and collaboration with universities, and strengthened sci & tech innovation. The new type water source heat pump system it developed soon won market recognition, so promoting its use in more than 20 provinces.

Having tasted the fruits of success, Chen Wanren has the firm conviction that scientific and technological innovation is the soul of enterprise development. Only when research results are transfomred into productive forces can they inject new vitality into innovation. Chen Wanren is now both chairman of the board of Henan Reborn Scientific and Technological Development Co., Ltd. and director of the Environmental Energy-Saving Technology Research Institute under the Zhengzhou University Comprehensive Design and Research Academy. It’s plain to see from his multi-component positions that he is both persistent and determined in his quest to integrate production, teaching and research.

The Henan Reborn anhydrous floor heating technology was developed in 2008. Although profits are the main impetus for a company’s development, as a responsible and credible private enterprise, Reborn did not rush to place the product on the market. Instead, it invested almost RMB 13 million in further testing and improvement over several years before starting mass production.

On December 26, 2013, an appraisal meeting was convened in Beijing for this anhydrous floor heating system, with a panel of 11 academicians and professors. The appraisal results and data show that the system can operate on minimal electricity. It is non-pollutant and can be applied broadly in residential communities, hotels, and office buildings. It has high practical value and significance.


Science and Technology Change Life

Mr. Li installed anhydrous floor heating last year. The installation cost for his apartment of 100 square meters is RMB 17,000, and his heating fees for the whole winter period amounted to RMB 7.5 per square meter — one fourth that of traditional heating. The system is in two forms: central control and individual control. Mr. Li chose the latter. Upon reaching a certain temperature, the engine stops, so saving energy. Mr. Li is delighted that since installing this system, his house is warm with just the right amount of ventilation and humidity.

The anhydrous floor refrigeration and heating system can achieve radiant refrigeration and heating, and can also supply ventilation and hot water. It purifies the air through ventilation and maintains a constant temperature and humidity through the circulatory dehumidification system. Creating a “breathable room” has been the R & D team’s dream.

 The best feature of the anhydrous floor refrigeration and heating system is its capacity for energy conservation. The technology it employs ensures that it significantly raises the evaporation temperature of refrigeration and lowers the heating condensation temperature, hence cutting energy use. Such a system consumes only one kilowatt to supply three to six kw of heat or three to five kw of refrigeration. In addition, compared with central heating or refrigeration, the energy is locally drawn, removing the need for transmission and any losses in the process. It thus saves optimum energy.

As regards running costs, it saves 75 to 85 percent of the energy needed for gas stove heating, and 70 to 80 percent of that needed for electricity powered heating. “If used nationwide, the anhydrous floor refrigeration and heating system can save the country hundreds of millions of tons of standard coal annually,” Chen Wanren said.

The safety of heating supply devices is an important aspect of people’s concern because, even with mature technology, leakage problems occur in traditional heating supply, for both natural gas and electrical types.

“Because the product has a simple design and the pipe coil uses oxygen-free copper pipe whose life expectancy is hundreds of years, the reliability of the whole system and products is guaranteed,” Deputy General Manager Zhang Jingping said.

Zhang Jingping believes that the anhydrous floor refrigeration and heating system’s greatest innovation is that of its application. Historically, China has two different heating supply forms in regions (actually urban areas) north and south of the Huaihe River: collective heating (supplied by city utilities over a set period of winter months) for the north and individual (self-supplied by households at their own discretion)  for the south. In view of changes in modern life, as well as climate change, however, there is debate over whether or not this rule is scientific and rational.

In winter, southern cities are cold, though not to the same degree as in the north, and damp, and the need for heating is real. Amid the trend of energy conservation and emission reduction, it is unrealistic to expect these regions to introduce traditional coal-burning heat supply facilities. “The Reborn anhydrous floor refrigeration and heating system has two forms of control: central and individual. Even a single household can install this system. This has fundamentally solved the heating supply in areas south of the Huaihe River. Taking into account its cleanness, environmentally friendliness, and low energy consumption, the system is well received in the southern market,” Zhang Jingping said. The system operates normally when the outdoor temperature is less than minus 33 degrees Celsius. It is therefore also welcomed in northern cities, especially on the urban fringe where there is no central heating supply.

The anhydrous floor refrigeration and heating system is not only a product that benefits the people, but also the government. By installing this system the government can save substantial amounts on construction of large-scale infrastructure, boilers and relevant pipe network, as well as the land for such facilities. At present, this innovative product with the potential to greatly boost energy-saving has won support from the governments of many localities.


Going Global

Since the market expansion of the anhydrous refrigeration and heating system, Reborn has strengthened its R & D, production, marketing and brand building.

The Reborn Group has invested in the construction of a large-scale industrial base and practiced rigorous standards to guarantee the stable quality of key components and reliability of core technology. To expand its production capability, the group has cooperated with high-end manufacturers in the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) practice for the supply of conventional components. When these components enter the production base, core technology is used to reprocess and reoptimize them.

To meet the increasing demand, Reborn has built an R & D base in Zhengzhou, and invested in large-scale production bases in Xinxiang, also in Henan Province, Hefei of Anhui Province, Qingyuan of Guangdong Province, and Laizhou of Shandong Province. At present, the production capacity of its Zhengzhou factory and OEM base can satisfy the engineering quantity needs of 20 million square meters annually. After completion, the production capability of its Pingyuan base will be able to satisfy the engineering quantity needs of 50 million square meters annually, laying solid foundations for market expansion of the anhydrous refrigeration and heating system.

The enterprise has proactively promoted the product nationwide since 2012 when it first entered the market. Reborn has carried out demonstration projects in Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, and Beijing, all of which operate stably, winning market recognition of product quality, user experience, and project maintenance.

Industry standards and economics of scale are critical to manufacturers’ performance and profits. Reborn practices standardized management of production, installation and after-sales service of its products, greatly raising efficiency and quality.

Reborn’s next step is to further improve management standardization and promotion of its products. The R & D team is creating a new Internet-based heating management mode by building a big data center through which to monitor the operation of the main engine and provide customized service. Users can regulate temperatures and pay bills through an app, and the heating suppliers can timely solve user problems through this system, so guaranteeing no dead corner in heat supply.

Many domestic and local heating companies are seeking Reborn’s cooperation, and some foreign enterprises have also taken note of this innovative product. Negotiations with a Canadian company are underway, and Reborn is to set up an overseas cooperation department to accelerate this “going global” process.

“The stress on the environment is felt worldwide, and energy conservation is now the consensus. In my opinion, saving energy does not entail nil energy usage, but living a better life with less energy consumption, consequently at a lower living cost,” Chen Wanren said.