Rotary heat exchangers

What is a rotary heat exchanger? The short answer: a rotating wheel with a multitude of small ducts made of aluminum is what a rotary heat exchanger consists of.

The extract air is warm and heats the ducts which transfer the heat to the colder supply air. The temperature efficiency of balanced supply and exhaust air is high and rotary heat exchangers are normally free from frostt, which allows high annual energy efficiency. Cooling energy is also effectively recovered while moisture is recovered with a sorption-treated rotor.

Different types of rotors

Various designs

The heat exchanger is equipped with motor control and features built-in rotation monitoring.

Rotary heat exchangers from Swegon are available in three different variants:

  • Maximum Temperature Efficiency (MTE) which has the highest temperature efficiency
  • Standard Temperature Efficiency (STE) is the trade-off between high temperature efficiency and lowest possible pressure drop
  • Maximum Pressure Efficiency (MPE) offers the lowest possible pressure drop.

All performance types can be selected with different materials.

The combination of different performance types and various surface treatments provide great flexibility, allowing optimisation while meeting different needs.
William Lawrance, Product Group Manager, Swegon

Different types of rotors

Various surface treatments

Aluminium rotors are normally used in commercial buildings where temperature efficiency is most important. Sorption rotors are used when moisture is to be recovered for both summer and winter operations and epoxy rotors are used when there is a risk of corrosion attack, e.g. in coastal climates.

The rotor recovers both heat and cold, and with a sorption-treated rotor it also recovers moisture. During summer operations, the heat exchanger “dehumidifies” the outside air, which reduces the moisture precipitation in the cooling coil - the latent cooling capacity - and lowers the overall cooling capacity. This is not only reducing operating costs, but also lower investment costs and improves comfort in the winter.

Winter operations usually mean a dry indoor climate, but a sorption-treated rotor recovers the moisture content of the extract air and increases the moisture content of the supply air.

Humidity control and optimisation

Maintaining acceptable humidity levels is key for providing optimal comfort and limiting the spread of diseases. Sorption rotors are very efficient in recovering humidity - 70-90% humidity recovery efficiency can be achieved using modern coating technology. Both temperature and humidity efficiencies are controlled with rotation speed. By controlling the heat exchanger’s rotation speed, humidity recovery can be optimised

Read more in our blog articles about the importance of correct humidity levels for an optimal indoor climate

Swegon solution

GOLD units with RECOsorptic heat exchanger has a built-in function to recover and maintain indoor humidity levels, enabling an optimal indoor climate.

Learn more about Swegon’s solution for hygrostatic rotor control.



Minimising internal leakage

While rotary heat exchangers offer high temperature efficiency, there is a risk of extract air being transferred to the supply air. Internal leakage needs to be avoided because it adversely affects the air quality and the energy consumption. 

Leakage can be divided into two types: 

  • Direct leakage past the seals
  • Carry over

All types of leakage must be considered when calculating specific fan power (SFP), using defined methods for measuring the performance of heat exchangers including the OACF and EATR.

Learn more about how to minimise internal leakage and what to consider when calculation SFP.


For a wide range of applications

Rotary heat exchangers provide optimum  temperature and energy efficiency and are suitable for most applications, except when there are strict requirements around odour tranfer and hygene. Different types of rotors makes it flexible to suit offices, hotels, schools etc.

Some examples:

Office BBVA headquarters, Madrid

Office Drottningen, Helsingborg

Media library, France

Broad product range

Swegon offers a comprehensive range of air handling units with rotary heat exchangers. Depending on the specific requirements and type of application, we offer solutions that fit all needs.

Explore our range:



All air handling units