ATMOsphere Network Paris highlights global natural refrigerant solutions and trends

By Pilar Aleu, Jul 28, 2014, 16:13 4 minute reading

The ATMOsphere Network Paris held on 17 July in Paris as a side event to the Montreal Protocol meeting provided an update on the conversion of the Chinese room AC sector to hydrocarbons. In addition, market trends for natural refrigerants and examples of their use in commercial and industrial refrigeration, were highlighted by Mayekawa, Advansor, AHT and shecco.

Chaired by Sidi Menad Si Ahmed, former UNIDO Director of the Montreal Protocol Branch and now shecco’s International Chief Advisor, the event gathered around 50 international climate negotiators and industry representatives. ATMOsphere Network Paris was organised on 17 July as a side event to the 34th Open Ended Working Group Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

“We should not fear the adoption of an HFC amendment because alternatives do exist for a wide range of applications currently covered by HFCs,” said Si Ahmed, at the opening of the event.

China’s progress with R290 room ACs - six types already certified for domestic market

Zhong Zhifeng of the Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO) at the Ministry of Environmental Protection provided an exclusive update on the conversion of a production line for residential AC to hydrocarbons in China. The results of a comprehensive risk assessment, which evaluated that the explosion possibilities for an R290 room AC are extremely low and that safe use can be guaranteed through implementation of certain safety measures, encouraged the Chinese industry to move forward. Almost all manufacturers have submitted applications for certification of R290 AC and already at least 6 types of propane room ACs have been approved and certified, which means that these can be sold in the Chinese market.

In China, progress on the conversion of production lines for room AC and compressor lines from R22 to R290 is made almost every day and new production lines have been founded. According to Zhifeng, the Chinese manufacturing designs and production lines are likely suitable for different world regions, given the energy efficiency and the strict production standards adhered to. These include the national safety standard that allows the use of flammable refrigerants in room AC published in May 2013, and other standards concerning production line safety, transportation safety, installation and servicing, already adapted or to be published soon.

To encourage manufacturers to promote R290 as soon and as much as possible when the production is ready, the FECO, in partnership with an association of manufacturers, has established a market promotion subsidy scheme.

AHT has placed over 670,000 HC cabinets worldwide

With over 670,000 hydrocarbon-based cabinets worldwide, AHT is confident that this solution is future proof and R290 is the best alternative refrigerant for ice cream cabinets, bottle coolers and commercial freezers. Guillaume Grolier of AHT Cooling Systems France presented the company’s ice cream cabinets, bottle coolers and supermarket cases with hydrocarbons, highlighting temperature performance and comparisons of energy consumption and TEWI.

Mayekawa and Advansor highlight technology & market trends

Darren Lacroix of Advansor spoke about market trends for transcritical CO2 systems across 16 countries. According to his presentation, certain trends can be observed in relation to commercial refrigeration and the use of CO2. One of them is policy related as retailers are preparing to comply with the requirements of the EU F-Gas Regulation, which is driving the adoption of CO2 transcritical solutions in Europe. Solutions for warmer climates are increasingly becoming available and the investment cost is declining. In addition, all in one solutions incorporating refrigeration, AC and full heat recovery, are becoming more popular.

An update on industrial refrigeration technology trends and on the impact of regulatory activities on the introduction of natural refrigerants was provided by Eric Delforge of Mayekawa. While ammonia has been historically the most used refrigerant in industrial applications, CO2 is becoming more popular in negative temperature applications. Hydrocarbons and air are suitable for very low temperature applications. Some of the key technological trends include minimising refrigerant charge through cascade systems or innovative heat exchangers, increased efficiency by means of frequency control, advanced valve control systems or multi-stage systems as well as heat recuperation and improved safety features. The ban on R22 that will enter into force in 2015 in Europe will present a short-term challenge for the industry but also a great opportunity for natural refrigerants. Delforge concluded his presentation by saying that natural refrigerant-based technology is an ideal solution for sustainable industrial activities.

Policy actions and market trends for natural refrigerants in the EU, Japan & North America

Klara Skacanova of shecco outlined some of the recent regulatory updates in Europe, Japan and North America, while pointing out how ambitious policy actions in these regions drive innovation and lead to increased availability of natural refrigerant solutions. Looking at developments in the three regions she concluded that there is a clear worldwide trend by governments to take action on HFCs and this has a direct impact on increased interest in natural refrigerant solutions. Taking the example of commercial refrigeration where the EU, the USA and Japan are putting (or have already put) in place restrictions on the use of HFCs, the link between ambitious regulatory measures and increased commercial availability of natural refrigerant technology is apparent.


By Pilar Aleu

Jul 28, 2014, 16:13

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