Natural refrigerants globally on the rise

Published:  09 November, 2012

At the international trade show for refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation and heat pumps, Chillventa, international speakers addressed the status of developments in their countries and demonstrated that the growth potential for natural refrigerant cooling options continues unabated.

At the international trade show for refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation and heat pumps, Chillventa, international speakers addressed the status of developments in their countries and demonstrated that the growth potential for natural refrigerant cooling options continues unabated.

Paul Bishop, chairman of the International Committee of the IIAR, described the situation in South America. “Our goal in this market is to show which solutions are available to the sector and which aspects have to be considered when working with natural refrigerants,” explained Bishop. IIAR initiatives in this region focus on knowhow transfer and training, because according to Bishop there is enormous interest in natural refrigerants in South America. Whereas ammonia applications are comparatively common, the use of CO2, for example, is not yet widespread. This means that there is still a huge growth potential in this market.

“The development of natural refrigerants in India affects the development of natural refrigerants worldwide,” said Samir Shah, director of Metalex Cryogenics Ltd. Together with Dr Atul Padalkar from the Flora Institute of Technology, he addressed the current situation and market opportunities in his home country. In this region, the use of natural refrigerants is being promoted with incentives such as subsidies and by means of legislation. The government’s objective is to completely dispense with synthetic refrigerants by 2030. Industry experts envisage great potential for natural refrigerants in the hotel and foodstuffs sectors and especially in supermarket refrigeration. At more than ten%, the building air conditioning sector is also set to enjoy strong growth for the coming years.

Stefan Jensen, Managing Director of Scantec Refrigeration Technologies, talked about the special circumstances in Australia, where the market is also defined by national legislation. In 2011 the government adopted its “Plan for a Clean Energy Future”, a regulation that aims to reduce GHG emissions and increase energy efficiency. The introduction of a levy on HFC refrigerants as part of the plan encourages the use of natural refrigerant applications. “Australia is an extreme example of the process of switching to natural refrigerants,” said Jensen. However, the market is facing barriers to implementation, such as the lack of qualified specialists and inadequate knowhow about natural refrigerants. “The sector has not prepared sufficiently to adapt to the new circumstances, but is rapidly coming to grips with the new legislation,” he added.

Dr Andy Pearson from Star Refrigeration illustrated what happens when there is no legislation influencing the market. He explained the situation in the UK, where the industry itself is pushing the use of natural refrigerants. Ammonia is the most common natural refrigerant in this market and is used predominantly in industrial applications and heat pumps. The trend in the sector is clearly towards the use of hydrocarbons, particularly for cooling foodstuffs. Supermarkets in particular are the driving force behind natural refrigerants in the UK. “The development in our country demonstrates the industry's awareness of environmental protection and of the contribution that natural refrigerants can make towards this,” said Pearson.

“We regard the Chillventa as one of the key industry events for us. With our booth we succeeded in positioning eurammon as a competent partner for all concerns about natural refrigerants” concluded chairwoman of eurammon Monika Witt, who was delighted that eurammon had achieved what it set out to do with the presentations. “We wanted to use this lecture programme to inform all interested parties about the status of natural refrigerants worldwide,” she said. The eurammon lecture event in 2012 attended by around 100 people was a great success for the initiative. The traditional brunch for Friends of Natural Refrigerants also took place at the eurammon booth this year. The experts of the industry used the network event to intensify their discussions about the global situation of natural refrigerants.

The presentations from the event are available for download from the eurammon

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