Industry leaders attending ATMOsphere Europe 2018 predicted that natural refrigerant CO2 has a bright future in industrial and commercial applications.
Giacomo Pisano presenting at the 'Thought Leaders Panel' during the ATMOsphere Europe conference.
Credit: Ben Beech
Natural refrigerant CO2 will continue to grow in Europe’s refrigeration market as new technology developments pave the way for it to make greater inroads into industrial as well as commercial applications, heard ATMOsphere Europe participants.
Victor Calvo from Carrier told the ATMOsphere conference – hosted by shecco, publisher of this website, at Lago di Garda, Italy from 19-21 November – that he sees both the commercial and industrial refrigeration sectors as promising growth areas for CO2.
“We see more and more opportunities for CO2 in the commercial segment,” said Calvo. “Cold storage warehouses are also a significant growth area for CO2, as well as industrial refrigeration more generally,” he said.
Calvo said Carrier had made some 10,000 CO2 rack installations in Europe so far, most of which are in large supermarkets. "Around three quarters of that number are CO2 transcritical, and around a quarter are subcritical,” he said.
“Cold storage warehouses are a significant growth area for CO2, as well as industrial refrigeration more generally.”
– Victor Calvo, Carrier
Larger capacity compressors
Giacomo Pisano from Italian multinational compressor manufacturer Dorin stressed the importance of offering CO2 compressors for large capacities, “because otherwise you would need to install several racks” for big industrial applications.
Pisano sees little future in HFCs or HFOs. “We see many drawbacks of HFOs. New blends pop up every six months,” he said.
Fabio Fogliani from Beijer Ref, meanwhile, expressed confidence that natural refrigerants would become ever more important to the HVAC&R giant’s business. “We’re confident that natural refrigerant technologies will continue to add to our turnover,” he said.
“Asia is a growing market for us, following our acquisition of Heatcraft Australia,” Fogliani said. “Africa is another important growth region.”
“We think that we have a duty to develop natural refrigerant technologies and that they are the best solutions to apply,” Fogliani said. “Every day, we’re trying to convince our customers that natural refrigerants are the best solutions,” he said.
Expanding production capacity
Andreas Meier, managing director of German system manufacturer TEKO, stressed the need to be ready to meet greater market demand. “For us the need to add production capacity for natural refrigerant technologies is clear,” he said.
To date, Meier said TEKO had installed some 2,900 CO2, 74 propane and 54 ammonia systems in Europe, mainly in Germany.
Meier stressed the importance of training HVAC&R technicians and installers in using natural refrigerants to ensure that they fulfil their potential in all world markets. “Practical training remains crucially important to growing the natural refrigerant sector,” he said.
“Practical training remains crucially important to growing the natural refrigerant sector.”
– Andreas Meier, TEKO
Kenneth Madsen from Advansor also expressed confidence in the growth prospects of CO2. “Most of our sales are in Europe,” said Madsen, estimating that Advansor had installed some 4,500 racks in Europe so far. “18 of Europe’s top 20 retailers install CO2 transcritical units from Advansor,” he said.
Madsen argued that this growth was all the more impressive, given that it was organic. “We don’t have the luxury of our competitors in that we can’t convert our existing HFC systems to CO2.”
Madsen identified Spain and Eastern Europe as promising regions for growth, but stressed the need to ensure that CO2 transcritical technology is simple enough to be accessible to all.
“We need to turn the space shuttles that we have at the moment into Volkswagens that everyone can drive,” he said. “Simplification is the key.”
Marco Buoni from Centro Studi Galileo, an Italian HVAC&R training institute, stressed the importance of ensuring that people around the world aren’t just trained but are also certified in using natural refrigerants.
“We want the end users to be safe, and therefore to certify as many people as possible in using natural refrigerants,” Buoni said.