Hoshizaki ice makers to go all natural by 2018

By hydrocarbons21.com team, Mar 18, 2016, 16:50 3 minute reading

Global ice maker and refrigeration equipment manufacturer Hoshizaki is convinced that natural refrigerants will play a major role in the future of refrigeration technology. With plans to use hydrocarbon refrigerants across its entire European product line by 2018, the company is seeking to lead the industry in the design and manufacture of environmentally friendly icemakers and refrigerators.

With almost 70 years of experience in the commercial kitchen equipment and food service industry, Japanese manufacturer Hoshizaki is looking increasingly closely at the environmentally friendly refrigeration solutions offered by hydrocarbons, and especially by propane (R290).
“Hydrocarbons have been used in our refrigeration system since the early 2000s, so we are comfortable with the manufacturing process,” Jeff Basolis, CEO of Hoshizaki Europe, told Accelerate Europe during a visit to Hoshizaki Europe’s headquarters in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Besides having zero ozone depleting potential and negligible global warming potential, hydrocarbons have enabled Hoshizaki to reduce manufacturing time and increase the efficiency of refrigeration equipment. “It’s easier to use hydrocarbon than CO2, it does not have problems with high pressure. There is not much difference in their cost either,” said Akira Ogushi, the company’s director of sales.
‘Yes’ to environmental protection
Hoshizaki started to use hydrocarbons in its FM series five years ago. The FM range produces flake or nugget ice, which can be used for a variety of cooling purposes.
Flake ice applications include:
  • Food processing

  • Fish and fresh produce display

  • Organ transportation

Nugget ice applications include:
  • Display of packed goods such as bottled beverages

  • Key ingredient in cocktails

When Hoshizaki introduced hydrocarbons in the FM series, the price of the components was still high, making end users more reluctant to invest in natural refrigerants. “In the beginning, the typical reaction of a user was: ‘yes’ to protecting the environment, but ‘no’ to spending more money for that,” says Ogushi.
As the demand for natural refrigerants has grown in the past two years, prices have fallen, allowing Hoshizaki to launch their latest IM series running on hydrocarbons. These icemakers produce ice cubes in five different sizes, together with special shapes such as ball, star or heart ice for premium beverages.
Hydrocarbons ‘the refrigerant of choice’
“For us, hydrocarbon is the refrigerant of choice, and we are looking into its use in more equipment, for example in sushi cases. We aim to change our entire offering to a natural type of refrigerant. Looking at our engineering time, we plan to have it by 2018,” says Basolis of the company’s future plans.
Hoshizaki aims to offer all its equipment with hydrocarbons, but is likely to also look into using CO2 for larger machines or upon customers’ request.
“We are satisfied with our achievements so far, but we are looking forward. Scandinavia, Germany, [and the] UK are very much natural refrigerant-oriented, while we still see a gap in the southern part of Europe. Although the EU tries to act as one, there is a big difference in the mind-set of users and dealers in the North and South,” Ogushi explains.
In influencing consumer choice, Hoshizaki is convinced of the need to educate both end users and dealers. “There is an education gap, and we want to show customers why to use hydrocarbons. We explain that on top of having an environmentally friendly solution, at the end of the day this results in using less energy and getting lower utility costs. Once they realise the savings, it’s a clear choice for our end users,” Basolis argues.
As for the future of hydrocarbons globally, Ogushi thinks that North America will follow the trend set by Europe, which has taken on a leading role in using natural refrigerants. “In Asia, we need a bit more time for people and governments to follow this trend. Japan is special, as the market has been already strongly oriented towards energy efficiency,” he concludes, arguing that natural refrigerants will have a bigger role to play in Asian markets in the coming years.


By hydrocarbons21.com team (@hydrocarbons21)

Mar 18, 2016, 16:50

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