Best of 2013 - most popular news on

By Silvia Scaldaferri, Dec 19, 2013, 12:12 6 minute reading

Showcasing the advancement of hydrocarbon (HC) technology in heating & cooling, recaps the most popular news for 2013. Overall, the market for R600a and R290 technology received a boost from changes to legislation and investment by end users such as the Co-operative Group and Unilever.

Developments in regulations and standards 

R600a gets the “green light" for stand-alone refrigeration in the US: 2.5 years after initial SNAP approval of R290 in stand-alone commercial refrigeration, the US EPA has granted Red Bull permission to use R600a for its coolers, allowing a reduction in the energy consumption of its cooler fleet by up to 20%.

China’s major refrigerant suppliers say large-scale production of R290 ACs coming soonChina’s two major hydrocarbon refrigerant suppliers, Shandong Yuean and Puyang Zhongwei, see the adoption of natural refrigerants as an irreversible trend in China. Despite the slow market development of the Chinese R290 AC sector so far, refrigerant suppliers anticipate that the implementation of the national safety standard for flammable refrigerants could remove key market barriers for R290 ACs.

F-gas tax becomes reality in SpainOn 17 October 2013, Spain’s Congress approved the introduction of a tax on fluorinated greenhouse gases (f-gases). The tax, which will be phased in gradually from 2014 to reach eventually a level of €20/tCO2eq in 2016, will apply to gases with a global warming potential (GWP) greater than 150 and will not apply to the first refrigerant charge of new equipment.

New developments of hydrocarbons in developing countries

HCs in light-commercial refrigeration & AC: Global rollout strategies and market potential for developing countriesFrom 3-4 June 2013, the UNIDO ATMOsphere Technology Summit brought together decision makers from developing and developed countries to discuss the technical and commercial viability of natural refrigerants.

“Can HC Replace HCFC/HFC in Unitary A/C Applications?” – Part 1: On 10 April UNEP OzonAction organised the first of its webinars in the “RefTalk” series, titled, “Can HC Replace HCFC/HFC in Unitary A/C Applications?” Presentations from UNIDO, Chinese Government representatives and university researchers were followed by a Q&A during which asked panellists about the anticipated future success of R290 room air conditioners (RAC).

With HCFCs “out”, Mexico and China share plans as of what is “in”: The plans of major HCFC consuming countries, like China and Mexico, for addressing the gradual phase-out of these substances were discussed during the “UNIDO ATMOsphere Technology Summit - Natural Solutions for Developing Countries”.

Wider application of natural refrigerants in developing countries - Exclusive interview with Marion Geiss, GIZ: At the ATMOsphere Europe 2012 conference in November 2012, spoke to Ms Marion Geiss from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which collaborated on several numerous natural refrigerant demonstration projects around the world.

Hydrocarbons are highlighted in global HVAC&R events

AHR Expo 2013: “Hydrocarbons will come, whether we like it or not”Traditionally with a bigger focus on air conditioning, the 65th AHR Expo, held from 28 to 30 in Dallas, Texas, also had products for refrigeration using hydrocarbon refrigerants on display. Exhibitors confirmed a growing interest from the market, while safety, servicing and training for hydrocarbon equipment were still highly discussed topics.

Hydrocarbon product innovations showcased at 2013 China Refrigeration Expo: At the 2013 China Refrigeration Exhibition in Shanghai, several major manufacturers showcased their HC compressors, refrigerants and air conditioners. From extremely small compressors for household refrigeration, and new R290 compressors for air-conditioning and heat pumps, to a range of HC charging stations, the expo saw a range of innovative solutions for the domestic and overseas markets.

Ultra low temperature freezers with 100% natural HC blends at BIOtech 2013, Japan: The 13th International Bio Technology Exhibition & Conference, brought together over 10,000 attendees over the course of three days. 600 exhibitors presented their biotechnology products and latest research developments.

Hydrocarbons in commercial refrigeration

UK’s largest ever propane chiller installation at The Co-op’s new headquarters: Eight propane chillers have been installed at The Co-operative Group’s new headquarters in Manchester, the largest ever propane chiller project in a commercial building in the UK. The building has achieved the highest BREEAM rating, receiving the ‘Outstanding’ accreditation for a large, commercial building in the UK.

Hydrocarbons gain share in European commercial refrigeration- EIA’s ‘Chilling Facts V’: The 2013 ‘Chilling Facts V’ report, which assesses 21 leading EU supermarket chains on their progress towards eliminating high-GWP HFCs from their fridges,has found a significant rise in the number of stores adopting HFC-free refrigeration systems, including hydrocarbon plug-and-play units.

Unilever on track to reach target of 850,000 climate friendly freezers by 2015: In 2012 the world’s largest ice cream producer Unilever, purchased around 332,000 new climate friendly freezer cabinets with hydrocarbon refrigerants, thus bringing the total number of hydrocarbon freezers purchased by the company since 2010 to over 800,000 units, as reported in the second Unilever Sustainable Living Plan Progress Report.

GUIDE: HCs in over 1000 plug-in units, making inroads across North America: With leading consumer good brands like The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Danone, and Unilever committing to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), the number of hydrocarbon refrigerant light commercial units has risen to over 1000, according to shecco’s 2013 North American GUIDE.

Innovation highlight

First hybrid R290 heat pump and gas water heater system for Japan; 5,000 units to be sold in the first year: On 24 September, Noritz, a Japanese manufacturer of household water heaters with a head office in Kobe, released the first Japanese R290 hybrid water heating system designed to cover the hot water supply and space heating needs of Japanese households. The system combines heat pump (HP) technology using propane as a refrigerant, and a gas heater.

ATMOsphere global conferences

UNIDO introduces natural refrigerant projects in developing countries: The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is implementing projects with natural substances as HCFC replacements across the world - from China and the Gulf countries to the Gambia and Viet Nam. On 3-4 June 2013, UNIDO shared knowledge acquired with regards to the implementation of such projects with the 150 participants gathered in Vienna for the two-day “UNIDO ATMOsphere Technology Summit”. + VIDEO.

ATMOsphere America: exponential HC growth expected in 2-3 years: The industry in North America is working on a variety of solutions to deal with the 150g hydrocarbons (HCs) charge limit for plug-in refrigeration and to allow the efficiency gains of HC refrigerants to be realised in additional applications such as air conditioning. The North American industry predicts an exponential growth in HC products 2-3 years from now, although they say more action is needed to address public perception and insurance factors.

ATMOsphere Europe 2013: Buoyant market for hydrocarbons in light commercial refrigeration: Presentations by leading end users, such as Heineken and Red Bull at ATMOsphere Europe 2013 conference on natural refrigerants, are evidence of a growing trend towards hydrocarbon refrigeration in stand-alone units. With over 480,000 of its propane cabinets installed in European supermarkets, manufacturer AHT Cooling Systems has been receiving positive feedback from end users and is optimistic about the future.


By Silvia Scaldaferri

Dec 19, 2013, 12:12

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