hydrocarbons21.com partners expect leaps and bounds for naturals in 2015

By James Ranson, Feb 13, 2015, 12:19 5 minute reading

2014 has proven to be an important year for natural refrigerants, according to industry leading hydrocarbon technology providers Dorin, Tecumseh, Secop, HyChill, EUROKLIMAT, Blupura and Priority Cool. hydrocarbons21.com asked its Partners to offer some insight into the past year and their expectations for what 2015 has in store for climate friendly solutions in HVAC&R.

Hydrocarbons met with open arms in 2014

Several Partners found 2014 to be a watershed year for hydrocarbons, particularly in refrigeration and air conditioning, after several years of steady progress, as market players have increased their understanding of the refrigerants’ technical benefits and overcome fears over purported safety issues.

“2014 has been a very successful year during which compressors for environmentally friendly technologies such as CO2, R290 and R717 have sky-rocketed their selling figures; many of our OEMs have basically doubled their production figures, and a lot of new ones approached these technologies for the first time, thus prospecting excellent figures for 2015 as well. Remarkably, Italy and other southern European countries, seem now to be ready for these technologies as well,” said Giacomo Pisano, Technical Commercial Manager at Dorin.

Stéphane Charbonnier, Marketing Director at Tecumseh Products Company, also noted customers’ increased interest in environmentally friendly and energy efficient hydrocarbon refrigerants.

“Our customers were very exited to be able to move forward with the R290 refrigerant. Tecumseh introduced the AJ² optimised for R290 (after the AE² also optimised for hydrocarbons received a warm welcome from the refrigeration industry) and the number of sample requests received after Chillventa demonstrated the high interest for the refrigeration industry to comply as soon as possible to the F-Gas directives voted in 2014,” Charbonnier explained.

Francesco Cattaneo, Sales Director at EUROKLIMAT explained that for his company 2014, and especially the Chillventa trade fair in Nuremburg, Germany, served as a signpost that the company’s strategic choice to promote market-wide adoption of R290 is being vindicated.

Focus on alternative refrigerants, technology innovation and climate change to drive market in 2015

With the newly revised F-Gas Regulation coming into force and increased pressure for the HVAC&R industry to reduce its environmental impact, 2015 is expected to increase adoption of natural refrigerants as alternatives to synthetics.

“The continued effects of climate change in addition to the newly revised F-Gas Regulation are sure to push the HVAC&R industry to make changes to become more environmentally friendly. However, significant changes such as this require all stakeholders in the cold chain to work together,” suggested Stéphane Charbonnier, Marketing Director, Tecumseh Products Company.

“The growing trend for OEMs in the United States to turn towards R600a in household appliances will be a huge driving force,” said Jan Biesel, Market Communication Manager at Secop GmbH, “this is exciting for us as it follows the trend in the light commercial market, where many OEMs are using R290. We believe our new high efficiency R600a XV range will set a new standard for household compressors. The innovative rotor technology is based on a completely new system approach and technology, resulting in a much smaller height (100mm) for easier assembly and handling. Its new propane system offers another direct benefits to end users, who are responding positively to its simpler construction set-up and improved efficiency.”

Mario Balen, General Manager at HyChill Australia Pty. Ltd., believes natural refrigerants will to continue to shine as alternatives to controversial synthetics.

“I expect 2015 to be marked by further expansion of natural and in particular hydrocarbon refrigerants across various HVAC&R sectors, and by continued debate over the next generation of synthetic refrigerants, such as HFO1234yf or R32,” commente Balen.

“On the one hand, the market is becoming increasingly aware of great benefits of using natural refrigerants and of their wide application range. Educational and training institutions and organisations, together with the variety of governmental agencies and industry bodies, are understanding the need and are developing a range of training modules which will facilitate safe and technically sound design and maintenance of natural refrigerant systems. The other side of the coin is related to the highly controversial introduction of the new generation of synthetic refrigerants, with issues of increased flammability and associated toxicity being exposed and hotly debated,” said Balen.

EUROKLIMAT’s Export Manager, Andrea Mastrosimone noted that safety issues related to hydrocarbons are easily controllable:

“2015 is another step forward under the F-Gas Regulation calling for reducing high GWP refrigerants. The recent discussion about R290 in the market is making it easier for decision makers to understand that R290 is an excellent refrigerant, and that its weakness, flammability, is actually very easily controlled,” said Mastrosimone.

Matteo Gaggianese, Technical Manager at EUROKLIMAT explained that after working hard to resolve issues of overheating on the suction side in R290 chillers, the company has found a line of heat exchangers that has satisfied rigorous testing to ensure pressure drops on the suction side are kept to a minimum in order to assure reliability.

James Galante, Sales Advisor at Greenway Solutions, Inc. (PriorityCool) states that there is no one reason or cause driving the natural refrigerant market.

“We feel there are several factors involved.” Galante said. “An increasing number of countries joining the ban on traditional harmful refrigerants by the year 2020 because of climate change; the growing demand for clean power generation is increasing, making natural refrigerants a clear choice because they are so energy efficient; because natural refrigerants allow for smaller components, reducing manufacturing and shipping costs, an increasing number of equipment manufacturers are leaning toward natural refrigerants to stay competitive in their markets.”

Debora Scepanti, Sales and Marketing at Blupura, stated the biggest challenge facing the market is the substitution of synthetic gases with natural refrigerant gases in the cooling industry, not just for industrial products, but also for office and domestic models. She said, “This is exactly what Blupura is trying to resolve with the launch of BLUSODA, the smallest water cooler in the Blupura range. What really distinguishes this cooler from others is its cooling technology, DRY COOLING, a series of stainless steel coils (where water flows) and copper coils (with natural refrigerant gases) enclosed in an aluminium block. This system allows us to significantly reduce dimensions and thus produce a smaller cooler to be installed in offices and homes.”


By James Ranson

Feb 13, 2015, 12:19

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