EU F-Gas Regulation opening door to natrefs in Italian vending industry

By team, May 07, 2016, 15:48 3 minute reading

With many players in Italy’s food and beverage vending industry slow to get to grips with the implications of the EU’s HFC phase-down, companies like Blupura and SandenVendo – whose natural refrigerant-based solutions are market-ready – are well-placed to capitalise in the coming years as customers seek environmentally friendly vending solutions. reports from Venditalia, Italy’s largest vending trade show, in Milan on 4-7 May 2016.

Creating a natural refrigerant culture in Europe…

Italian water vending machine and water cooler manufacturer Blupura is putting natural refrigerants at the heart of its business model. “We’ve officially decided to use R290 [propane] in all our units. From June, all our units will be working on R290,” Debora Screpanti, the company’s marketing manager, told at the Blupura booth.

With F-Gas Regulation phase-out deadlines on the horizon, “we’re already adjusting in 2016. We’re creating the culture,” Screpanti said. “And people are appreciating it very much. We’re also seeing some of our competitors starting to be prepared for these new solutions,” she added.

Natural refrigerants like CO2, hydrocarbons and ammonia will have a key role to play in the context of the HFC phase-down taking place in Europe under the EU’s F-Gas Regulation, which since 2015 has been reducing the total amount of HFCs that can be sold in Europe. In 2020, a ban on using certain HFCs in new equipment comes into effect, accompanied by bans on servicing and maintaining existing equipment.

Blupura sees itself as a pioneer of R290 water cooler technology not just in Europe but also in the US. “We got official authorisation in January – so we’re now the only company in the US authorised to sell units with this kind of gas [R290],” Screpanti said.

Other companies are also planning to launch natural refrigerant-based vending technologies in Europe. Sanden plans to move to 100% CO2 technology in new beverage vending machines for the European market by 2022. “In Japan we’re already at 100% CO2,” said Shiho Tomihara, in charge of Marketing & Promotions at the Italian branch of SandenVendo, arguing that the F-Gas Regulation is creating similar opportunities in Europe. “We want to move first,” she said.

…to deliver F-Gas compliance

Tomihara cited tough pricing and efficiency requirements in public procurement contracts, particularly in Italy, among the current challenges to address in securing wider uptake of CO2 vending technology in Europe. But with SandenVendo working hard to improve efficiency and cost, she is confident that natural refrigerant-based vending technologies will play a major role in delivering the objectives of the EU F-Gas Regulation over the next few years.

Fas International Spa, based in Italy, plans to launch natural refrigerant-based drinks vending machines on the European market in 2017. “We’re currently in the process of deciding whether to focus on CO2 only, R290 only, or both,” said Product Manager Ivo Pancheri.

“The CO2 vending machine is ready now. We just need to decide whether the market is. We know that by 2020 HFCs will have to be phased out in Europe, and we’re focusing on developing R744 and R290 systems as alternatives,” Pancheri explained.

Another Italian company, IARP S.r.l. – part of the Epta Group – is considering introducing R290 vending machines in Europe. “We’ll conduct R&D to assess safety concerns and other factors, starting in September or October 2016,” said IARP’s structural designer, Gianluca Bruno.

For more natural refrigerant news from Venditalia, look out for the June 2016 edition of our Accelerate Europe magazine.

By team (@hydrocarbons21)

May 07, 2016, 15:48

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