ATMOsphere America 2015 article series - natural refrigerants breathing new life into HVAC&R industry

By James Ranson, Jul 03, 2015, 10:25 3 minute reading

The state of the natural refrigerant industry and emerging trends were addressed at this year’s ATMOsphere America, organised in Atlanta from 25-26 June, covering everything attendees needed to know about natural refrigerant market trends, regulatory issues and technology innovations emerging in North America.

ATMOsphere America 2015 was the biggest and best event yet. Over 300 leading HVAC&R experts and 100-plus companies & organisations gathered to deliver more than 80 presentations. This article series will cover all the latest news across numerous panels from market opportunities, the state of the industry, food retail, food service, low charge ammonia, contractors, training, and case studies for commercial, industrial, heat pumps and new applications.

Oh, the possibilities! Natural refrigerants offer distinct advantages over HFCs

Food retailers, refrigeration system and component manufacturers and contractors highlight advantages of natural refrigerants, particularly R744, over traditional HFC systems in commercial refrigeration, including energy consumption reductions, total system integration and reduced environmental impact.

North American HVAC contractors reveal surge in demand for natural refrigerant-based systems

The role of contractors is becoming increasingly important to the growth of natural refrigerants in North America. Without a large host of well-trained contractors, limitations are placed on the amount and speed of adoption. At this year’s ATMOsphere America, clear trends were presented that will affect the shifting focus for contractors and how they will tackle it.

Coca-Cola, the world’s largest beverage company, has a long history of using carbon dioxide as the fizz in its soft drinks. Now CO2 is also Coke’s refrigerant of choice in its beverage coolers, vending machines and fountain equipment. At ATMOsphere America 2015 Coke presented on a light-commercial refrigeration panel on their journey to achieve HFC-free status for all new cooling equipment. On the same panel, four of Coke’s CO2 equipment suppliers described their progress with CO2 technology.

Training and educating HVAC professionals in light of regulatory changes
A common theme among all five speakers on the training panel – from Hillphoenix, BITZER, RSES, Stark State College and RETA – is the necessity to equip contractors with knowledge about the regulatory compliance changes looming, and the various natural refrigerant technologies available to replace HFCs.

Market trends show that a portfolio of solutions is becoming the norm for a growing industry
In the midst of policy changes at both a global and national level affecting f-gases, the HVAC&R industry is looking closely at which applications suit which natural refrigerants. The use of different solutions in all major application areas shows the high level of innovation in this area. Developments across a whole range of end uses were presented during two sessions of the first day of ATMOsphere America 2015, indicative of a growing confidence across the board in natural refrigerant technology. Alongside the views presented by the system and component suppliers, several end-users confirmed plans to push their roll-outs of natural refrigerants-based equipment.

Californian measures to reduce HFCs look to exceed those of the EU
The policy and regulation session held on the 2nd day provided the opportunity for attendees to get a grasp of the change that is going to rip through the country. For some, this was seen as a potential challenge but for other stakeholders, such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB), it was seen as not enough with their own State-level policy looking to go beyond HFCs completely: an EU-like phasedown is expected to be announced in the next year, potentially exceeding developments in the EU and Japan.


By James Ranson

Jul 03, 2015, 10:25

Related stories