Brussels, 20 January 2014: In a GreenChill webinar organised by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shecco’s Head of Market Research Nina Masson discussed the latest market, policy and technology trends worldwide, for natural refrigerants in the food retail industry. The webinar, titled ”Climate Friendly Refrigerant Markets and Technology Options”, took place on 10 December 2013, and revealed a growing trend towards natural refrigerant use in Europe and North America, as a well as emerging markets in Brazil and South Africa, particularly for CO2 refrigeration.
The aim of the one-hour long webinar was to provide a perspective on developments outside the USA and Canada. Ms Masson focused on the most recent European trends, complied in shecco’s free “GUIDE 2014: Natural Refrigerants – Continued Growth & Innovation in Europe”, but also referred to data obtained by shecco through its global network of contacts.
Natural refrigerants increasingly used across the world
According to the majority of respondents to a survey conducted by shecco on natural refrigerants in North America, the global hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) phase-out and the need to replace remaining HCFC installations will be an influential driver for the North American HVAC&R industry to shift to more future-proof refrigerant solutions over the coming years. The results of this survey, together with maps calculating the number of CO2 refrigerated supermarket in Canada and the US were published in shecco’s “GUIDE 2013: Natural Refrigerants – Market Growth for North America”.
Masson estimates that there are over 100 supermarkets in the US, and over 80 in Canada cooled by secondary, cascade and transcritical refrigeration systems using the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide. In Europe, Masson says that compared to 2011, the number of CO2 transcritical supermarkets has more than doubled, reaching a total number of 2,888 stores by the end of 2013.
When it comes to CO2-HFC cascade and secondary systems, the top ten countries in terms of number of installations are Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, Norway, France, USA, Brazil and New Zealand.
Latest technology developments will extend natural refrigerant use to more applications
Finding cost-effective solutions for hot climates used to be a key barrier to extending the market for CO2refrigerant in the food retail sector worldwide. However, Masson said that the so-called “efficiency equator” has continued to shift downwards to Northern Spain and Italy in the last few years. Many European systems suppliers have already made decisive steps to remove the “efficiency equator” today, using new new components and system designs, such as expanders and ejectors and combining heating and refrigeration in one system layout.
US progress towards phasing down HFCs and updating natural refrigerant regulations
In the discussion panel, Masson responded to a question from the audience on the availability of financial incentives for the use of natural refrigerants in the USA. While no direct support schemes are currently available, the US has taken the lead on initiatives to phase down HFCs in the coming years through bilateral agreements and at the international level. This would put HFC use under scrutiny – a trend that can also be seen in Europe, Japan and Australia. These countries / regions have either introduced HFC tax schemes, strengthened the existing regulations or directly made the use of HFC-free solutions more financially attractive.
A representative from the EPA confirmed that in the USA there is no certification programme designed specifically for working on CO2 systems. However, the EPA is currently considering measures to facilitate the use of CO2 as a refrigerant.
For more than a decade marketing & communications expert shecco has been active in helping bring climate friendly technologies faster to market. shecco supports over 100+ partners worldwide in two areas: the HVAC&R sector, where the focus is on sustainable refrigeration, heating & cooling technologies using natural refrigerants; and the transport sectors where an emphasis is put on electric vehicles (cars, heavy duty vehicle, scooters, bikes). shecco offers a variety of services, ranging from world-leading online industry platforms, to market research & consultancy services, events management, funding & grants support, and public affairs.
Head of Market Research
Janaina Topley Lira