During her opening address, shecco Deputy Managing Director Nina Masson highlighted the considerable impact that Japan’s work with natural refrigerants has had – and will continue to have – on the rest of the world. “What we are seeing is companies bringing CO2 stores to Indonesia, for example, or bringing EcoCute CO2 heat pumps to Europe – not to mention joining forces on next-generation technology in Canada and entering into joint ventures with North American companies. The Japanese supply chain has increased its activity overseas,” Masson said.
Japanese natural refrigerant technology has matured in certain sectors where gaps remain in other world markets. Manufacturers and end users were especially interested to hear of impressive progress made in adopting CO2 for small store formats (CVS) in Japan and how such technology could be applied in Europe or Australia.
Leading end users assisting SEA countries
With an ambition to become the world’s largest end user of natural refrigerants, Japanese retailer Lawson – which has over 10,000 stores in Japan (1,300 of which use natural refrigerants – has helped PT Midi Utama Indonesia, via its Alfamidi chain, to fit 13 stores with natural refrigerant solutions. Lawson intends to install natural refrigerant systems in 12 Alfamidi stores in 2016.
“Domestically we’re seeing that CO2 solutions and the EcoCute continue to conquer the food retail market, especially convenience stores. Technology 3.0 in Japan includes the most developed systems for smaller-scale refrigeration, and this is something that other countries can definitely learn from,” Masson said.
The Delhaize Group, which also operates 130 stores in Indonesia, was represented at ATMO Asia 2016 as it too investigates trialling natural refrigerant solutions in Southeast Asia. “Our aim is to lead the way, help transform the marketplace, and show others what is possible,” said the Belgian-based retailer’s Georgios Patkos.
Aside from Indonesian retailer Alfamidi, the event also welcomed a number of other new end user faces: COOP Mirai, Marukyu, Patine Leisure (Japan) and PT Adib Global Food Supplies (Indonesia).
Panasonic to launch CO2 30HP system for bigger stores
Platinum sponsor Panasonic announced its plans to develop a 30HP CO2 condensing unit with the hope of targeting larger CVS and supermarket formats.
Although the systems are expected to increase competition for CO2 technology, the restrictions imposed by Japan’s High Pressure Gas Safety Act are still mitigating the uptake of higher capacity CO2 booster systems, which are now used in more than 5,500 stores in Europe.
Sneak peek at the GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants in Japan 2016
Nina Masson gave a brief preview of what to expect in the GUIDE Japan 2016, including for market uptake of natural refrigerants in beverage vending machines and other sectors. The research by shecco shows that there are over 1.35 million vending machines in Japan using either hydrocarbons or CO2, an increase from 0.1% to 52% in just 10 years.
“We are talking about the highest rate of beverage vending machines per capita. So we know that the use of natural refrigerants in this application will also have a great impact on overall natural refrigerant use in Japan,” Masson said.
Although industry believes the use of natural refrigerants will increase rapidly by 2020, aside from vending machines and CO2 transcritical, where the nation has over 1,500 installations, Japan has not yet made the same progress in other light commercial applications – such as small hydrocarbon plug-in units widely adopted in other global regions.
Low-charge ammonia and cascade systems for commercial
While much of the focus was on CO2 solutions for the commercial sector, a number of end users shared their experience with using low-charge ammonia and ammonia/CO2 technology Patine Leisure, Yokohama Reito and Chemical Grouting. In 2016, development of a smaller ammonia package solution is planned to target smaller-scale industrial refrigeration or commercial refrigeration applications.
For the past 15 years market accelerator shecco has been active in helping bring climate friendly technologies faster to market. shecco supports over 150+ partners worldwide in the HVAC&R sector, where the focus is on sustainable refrigeration, heating & cooling technologies using natural refrigerants. shecco offers a variety of services in three areas: 1) media, including online industry platforms, magazines and a catalogue of dedicated research reports; 2) market development, including market research, consultancy and public affairs services, as well as special international projects; and 3) events, including international conferences and national workshops.
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