Sustainable business models for natural refrigerants for developing countries

By Simon Burkel, Jun 07, 2013, 17:33 4 minute reading

At the UNIDO ATMOsphere Technology Summit, in Vienna, Austria, discussions and presentations revealed that CO2 solutions are increasingly being introduced to the food retail sector in Article 5 countries such as South America and South Africa. Successful business models and case studies for CO2 solutions were presented by Danfoss, Carrier, CAREL and CTA.

The two-day UNIDO ATMOsphere Technology Summit brought together speakers from Danfoss, Carrier, CAREL and CTA, amongst others, who shared their experiences and case studies regarding the introduction of CO2 solutions, with delegates from developing countries. According to these manufacturers and suppliers, CO2 solutions are increasingly being introduced to the food retail sectors of countries in South America and South Africa. 
CO2 solutions becoming increasingly available for developing countries
In his presentation, Torben Funder-Kristensen, Head of Public Industry Affairs at Danfoss, said that CO2 has become an increasingly important refrigerant in commercial refrigeration worldwide. Danfoss has installed 4,000 CO2 systems around the world, systems that have helped to cut energy consumption by up to 20%. Globally, CO2 technology and products are becoming increasingly available, including Danfoss’ controls for natural refrigerants.
According to Torben Funder-Kristensen, investment in CO2 solutions is growing around the world, and the technlology is spreading to developing countries. To illustrate this point Torben Funder-Kristensen spoke about the Brazilian supermarket Verdemar, which in 2010  became the first to install a supermarket refrigeration system using CO2 as the refrigerant. By adopting a CO2/R134a system, the supermarket’s operating costs have been reduced by 4% compared to state-of-art HFC solutions in Brazil. Subcritical CO2 systems are also beginning to be adopted in other countries in South America, South Africa and Asia. 
Sustainable launch strategy essential to introducing natural solutions to new markets
The presentation by Lothar Serwas from Carrier, looked at a series of commercial and industrial refrigeration natural refrigerant solutions and the launch strategies emplyed to introduce the systems to the European market . Carrier has already installed 586 CO2 transcritical systems, 347 subcritical HFC/CO2 systems, more than 60 ammonia systems and 17 propane systems with secondary refrigerants, across Europe. In terms of Carrier’s experience in introducing natural refrigerant products to market, Serwas emphasised that having a well-defined launch strategy was essential. Carrier’s experience indicates that in launch countries, it is essential to build local service and start-up capabilities to ensure the sustainability and independence of a natural refrigerant project. 
According to Serwas, Carrier has introduced a multiple level service training approach (Basic level, Qualified level, Expert level, Central Support, and R&D Team) in its natural refrigerant projects to provide support for local service and engineering teams. Carrier is willing to adopt the approach to develop more pilot projects with natural refrigerants in developing countries in the future.
Successful CO2 system business cases in South Africa and South America 
Michael Englebright, representing CAREL, introduced two CO2 refrigeration system applications in South Africa and South America. According to his presentation, successful business models for CO2 solutions already exist in South Africa and Brazil. In South Africa, the supermarket Pick n Pay introduced a subcritical cascade CO2 system (R134a MT/CO2 Dx LT) to its store in Johannesburg. Training was conducted onsite covering both practical and theoretical aspects of using CO2 as a refrigerant.
In Brazil, a CO2/ R404a cascade system was installed in a local supermarket. The system achieves total energy savings of 22,26%. Also in Brazil Bitzer has developed a state-of-the-art CO2 excellence centre with the help of CAREL Sistema CO2 solutions. The centre has trained 1,000 technicians on the use of carbon dioxide in commercial and industrial refrigeration. According to Michael Englebright, Bitzer Brazil now has 21 CO2 cascade installations and the first CO2 transcritical system in Latin America. 
CO2 is coming to the U.S. market despite the lack of government “push” 
Caleb Nelson from CTA Refrigeration Group indicated that in the U.S. market, CO2 cascade systems are becoming very common and that 100% CO2 systems are coming, despite a lack of government incentives. There are already many CO2/HFC cascade system installations in the US, and several CO2 transcrtical systems. This has happened, despite a lack of HFC legislation, taxation and production quotas. Nelson also discussed possible solutions for the introduction of CO2 transcitical systems in America, which could also be used for developing countries with hot climates. According to Nelson, in the US 100% CO2 systems are not yet planned for regions where the outside temperature is above 15°C. Moving further towards hotter climate zones requires significant integration with heating.


By Simon Burkel

Jun 07, 2013, 17:33

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