What is the future of ACs and chillers?

The use of solar power, thermal storage, and natural refrigerants like CO2 were among the biggest trends discussed at the Future:Air seminar in Sydney.

Sydney Harbor

The biggest trends impacting the future of chillers and large air-conditioning equipment – including the use of solar power, thermal storage, and natural refrigerants like CO2 – were discussed at the Future:Air Roadshow seminar, held in Sydney on May 22.

The Future:Air Roadshow is a series of seminars held throughout Australia for the chiller and commercial air-conditioning sector.

It is organized by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturing Association (AREMA), Air Conditioning Mechanical Contractors Association (AMCA) and Air Conditioning, Refrigeration Building Services Exhibition (ARBS).

Stephen R. Yurek, CEO and President of the AHRI (Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute) presented information on the latest technology trends in the U.S. for cooling and refrigeration technology.

"There is a huge push to make our equipment more efficient and design is driving this change," Yurek said. In addition, "Water technology trends are growing and there is a shift in focus in training from mechanical to IT," he added.

In commercial air conditioning, Yurek spoke about the advent of "solar-powered commecial AC units using mirrored lenses that follow the sun's path," as well as "ice-powered commercial AC units using thermal storage technology in low-cost times of day."

In commercial refrigeration technology, Yurek spoke about the use of "rapid cooling technologies" used to eliminate bacteria growth as well as "app-based monitoring technologies" to help rapidly identify refrigerant leaks.

IGA Market Central at Wentworth Point in western Sydney where a transcritical CO2 system was installed in 2017.

 Andrea Voigt, Director General of the EPEE (European Partnership for Energy and the Environment), presented information on the current refrigerant trends in Europe.

"The energy transition is a big topic in Europe," said Voigt. "We need a system approach rather than a product approach," she added regarding refrigeration and air conditioning system design.

While the move towards R32 and HFOs were identified as the current trend in new air conditioning equipment, including small splits and water chillers, natural refrigerants were identified as the dominant trend in new supermarket equipment.

CO2 is being used in large equipment and hydrocarbons in small plug-in equipment. In medium-size equipment, there are "encouraging signals for CO2, A2Ls and hydrocarbons," the presentation stated.

The Future:Air seminar series is continuing today in Melbourne on the 23rd and the 24th. Find out more about the event here.

By Devin Yoshimoto

May 23, 2019, 05:24




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