Agustín Maranca, a mechanical engineer at the National Technological University of Argentina explained how Argentina is moving towards refrigeration solutions based on natural refrigerant CO2 within the country’s current economical and political context during ATMOsphere Ibérica, which took place on 24 October in Madrid, Spain. 

National Cabinet for Climate Change

In the international context, Argentina has ratified the Montreal Protocol and its amendments, as well as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement.

The National Cabinet for Climate Change was created in 2016 to help develop environment policy and to create the National Adjustment Plan, scheduled for launch in 2019.

Argentina is in Group 1 of the Article 5 countries signed up to the Kigali Amendment, and is therefore required to begin phasing down HFCs in 2029. 

Economic perspective: increase of HFC prices and energy bills

The most commonly used refrigerants in Argentina are R404A and R22. “These refrigerants have increased in price, currently reaching five times the price of CO2 refrigerant,” said Maranca, who has over 30 years of experience in the HVAC&R sector and is refrigeration chair in ASHRAE’s Argentina chapter.

Until 2015, up to 85% of total energy costs were subsidised by the government, while companies were responsible for the remaining 15%.

“This was a clear barrier to implement more efficient solutions,” said Maranca.

Last year, subsidies were reduced from 85% to 30%. This year they will drop to 10% and to 0% in 2019. 

“This has served as a wake-up call for companies that are now starting looking for solutions to decrease costs and become more energy-efficient,” he said.

Maranca is CEO of Estudio Maranca, an engineering consultancy that develops projects in air conditioning and refrigeration for the country’s main supermarket chains, including Carrefour, Walmart, Cencosud-Jumbo Retail and Makro Argentina.

CO2 installations in Argentina

Argentina has a variety of climate conditions. While there is only one CO2 subcritical installation in the country, at a Walmart Caseros store, CO2 transcritical systems are becoming more popular. Today there are six transcritical CO2 systems running and a few more projects in the pipeline, including the first system in a warm climate zone.

The six CO2 transcritical systems are the following: 

  • SAIEP Caleta Olivia
  • WalMart Constituyente
  • SAIEP Lago Puelo
  • Carrefour Maxi Ezpeleta
  • SAIEP Cinco Saltos
  • SAIEP Cutral Co

Upcoming new stores include:

  • SAIEP Lincoln
  • Vital Pilar wholesale
  • Alvear Santa Fe Supermarkets

Two more transcritical projects are in the first phase of development and will be opened in 2018:

  • Carrefour Maxi Tortuguitas
  • Carrefour Buenos Aires

The first ammonia-CO2 brine system in Argentina was installed by Mayekawa at a Carrefour distribution centre in Isidro Casanova.

“We need education in schools and mass communication campaigns, and to create plans to incentivise companies to implement this type of technology, such as tax benefits, to favour energy-efficient solutions,” remarked Maranca, pointing to the need to raise awareness of natural refrigerant technologies in the country.

Offering training for installers and maintenance technicians could help the rollout of CO2 technologies in Argentina, he added.

“In Argentina there is no training available. The closest training centre is in Brazil, by Bitzer,” Maranca lamented.

To learn more about the topic, watch Mr. Maranca’s video presentation:

Author Pilar Aleu

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