Eurammon, a joint initiative of companies, institutions and individuals who advocate the increased use of natural refrigerants, held a Symposium on the use of natural refrigerants in the food and retail industry in Schaffhausen, Switzerland on 23-24 June.

“The use of natural refrigerants is gaining importance in this industry in particular – especially considering international regulations such as the F-Gas Regulation,” said Mark Bulmer, a Eurammon board member and Global Market Segment Manager in the Food & Beverages Division of Georg Fischer Piping Systems.

Ten international lecturers were in Schaffhausen to showcase current trends and regulations governing food and retail refrigeration technologies and to present examples of future-oriented applications.

“The increasing awareness for sustainability among operators and consumers makes natural refrigerants more popular than ever before,” Bulmer argued.

CO2 corners the grocery market 

Symposium participants heard how the popularity of CO2 has risen significantly, especially as users share more know-how regarding how to harness this refrigerant.

Anders Juul of Danfoss and Ákos Murin of QPlan, an engineering company, both suggested that the efficiency of R744 systems is improving thanks to innovations in compressor and other component technologies. Knowledge of how to use these technologies is being shared more widely too, helping to increase uptake, they said. 

Juul, Danfoss’ Segment Strategy Manager for CO2, declared that it is now normal practice to build with CO2, arguing that CO2 refrigeration technologies now work effectively in all ambient temperatures.

As of January 2016, Danfoss had installed 7,000 CO2 booster systems typically designed for colder climates. Yet the Danish manufacturer also boasts around 1,000 CO2 systems in operation using parallel compression, targeting warmer climates.

Ammonia technology continues to develop

“Operators who use ammonia once tend to stick with it,” said Stefan Jensen of Scantec Refrigeration, Australia.

Indeed, ammonia has been used in industrial refrigeration for some time, and uptake is increasing as it finds new applications, Jensen argued.

Modern, cost-saving innovations like low-charge systems are helping to ensure that ammonia refrigeration continues to develop as a technology, Jensen said.

Güntner’s Miguel Garrido, meanwhile, highlighted the potential to use ammonia in very high ambient temperature conditions.

Garrido described a recent Güntner installation at a refrigerated warehouse in the hot desert city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, carried out in conjunction with Johnson Controls. The low-charge ammonia system is designed to minimise costs while maintaining high-tech security standards to monitor the risk of leakages.

The presentations from the symposium can be found here.

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