New technology innovations are improving the efficiency of transcritical CO2-based HVAC&R systems in Australia’s warmer climates, heard participants at the ATMOsphere Australia conference in Luna Park, Sydney yesterday (7 May).

“Our partnerships with end users are key to delivering new technology,” said Brett Hedge of Heatcraft, citing the firm’s 60+ CO2 transcritical installations across Europe, North America and Australia.

By adding parallel compression with an optional ejector, Heatcraft’s racks are “warm climate-ready,” Hedge said.

He argued that adopting natural refrigerants reduces an HVAC&R system’s environmental impact and energy consumption, helps achieve sustainability targets, and eases compliance with climate-change legislation such as the HFC phasedown.

Heatcraft has invested in training facilities in Victoria (CO2) and Milperra, NSW (hydrocarbons).

Worldwide, its fully functional CO2 transcritical test labs have allowed it to refine its systems for all climate conditions.

Even if you don’t immediately convince the customer to opt for CO 2 transcritical, it is important to reach out and “plant the seed,” Hedge argued. “We model, quote, meet, discuss, revisit and requote,” he said.

“The momentum is building, and so is the case for CO2 technologies,” said Hedge.

“Our partnerships with end users are key to delivering new technology.

Brett Hedge, Heatcraft

‘Taking away the fear’

In the Australian and New Zealand markets, “investment in training is a must,” he said. “Contractor application training is critical,” he said, but “training end users on selling the benefits of using the technology is just as critical”.

Inderpal Saund from Beijer Ref Australia – which distributes Italian manufacturer SCM Frigo’s CUBO2 Smart CO2 transcritical condensing unit in Australia – presented field data from a variety of climate conditions in Europe. Used in conjunction with an adiabatic mesh, the unit is capable of operating effectively in ambient temperatures of 35°C.

“With CUBO2 Smart we’ve made CO2 transcritical easy. We’ve reduced the refrigerant charge and the unit is easy to install,” Saund said.

“We’re taking away the fear of CO2 transcritical,” he declared.

Jonathon Hare from the Natural Refrigerants Company – which represents Advansor in Australia – presented the business case for CO2 transcritical cold storage in Australia.

Amid the HFC phasedown, how will contractors negotiate the various alternative options? “There are opportunities for CO2 transcritical here. It is a proven technology worldwide and in Australia too, with thousands of installations worldwide – most of which are in supermarkets. Yet CO2 transcritical is becoming increasingly competitive with ammonia too,” Hare said.

“There is no silver bullet refrigerant. Every specific project and end user needs to be weighed up on its own merits,” he said.

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