The HVAC&R sector in Latin America (LATAM) is a target market for German OEM and CO2 (R744) specialist TEKO Refrigeration, according to Managing Director Andreas Meier.
Having installed more than 7,500 CO2 systems globally since 2006, TEKO wants to bring its experience to the LATAM market, which Meier says is primed for natural refrigerants.
“There are a lot of natural refrigerants in South America but mostly in large industrial applications with ammonia [R717],” he explained. “There is [also] a lot of knowledge in the market and amongst engineers in the field, much more than in Europe or in the U.S. in my opinion, and the adoption of natural refrigerants in South America is picking up very fast,” he added.
In 2019, to meet this growing demand, TEKO began working with Colombian manufacturer Weston. In 2022, the two companies announced a joint venture called TEKO Américas, which offers CO2 refrigeration systems for retail chains across the continent from its production site in Bogotá, Colombia.
“There is a lot of knowledge in the market and amongst engineers in the field, much more than in Europe or in the U.S. in my opinion, and the adoption of natural refrigerants in South America is picking up very fast.”Andreas Meier, TEKO Refrigeration
Meier delivered these remarks during his presentation in the LATAM Market and Technology Trends session at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) LATAM Summit 2023. The conference took place November 8–9 in Mexico City and was organized by ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com.
“Latin America is a big market and we want to grow here,” he said.
To date, TEKO has installed fewer than 100 CO2 systems across the region, with the majority in Colombia, Chile and Peru. Mexico also has some CO2 systems in operation, but these are subcritical, he added.
According to Meier, the effectiveness of CO2 technologies has been proven, with high energy efficiency, even in hotter climates. The high altitudes and climates seen in some LATAM countries, like Chile and Colombia, create the “perfect climate” for CO2, he added.
Through these efficiencies, end users can benefit from energy savings, a reduced carbon footprint and a more favorable return on investment from reduce energy and maintenance costs, helping end users meet their sustainability and corporate goals, he explained.
However, there are some challenges that need to be addressed to encourage the adoption of CO2 and other natural refrigerants in the LATAM market, including an absence of government incentives, the low cost and abundance of f-gases and relatively low electricity costs.
TEKO offers a wide range of CO2 products from small 1kW (0.28TR) units to 1MW (284TR) systems. In under seven years, the manufacturer has completely converted its production line from predominantly systems using f-gas to 99% CO2-based units.
“[F-gases are] going to zero because the demand in the European market is focused on CO2,” he explained.