Bitzer and Beijer Ref (through its SCM Frigo subsidairy) have already transferred their global know-how to the Australian and New Zealand market with CO2 transcritical installations. Now, Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration, through its Australian division, is entering the race.
ARBS 2016, the only international trade exhibition in Australia for the air conditioning, refrigeration and building services industry, welcomed 323 exhibitors from around the globe to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 17-19 May.
Heatcraft displayed its luminous Kirby eCOBoost CO2 transcritical rack – with a 100kW maximum low temperature (LT) capacity and a 300kW mid temperature capacity – for the first time at ARBS 2016, as well as its eCompact CO2 condensing unit (3-10kW LT).
“We have a number of interested customers and customers that have been asking us for a [transcritical] solution a number of times,”Brett Hedge, Commercial Manager
Major food retailers Coles and Woolworths have over 1,530 stores combined nationwide, and yet have just one transcritical installation between them. Hedge said it was just “a matter where and when” the first Heatcraft rack would be installed in Australia.
Robert DelVentura and Brett Hedge with the Heatcraft CO2 transcritical rack
Heatcraft has modified the system for Australian conditions after 11 retail transcritical installations in Europe and the US but is looking well beyond the commercial sector with its transcritical and CO2/ammonia cascade systems.
“We’ve used the global platform so that we actually have a system that is market ready,” he said. “We have a broader reach in the market than our competitors. We’re hoping to take CO2 technology well beyond supermarkets and cold storage into smaller format convenience store solutions and food service, where customers are needing to find alternatives to R404a and R134a,” Hedge said.
“I also see the [CO2/NH3] solution fitting in, based on our findings from our Piggly Wiggly project [which is EPA GreenChill Platinum-certified] in the US.” That store includes just 26.7kg of ammonia which is all confined to the roof, avoiding safety concerns on the retail floor. “Australia is very conscious of power, and ammonia lends to that thinking. A safe low-charge ammonia solution could be adopted in Australia in a number of different installations.”
“We really see that as a good entry into the cold storage market. We can do a cold storage facility with 20-30kg of ammonia, which puts it well below any regulatory threshold,” said Vice-President Global Innovations at Heatcraft Robert DelVentura.
Competition heating up
Bitzer had their CO2 2-cylinder compressor on display with Shannon Egan, National Sales Manager Australia, identifying a push from global manufacturers entering the market. “The suppliers and manufacturers entering the market from overseas is a threat, but we’re prepared with what we do locally with the technical support we provide,” he said.
“We have an R&D centre in Australia, we do work in Sydney with our compressor systems and in Melbourne with our heat exchangers, so that gives us an advantage locally over imported products.”
The Beijer Ref booth displayed primary manufacturer SCM Frigo’s Emerald CO2 transcritcal line, with a 20-300kW capacity, parallel compression and heat recovery – a system already installed in a Countdown supermarket in Wellington and two further with Pakn’Save in New Zealand.
“They’re ready [in Australia]. It’s the right time now – the 200 people at ATMOsphere Australia demonstrated that,” said SCM Frigo Technical Director Mirko Bernabei. “They need support and help with training. It’s important for us also to install a first transcritical rack in Australia….we don’t care who with!” he joked.
SCM Frigo Emerald CO2 transcritical rack
Array of CO2 solutions
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ displayed its proven air-to-water CO2 heat pump the Q-Ton, which has so far sold over five million units in Japan alone, suggesting that the first installation in Australia – likely to be in Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne – will only be a matter of time.
The Q-Ton includes the world’s first 2-stage patented CO2 inverter compressor and boasts an “industry-high” COP of 4.3. The Q-Ton has a diverse range of possible applications, from universities, hospitals, city hotels, spas and gyms to care homes, across a 30kW to 480kW range.
With offices in the US, UK, Asia, Canada and Melbourne, Henry Technologies was all about natural refrigerants at its booth, specifically CO2. Julian Parker, director of engineering, showcased the company’s liquid CO2 charging kit, which considerably reduces the charging time from four hours to 20 minutes, as well as oil separators and high-pressure ball valves specifically designed for CO2 transcritical systems. The company supplies components to all the major CO2 rack and system manufacturers and suppliers in Australia.
Henry Tech’s all-CO2 booth
Meanwhile, New Zealand showcase manufacturer Skope has supplied its CO2 bottle coolers (not on display at ARBS) to the Coca-Cola Company domestically and stands ready to supply more should the demand arise.