Danfoss – a worldwide manufacturer of high-efficiency electronic and mechanical components and controls for air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration, industrial, and water systems – conducted the online survey to gauge industry acceptance of CO2 refrigeration systems in North America, where CO2 has struggled compared to Europe.
Current estimates – from shecco’s market development in mid 2016 – put the total number of CO2 transcritical systems in North America at over 300 compared with Europe’s 8,732.
The Danfoss survey collected input from commercial and industrial refrigeration OEMs, consultants, contractors, and end users – revealing the market will move in a big way.
The commercial refrigeration industry sees CO2 as a viable mainstream technology for refrigeration, according to the study. 82% of OEMs and 91% of consultants and end users agree with the statement that CO2 is a viable mainstream technology for refrigeration. Half of the OEMs surveyed see CO2 refrigeration representing at least 16% of their business within the next five years.
This marks a major evolution from 2012; when Danfoss estimated less than 20% of OEMs saw CO2 comprising at least 16% of their business. Back then; they identified high initial system costs as a barrier.
According to the study, most commercial refrigeration consultants and end users are today engaged in some type of CO2 project. They cite legislation and regulations, like the U.S. SNAP program, and corporate sustainability goals as key drivers in why they are choosing CO2.
Peter Dee, sales and services director – food retail, Danfoss says, “the results of this survey validate the on-going growth we are seeing in CO2 projects across North America”.
Danfoss is attempting to move the market in this direction and “recently launched the CO2 Mobile Training Unit to address the critical need for training” in the North American market, Dee said.
Industrial refrigeration goes CO2?
The survey also identified the industrial refrigeration market as another potential market for CO2. 57% of responding OEMs and contractors and 43% of consultants and end users said they have already either been involved in an industrial CO2 refrigeration project or have plans to be.
Though they did not see CO2 becoming “a significant part of their business” in the near future.
OEMs and contractors see ammonia safety concerns, along with the move to reduce ammonia charges, as key drivers of the switch to CO2 in primary or just the secondary circuits of bigger refrigeration systems.
OSHA and the EPA in the US both have strong regulation on ammonia systems, with a charge greater than 1,000 lbs., which has already pushed a growing number of industrial refrigeration OEMS to manufacture low-charge ammonia packaged units.
These systems usually contain a secondary circuit using CO2 in a cascade or secondary circuit system.
Consultants and end users agreed in the Danfoss survey that CO2 is moving into this market. In contrast to the commercial refrigeration industry, industrial refrigeration respondents said the primary barrier to further CO2 use is the result of end user and contractor familiarity and training.