More customers are asking for CO2 (R744) compressors, particularly for larger-capacity applications and heat pumps, as HFOs are generally not considered a viable long-term solution, said Giovanni Dorin, Chief Marketing & Business Development Officer at Italian compressor manufacturer Dorin, in an interview at last week’s Chillventa trade show in Nuremberg, Germany.

According to Dorin, the CO2 heat pump market is expected to experience the greatest growth – particularly in Europe. “I see more and more customers asking us about heat pumps,” he confirmed, adding that this will be a great area of focus for Dorin.

“Many customers are speaking about CO2 now – even ones who have not used it before,” he said.

End users are also investigating high-efficiency heat pumps with hydrocarbon compressors, as Europe focuses on transitioning away from fossil fuels to electric heat pumps for space and water heating, driven by climate change and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Larger compressors for industrial applications

Dorin’s CO2 compressors are getting bigger. It has introduced a large-size compressor for industrial and light-industrial applications, but customers are requesting even bigger capacities. These would potentially compete with ammonia/NH3 (R717) installations on industrial projects where an alternative is needed, said Dorin.

Having large compressors rather than multiple smaller ones will save space in the machine room and rack, while also allowing customers to reduce onsite stock, Dorin explained.

Currently, Dorin’s large, 12-piston industrial compressor is only available as an HFC/HFO model, but a CO2 prototype is already under development for this size. The unit is still in the early stages of development, and it is expected to be available at the earliest by the end of 2023.

“Customers who are not confident with CO2 yet use HFO as a transition, but, in the end, they will have to come to natural refrigerants either way,” said Dorin. “I think HFO is just a bridge solution. Sooner or later, they will cut them out as well. They [HFOs] don’t have the GWP issue, but they have many other issues. They will not have a long life.”

“I think HFO is just a bridge solution. Sooner or later, they will cut them out as well.”

–Giovanni Dorin, Dorin

Redesigned for efficiency

Dorin was also focused on energy efficiency at Chillventa. “It’s a tough market,” said Dorin. “We are looking for more efficiency because the market needs to save energy, save money and save space.”

That is why Dorin’s CD400 and CD4 lines, which were on display, have been redesigned to enhance their efficiency with the inclusion of Line Start Permanent Magnet (LSPM) motors. The manufacturer describes this as “reciprocating compressors brought to the next level” according to a marketing post on LinkedIn.

Dorin reported a very busy Chillventa this year with increased acceptance of natural refrigerants. Dorin attributed this to a shift in the European market, driven by the proposed revision of the EU F-gas Regulation.

According to Dorin, many customers are waiting for the regulation to change first before making the switch to CO2. “The regulations are very important for increasing interest in natural refrigerants and initiating the process of switching over.” To accommodate the shift in regulation, Dorin revisited its compressors, introducing smaller-capacity ones for the transport and railway sector – the BOXÉR range. As this sector is particularly impacted by the EU F-gas Regulation and subsequent sectoral bans, there is a growing interest in CO2 as an alternative, Dorin said. A new compressor, the CD0, which is the smallest one in this line, was also on display at Chillventa. This is one specifically for the locomotive of the train and is the most compact CO2 compressor that Dorin manufactures.

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