Italy-based Epta Group, a pioneering manufacturer of refrigeration technologies based on the natural refrigerant CO2, predicts strong market growth in emerging economies with warmer climates as the gap between delivering environmental sustainability and cost narrows.
With CO2 systems already widespread in the European retail sector, Epta sees the strongest future growth coming in new regions. “In Europe, demand for CO2 and natural refrigerant systems is already much consolidated: CO2 is considered the baseline and the choice of all major retail chains,” Francesco Mastrapasqua, the group’s sales and marketing manager for refrigeration systems, told R744.com.
“We consider the gap between eco-sustainability and cost to be finally closed, as CO2 systems are becoming more affordable even in emerging market economies with hot climates,” Mastrapasqua said.
Epta sees small-scale systems as a future European growth area as CO2 continues to make inroads into convenience stores too. At Chillventa 2016, it was exhibiting the new ECO2 small-scale transcritical CO2 booster package. “The system allows full heat reclaim, thus exploiting the advantages of CO2. It represents a big step ahead in the transition towards Nearly Zero Energy Buildings,” Mastrapasqua said.
With the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol setting a timeline for the phase-down of certain f-gases, natural refrigerants are well placed to gain ground at global level as well. According to Mastrapasqua, the Epta Group is on the right track with its commitment to design innovative technologies that focus on energy efficiency and use natural refrigerants.
“We consider the gap between eco-sustainability and cost to be finally closed.“Francesco Mastrapasqua, Epta Group
Customer demand in the HVAC&R sector is increasingly driven by the push to deliver energy savings fast. “CO2 can ensure significant benefits, in particular where HVAC&R are integrated,” Mastrapasqua said.
Describing the ECO2 as “ideal for convenience stores and hard discounters,” Mastrapasqua said, “this all-in-one, complete system has an integrated electrical board, liquid receiver and seasonal optimised circuit”.
The Epta Group has already achieved impressive results with its CO2-based technologies. In a Coop store in the British town of Horwich, a combined refrigeration and heating system has been in use for a year and has already exceeded expectations. The integrated CO2 system – which reduced the store’s energy usage by 21% compared to a traditional HFC system – has already been replicated elsewhere.