U.S.-based manufacturer Evapco today announced its acquisition of Canadian-based manufacturer Systèmes LMP (known generally as LMP) to form subsidiary Evapco Systems LMP, combining Evapco’s expertise in ammonia/NH3 (R717) refrigeration with LMP’s in transcritical CO2 (R744) refrigeration in the North American marketplace.
Evapco Systems LMP (Evapco LMP for short) will operate at the headquarters of the former LMP in Laval, Quebec, and be led by Jeff Gingras, President of Evapco LMP. Gingras will report to Pat Strine, Senior Vice President of Taneytown, Maryland-based Evapco. All former LMP employees have transitioned to become employees of Evapco LMP. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
“I am honored to join the Evapco family and I truly believe this acquisition will be highly beneficial for both LMP and Evapco,” said Gingras. “Having the Evapco experience and knowledge will help Evapco-LMP strengthen its position as a leader and innovator in the natural refrigerant market and allow us to achieve new heights.”
Founded in 1976, Evapco produces a wide range of natural refrigerant-based products for industrial refrigeration, including its Evapcold line of low-charge ammonia packaged penthouse and chiller units, as well as evaporators, vessels and condensers supporting large-charge, field-built centralized systems. Its 1.2:1 overfeed evaporator and DX evaporator are designed to reduce the charge of large industrial ammonia systems.
The former LMP, established in 1998, has manufactured transcritical CO2 systems for both commercial (supermarket) and industrial applications, with close to 400 transcritical CO2 systems in service, in both Canada and the U.S.
“Evapco LMP will combine LMP’s extensive CO2 experience and technology with Evapco’s established reputation, manufacturing capabilities and financial resources to accelerate CO2 market growth across North America and beyond,” said a statement signed by Strine, Gingras and Bill Bartley, President and CEO of Evapco. “Evapco LMP is also positioned to take advantage of the extensive research and development capabilities located at Evapco’s headquarters in Maryland to develop new CO2 products and systems that will revolutionize the CO2 market for years to come.”
In an interview with R744.com, Strine expanded on the prepared statement. “It’s been obvious to us that CO2 [refrigeration] is growing rapidly,” he said. “We wanted to expand our natural refrigerant portfolio to include CO2 systems with a company that shared our passion for customer service, quality products and environmentally sustainable solutions, and join the CO2 market faster than if we developed it on our own.”
Strine added that Evapco is not interested in the f-gas (HFC or HFO blend) market. “We think its days are numbered,” he said. “As natural refrigerant technologies continue to be developed and expanded, it will be shrinking, not growing.” HFO blends, he added, are less energy efficient than ammonia or CO2, especially in larger buildings and at freezer temperatures.
Moreover, in the industrial refrigeration sector, “we believe the majority of CO2 market growth is attributed to the displacement of f-gases, not ammonia,” said Strine. “So we think CO2 is complementary to ammonia” and the two refrigerants “will grow together and the entire industrial natural refrigeration market will get bigger.”
The acquisition also gives Evapco entry into the food retail sector for the first time via transcritical CO2 systems, which have grown significantly in installations in North American supermarkets over the past few years.
While Evapco offers predominantly ammonia products and systems, it has also provided industrial CO2 evaporators and vessels for many years, supporting manufacturers of ammonia/CO2 cascade systems.
Now, with the creation of Evapco-LMP, Evapco has announced a new industrial/commercial CO2 gas cooler, in both air-cooled and adiabatic versions. The gas cooler, along with Evapco’s other CO2 products, can be packaged with the transcritical CO2 systems made by Evapco LMP; previously LMP did not supply its own gas cooler or evaporator.
“We are very excited to be able to promote, for the first time, a single-source package of the CO2 skid, gas cooler and evaporators, where we can guarantee total quality and thermal performance” said Gingras.
CO2 and ammonia comparisons
Strine acknowledged that in some U.S. states and Canadian provinces, CO2 has an advantage over ammonia as an industrial refrigerant due to regulatory factors. New Jersey, for example, makes ammonia usage very difficult while Quebec “is all about CO2,” he said.
In addition, some industrial end users transitioning away from f-gas systems may be “hesitant to jump into ammonia” and see CO2 “as an easier transition,” Strine said. Moreover, for end users employing heat reclaim, CO2 offers advantages over other ammonia and other refrigerants, he noted.
On the other hand, ammonia has a long legacy in industrial refrigeration while CO2 is a relatively recent addition. And ammonia may be more suited for very large-capacity industrial applications than CO2 because ammonia requires far fewer compressors than CO2 does, Strine said (though larger CO2 compressors from companies like Dorin have entered the market).
In addition, Strine said, the efficiency impact of CO2’s higher pressures in warmer southern climates – though it can be mitigated with new technologies – has helped ammonia in those climates.
“We wanted to expand our natural refrigerant portfolio to include CO2 systems with a company that shared our passion for customer service, quality products and environmentally sustainable solutions, and join the CO2 market faster than if we developed it on our own.”Pat Strine, Evapco
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