Technology innovations such as ejectors, evaporative condensers, energy storage, parallel compression, and heat recovery are helping to broaden the market for CO2 as a refrigerant, heard participants in the 13th IIR Gustav Lorentzen Conference on Natural Refrigerants today.
“The integration of further functions into natural refrigerant systems will be a key success factor in replacing HCFC and HFC systems globally,” Professor Armin Hafner of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) told the plenary audience at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
Conquering warmer climates
Ejectors are also among the new technologies helping to improve the efficiency of CO2 systems in warmer climates. Natural refrigerant solutions for warm climate countries is the overarching theme of this year’s Gustav Lorentzen conference, named after the Norwegian professor who developed the modern thermodynamic transcritical cycle in 1988-1991.
Professor Lorentzen himself once said, “it does not seem logical to try to replace CFCs with another family of related halocarbons, HFCs, which are equally foreign to nature”.
In his keynote address at today’s conference, Professor Hafner echoed his illustrious predecessor by taking aim at the latest generation of synthetic refrigerants: “It does not seem very logical to try to replace HFCs with another family of related halocarbons, HFOs, which are equally foreign to nature,” Hafner said.
After outlining the history of CO2 as a refrigerant – it made its debut in 1886 in an era when the development of mechanical refrigeration was driven by demand for ice to preserve food – Hafner expressed optimism that new innovators would continue to push the boundaries of what it can achieve in the years to come.
“People are getting to know CO2 systems, knowledge is being transferred, and that is very good,” Hafner said.
“Today it is possible to integrate heating and cooling into CO2 transcritical systems to eliminate all applications of HFCs in supermarkets.”Armin Hafner, NTNU
Eliminating HFCs in supermarkets
Highlighting data from sheccoBase – the market development arm of shecco, publisher of this website – indicating that there are already over 14,000 supermarkets in Europe fitted with CO2 transcritical systems, Hafner said: “Today it is possible to integrate heating and cooling into CO2 transcritical systems to eliminate all applications of HFCs in supermarkets.”
With more OEMs developing new technologies to improve the efficiency of these systems in warmer climates, system design is becoming more complex.
Training and support for installers and contractors, therefore, will be crucial in ensuring the continued success of CO2 as a refrigerant as it takes on a greater market share, Hafner said.