Business is good for German OEM TEKO, a major producer of transcritical CO2 systems, but there are still plenty of challenges, including the need to attract engineering talent, and supply-chain shortages, said its Managing Director, Andreas Meier.
Meier shared these observations and more during a Live Streaming interview today on R744.com conducted by Marc Chasserot, CEO of shecco and publisher of R744.com. shecco launched the Live Streaming feature with the Meier interview, which also streamed simultaneously on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. The interview can be viewed below.
“The natural refrigerants market is growing, but there’s a lack of people in the industry,” said Meier, who noted that engineering talent in Germany gravitates to the big car manufacturers. “We have created a market, but now we need to create on the people side an awareness of what we do.”
He agreed with Chasserot that the industry should leverage social media platforms like YouTube and Instagram to communicate to young people that “natural refrigerants are very important for the younger generation, and a good [place] to work.”
Meier also pointed out the supply-chain challenges in regard to obtaining for components the natural refrigerants systems. This began with the COVID-19 pandemic last year and continues to be an issue. “Everybody in the industry is busy with the supply chain,” he said. “Prices are rising and suppliers are not delivering.”
Because of gaps or delays in the supply chain, TEKO is advising its supermarket and industrial customers to expect a longer lead time in receiving systems. “You have to be honest with customers,” said Meier. He expects the supply-chain issues to persist for the next two or three months in Europe, as some factories take summer holidays.
While TEKO’s principal business is in Europe, the company has been expanding globally, including in warm climates, with new transcritical CO2 installations in Israel and the Congo. In South America, TEKO has found Columbia to be a good market for CO2 refrigeration in supermarkets and cold storage. In total the company has installed more than 5,200 transcritical CO2 systems globally. However, the company has no plans currently to enter North America.
In countries outside of Europe, end users are investing in natural refrigerant systems in order to be perceived as market leaders in the use of environmentally friendly equipment, Meier said.
Meier acknowledged that one of the biggest opportunities now for CO2 systems is in the commercial chiller market. It’s a “huge market,” he noted. “If you need heat in the winter and cooling in the summer, there will be big gains” using CO2.
He predicted CO2 will be seen as superior to HFOs for chillers and other applications. “The problem with all synthetics is that you don’t know what will happen [to the environment] for five or 10 years, and then it is quite late.”
“We have created a market, but now we need to create on the people side an awareness of what we do.”Andreas Meier, TEKO