HVAC&R technicians and end users in France are becoming more familiar with CO2-based technologies and manufacturers are optimistic the market is ripe for growth, heard participants in the first-ever ATMOsphere France conference in Paris last week.

“CO2 is becoming a very sexy industry,” José Manuel Alves from Panasonic told participants at the Intercontinental Paris Marceau hotel in the French capital.

Panasonic has sold around 1.2 million compressors for CO2 transcritical systems and some 8,500 of its CO2 condensing units have been installed in over 3,100 stores worldwide. Most of these stores are in Asia, and the majority are in Japan.

“In Europe, we’ve installed CO2 condensing units in 290 stores,” Alves said.

Panasonic operates four training centres in France to spread knowledge of CO2 systems among technicians and installers operating in the field. They are located in Gennevilliers, Tours, Manosque and Nantes.

“We have a network to support and promote CO2. 260 installers have been trained at our training centres in France so far,” Alves said.

Panasonic’s CO2 condensing units are currently available in France at capacities of 4 kW and 15 kW. 23 kW and 33 kW models will be available from the first quarter of 2019.

Alves highlighted a project in Lyon, where a CO2 condensing unit will be installed in an African grocer’s in the Vaise district later this summer.

“We have a network to support and promote CO2 in France.

José Manuel Alves, Panasonic

‘Dynamic’ French market

ENGIE Axima is also investing in natural refrigerant technologies in France. “The French market is very dynamic. We’re doing natural refrigerant projects in increasingly large capacities,” said Jonathan Leguil, who represented the firm during the case study session at the event.

Leguil presented as a case study the Lidl distribution centre in Entzheim, which uses a cascade NH3– CO2 system to provide cooling at temperatures ranging from -30°C to 10°C. The system, whose capacity is 2,220 kW, was commissioned in August 2017.

Nicolas Pondicq-Cassou from Profroid – which represents Carrier in France – presented the CO2OLtecEVO CO2 transcritical system.

“The trend is to move towards new transcritical systems capable of operating efficiently in multiple climates,” said Pondicq-Cassou. “Supermarkets are an extremely promising growth area for these solutions.”

The CO2OLtecEVO integrates a modulating vapour ejector into a CO2 transcritical rack in conjunction with a CO2 pump, helping to improve the efficiency of the CO2 transcritical cycle in warmer climates.

“The trend is to move towards new transcritical systems capable of operating efficiently in multiple climates.

Nicolas Pondicq-Cassou, Profroid

New technology solutions for growing market

Paul Rivet from AF Consulting, a consultant with long experience of working with CO2, sees potential for wider uptake of this natural refrigerant in ice rinks. “There is strong demand for hot water in ice rinks – for sanitary hot water and for hot air to dehumidify the rink,” Rivet said.

Giacomo Pisano from Dorin, meanwhile, presented a case study of a meat processing plant in France using a CO2 transcritical system as an example of an efficient and reliable solution for industrial refrigeration installations.

Andre Palumbo of CAREL presented the firm’s dynamic DC modulation solution. “DC technology allows you to modulate the compressor operation and achieve the maximum possible efficiency,” he said.

Palumbo stressed the need to ensure that HVAC&R students are certified to work on these new refrigeration solutions.

Javier Atenica Escudero from TEWIS, meanwhile, made the case for combining cooling with air conditioning. “A supermarket is the ideal place to combine refrigeration and air-conditioning technologies, as they are closed related,” Escudero said.

“We need to adapt electronic controls to these new integrated systems with natural refrigerants,” he said.

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