R744: How do you see the market for natural refrigerants developing in your region and globally in 2016?
Natural refrigerants are becoming more and more popular as people feel more concerned about global warming. As we are strongly advocating for the use of natural refrigerants in refrigeration and air conditioning, we are developing many new, innovative products.
R744: Are there any external market trends developing that will affect the natural refrigerant sector?
There will be two main challenges in 2016: the synthetic refrigerant market will be more aggressively developing new solutions, and a strong US dollar will have an effect on the cost of CO2 components. However, it is important to note that for long-term investments, natural refrigerants are the only available solutions that are not going to be subjected to any phase-out programmes.
R744: Are there any expected policy changes in your region or globally that will have an impact on the natural refrigerant industry in 2016?
No. All the phase-out regulations that will have an impact on synthetic refrigerants will not take effect until 2020.
R744: Are there any expected developments in the training of technicians and experts working with natural refrigerants?
We have developed a training programme for all new technicians. Such a programme helps them understand the principals and place them in a comfort zone regarding the use of natural refrigerants. Training new technicians is proving to be a much smoother process than initially thought. The biggest challenge is to understand the complex control system required to operate a refrigeration package with natural refrigerants.
R744: Which specific projects or new installations are you excited about for 2016?
The projects that we are the most proud of are all the retrofitted warehousing for cold storages. LMP has become an expert on warehousing. We have a warehouse that operates with four different CO2 technologies and all the medium temperature works with an ice slurry. This is the most efficient and cost effective way to modify an existing warehouse because we can recycle most of the existing equipment.
R744: Do you plan to develop your natural refrigerant product and/or technology offering in 2016?
Yes we are working on a new concept for supermarkets. Our first installation is scheduled for June 2016. This will be a groundbreaking solution; we are keenly awaiting the performance results and will make them public as soon as possible.
R744: Do you see any threats to your natural refrigerant business emerging?
There are many obstacles. The price and availability of all components need to improve as the market grows. The pricing strategies of component providers need to be adjusted to be competitive with HFC systems. The large variety of solutions proposed to customers also poses a challenge. These solutions should be evaluated with respect to the needs of the customer as well as the climatic conditions in which the system will operate. It is also critical that the selected system has standard [parts] that can be easily obtained at the local wholesaler so as not to impact the potential downtime of the system.