Nihon Netsugen Systems, a Japanese manufacturer of transcritical CO2 (R744) technologies, has received the ATMO Approved Natural Refrigerants Label from ATMOsphere, a global market accelerator of clean cooling and heating solutions and publisher of R744.com.

ATMOsphere (formerly shecco) launched the label in June 2022 as a global gold standard highlighting best-in-class manufacturers of natural refrigerant systems and components around the world. Recipients in 2023 included Fenagy, SCM Frigo, M&M Carnot, Zudek, TEKO, MIRAI Intex, Novum and Temprite. This month, hydrocarbon gas manufacturer GTS received the label, and Secon and Güntner renewed it for the second time.

In November 2023, ATMOsphere opened label registration for 2024 with a new category for contractors and installers who accelerate the adoption of natural refrigerant-based cooling and heating solutions. To date, contractors SURE Solutions and General Refrigeration have received the label.

The label is renewed annually. Registration for the 2024 label can be found here, along with additional information.

“We are honored to be the first ATMO Approved business in the Asia Pacific region,” said Nihon Netsugen President Katsuhiko Harada. “Natural refrigerant CO2 has played key role for our business last seven years. We have served many Japanese customers, and now we are ready to expand [into] new Asian markets.”

The label is designed to help qualified manufacturers to market products to new customers and regions in the natural refrigerants marketplace, including products using CO2. In addition, the label is meant to help end users to identify best-in-class suppliers.

“We intend to use the ATMO Approved label to communicate our achievements in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions and increasing energy efficiency for our customers and helping the industry to transition to clean cooling solutions,” added Harada.

“We intend to use the ATMO Approved label to communicate our achievements in reducing [greenhouse gas] emissions and increasing energy efficiency for our customers and helping the industry to transition to clean cooling solutions.”

Katsuhiko Harada, Nihon Netsugen Systems

Once approved, companies can place the ATMOsphere Natural Refrigerant Label in a myriad of places, such as directly on products, marketing material, email signatures, company pitches and trade show booths.

“The label will be very visible in the global marketplace, and companies can take advantage of this to strengthen their brand,” noted Marc Chasserot, ATMOsphere Founder and CEO.

“By being global and multi-application, this label can help to create trust across the new applications and regions,” added Chasserot. “We want to use this multi-year label process to help move the market to cleaner solutions with natural refrigerant solutions over time.”

Based in Tokyo, Nihon Netsugen launched its first Super Green CO2 condensing unit in 2015. As of October 2023, the company had installed 530 of its R744 units across 180 projects in Japan alone.

While the majority of the manufacturer’s CO2 units are installed at cold storage facilities, they are also used for process cooling applications in the food, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The company has also said that it is looking to diversify its product range with CO2-based air-conditioning, as well as heat recovery options to further enhance the efficiency of its R744 systems.

Beyond Japan, Nihon Netsugen’s CO2 technologies have also been installed across Southeast Asia, including in the Philippines and Malaysia. According to Harada, the company expects to see the number of projects across Southeast Asia to grow.

In addition to working with CO2, Nihon Netsugen has partnered with German OEM GEA Heating and Refrigeration Technologies to supply ammonia (R717) chillers for larger-capacity industrial applications.

“Demand [for ammonia] is really increasing in the Japanese market, especially in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries,” Harada added. “We are really positive about the future for ammonia chillers for bigger installations.”

Three pillars

To qualify for an ATMOsphere label, manufacturers have to demonstrate excellence across three pillars:

  1. company vision;
  2. customer satisfaction (measured via testimonials from multiple end users confirming the reliability, performance and service of these companies and products); and
  3. measurable impact.

“It has been a pleasure working with NNS [Nihon Netsugen] on [our] installations and on the demo system that they donated to the Cold Chain Association of the Philippines,” said Emilio Gonzalez La’O, President of Cold Front Technologies Asia, a Filipino HVAC&R contractor. “They are not only experts in their field but are flexible and able to adopt their systems to local environments and challenges without any issues. We look forward to working with NNS on developing the CO2 market in the Philippines.”

New criteria

The 2024 label will also include training criteria for the first time for new applications and renewals. “We want to recognize a proactive approach to training customers, partners, employees and suppliers to ensure we not only have the best-in-class equipment, but the best-in-class installation and maintenance of these systems,” Chasserot said.

Another 2024 label criterion centers around per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), such as trifluoroacetic acid (TFA).

Recent research found significant levels of TFA – linked to the atmospheric breakdown of certain HFO and HFC refrigerants – in dust, drinking water and human blood in a study of households in Indiana (U.S.). The study characterized TFA as being part of the PFAS chemical family.

“The 2024 label criteria around PFAS acknowledges what companies are doing to ensure they are PFAS-free,” Chasserot said.

“ATMO Approved companies have the vision and leadership required to navigate the market today and help [companies] move away from PFAS and global-warming synthetic alternatives,” an ATMOsphere YouTube video says.

Additional new benefits added to the 2024 ATMO label include:

  • an annual report for environmental, social and governance (ESG) investors;
  • end-user tours at major trade shows to meet approved companies;
  • exclusive webinar targeting end users, consultants and contractors; and
  • end-user case studies, showcasing best practices.

ATMOsphere has been active in the natural refrigerant space for nearly 20 years. During this time, the company has:

  • published dozens of natural refrigerant-related market reports on market players, technologies and solutions worldwide across multiple applications;
  • hosted over 60 international natural refrigerant conferences, bringing together thousands of experts and hundreds of speakers over nearly 15 years, covering all the latest trends and players;
  • written thousands of articles reporting on natural refrigerant companies and products in the industry; and
  • sent representatives to hundreds of trade shows around the world, meeting with natural refrigerant experts face-to-face (in addition to countless individual meetings outside official events).

“As an independent player with a global mindset and a global presence across all natural refrigerants and multiple applications, we feel that we are very well suited to provide this level of approval for the label,” explained Chasserot.

“As an independent player with a global mindset and a global presence across all natural refrigerants and multiple applications, we feel that we are very well suited to provide this level of approval for the label.”

Marc Chasserot, ATMOsphere