Norwegian research center SINTEF has agreed to lend one of its HVAC&R research scientists to an air-conditioning manufacturer in northern Norway, where he will help make its systems more “eco-friendly” by identifying environmentally benign refrigerant alternatives, according to SINTEF’s website.

The scientist, Christian Schlemminger, will be working with MKK (Mosjøen Kulde og Klimaservice), a Mosjøen, Norway-based provider of high-temperature air conditioning systems that operate in extreme conditions, such as in the smelting industry.

Schlemminger is part of SINTEF Energy Research, a division of SINTEF.

The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Many of the current refrigerants have a substantial environmental impact, and the objective of the work is to identify more environmental alternatives,” said Schlemminger.

Norwegian innovation company Kunnskapsparken Helgeland, which set up the project, selected Schlemminger.

He was described by SINTEF as having “cutting-edge expertise in research and development of systems and components in cooling and heat pump technology, and is, among other things, the leader of compressor-related research” in SINTEF’s FME HighEFF (energy-efficiency) research center.

MKK’s industrial air-conditioning systems are built to tolerate ambient temperatures of up to 90°C (194°F).

“We have customers operating in demanding environments with increasing operation temperatures,” said Ann-Helen Baadstrand, Chief Executive Officer. “It’s important for MKK to deliver systems that provide sustainable solutions both for the customer and for us.”

Schlemminger said he is looking forward to the task. The systems he will be examining “can’t take up too much space,” he noted, adding that the choice of refrigerant “has an impact on the compressors, which are the ‘hearts’ of these systems.” 

MKK received financing for the project through the Research Council of Norway’s Borrow a Researcher Program. In addition, the Nordland County Council, in northern Norway, agreed to finance it. 

“We’re pleased that Nordland county council saw the value of our project,” said Baadstrand. “With this project, we will be at the leading edge of the research in our field. This will strengthen our position and give us a competitive advantage, as well as an economic upside.”

Author Ntsako Khosa

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