With a recent study carried out by shecco in Europe pointing to a clear business case for training on natural refrigerants, participants in ATMOsphere America 2017 spoke of growing demand for training in the North American market too.
Representatives of Emerson, embraco, the Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES), the Ammonia Safety and Training Institute (ASTI) and shecco gathered in San Diego, Calif. on 6 June to discuss the current training offer and challenges facing the HVAC&R sector.
Industry training programs
“We’re in this room because we understand the importance of training,” Emerson’s Andre Patenaude told participants in the training discussion, part of ATMOsphere America 2017 (5-7 June).
Recognizing that technicians trained to install, operate and maintain natural refrigerant-based systems can be difficult to find, Emerson has put in place an extensive training program in the U.S. and Canada to familiarize technicians with natural refrigerants (especially CO2 and its high pressure) and explain all the safety requirements. ”We trained more than 9,000 people last year. We organized more than 65 training courses in the U.S. alone and we plan for more in 2017/2018.”
Johari Gregorio from embraco shed light on the Brazilian compressor manufacturer’s training programs for OEMs on R290. Alongside cooperation with universities, embraco runs R&D labs around the world at which it spreads knowledge and expertise on converting cabinets to R290.
Gregorio argued that hydrocarbons are a highly efficient and future-proof solution to complying with HFC bans. “Big systems are still a challenge, but this could easily overcome if the charge limit of hydrocarbons is increased,” he said.
“With all the recent EPA-approved applications for the use of hydrocarbons in the U.S., the market has nowhere to go but up.”Art Miller, RSES
Natural refrigerants training is not mandatory in the U.S. and many companies see this as a problem, according to RSES, one of the world’s leading education, training and certification associations for the HVAC&R industry.
However, “with all the recent EPA-approved applications for the use of hydrocarbons in the U.S., the market has nowhere to go but up,” argued RSES’ Art Miller.
To complement its online education programs, publications and webinars, RSES is now looking into offering training in secondary and private schools to reach out to future generations of technicians.
Scott Melton from ASTI has been working with ammonia for many years and defines himself as an “ammonia nerd”. This refrigerant is well known for its particular smell. “You know when NH3 is there because of the smell, which makes it safe” said Melton. “NH3 has been used extensively for many years now. This refrigerant comes with some risks that we need to understand and be trained on.”
Melton also highlighted the need for the industry to come together, share knowledge and join with policymakers to continue to develop a regulated and safe standards framework for ammonia use.
GUIDE to Natural Refrigerants Training in Europe
Alvaro de Oña from shecco unveiled the main findings of the GUIDE Training Europe, a report published by shecco in May. Packed full of exclusive interviews, industry surveys and data analysis, the GUIDE is the most comprehensive investigation of Europe’s training landscape to date and shows that training is in fact readily available for those who need it.
The GUIDE includes a directory of almost 200 organizations currently offering natural refrigerant training in Europe.shecco is now working on a North American version of the GUIDE Training, which will be published after the summer and made available online.