A wide range of end users and contractors – including Walmart, Ahold Delhaize USA, Lineage Logistics and CoolSys – will be speaking on their experiences with natural refrigerant-based systems at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) America Summit 2023 on natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R.

This 12th annual edition of the conference will be held Monday, June 12, and Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in Washington, D.C., at the Renaissance Downtown. The event, addressing applications of the natural refrigerants CO2 (R744), hydrocarbons and ammonia (R717), is organized by ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com.

You can register for the event here and find the preliminary program and other information on the event website.  End users can register for free, and contractors/installers of HVAC&R systems are eligible to receive one free ticket per organization, with a 50% discount on additional tickets.

Among the high-profile end user speakers are Jim McClendon, Director of Engineering at Walmart Stores; Kathy Loftus, Vice President of Strategic Construction Projects, Energy and Facility Services, Retail Business Services (Services company of Ahold Delhaize USA) and Aer Teale, Director of Engineering, Lineage Logistics.

Loftus and Teale are the end user keynote speakers for days 1 and day 2, respectively. In her keynote, Loftus will explain her refrigeration and sustainability vision for Ahold Delhaize USA, while Teale will discuss the intersection of people, energy, refrigeration and sustainability.

McClendon will participate in a session, “Solving the CO2 Shortage,” that will examine the shortage of refrigerant-grade CO2, which threatens to slow the U.S. transition away from high-GWP HFC refrigerants. Other panelists will include a retail end user, a service contractor and a CO2 expert. The session will be led by Danielle Wright, Executive Director of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), an environmental nonprofit working to advance climate-friendly natural refrigerants.

“As retailer demand for CO2 technologies grows, [the CO2 shortage] issue has the potential to become the single largest inhibitor to full scale deployment,” said NASRC.

There will also be an end users panel featuring Francisco Picazo, Project Manager, Grupo Bimbo; Carl Klemp, HVAC/R Engineer, Kwik Trip; John DeCicco Jr., President of DeCicco Family Markets; and Griffin Plush, Vice Chair of the Seward Alaska Heat Loop Project Committee. In addition, a representative of Vallarta Supermarkets will participate in a case study presentation with Energy Recovery on the use of a pressure exchanger device with a transcritical CO2 system.

A contractors panel will offer representatives of five major refrigeration contracting firms: Scott Ercole, Vice President of Technical Sales, CoolSys; Ady Vyas, Vice President, Sales & Operations, Neelands Group; Mark Stencel, Director of Refrigeration Product Solutions, Bassett Mechanical; Jeff Buxton, Refrigeration Engineer, JH Kelly (Portland Mechanical Contractors); and Brian McMillan, Director of Preconstruction, InterCool USA.

In addition, several contractors will be included in case study presentations, including Zero-C, SubZero Constructors, AAA Refrigeration, Ti Cold, Frigo-Zone, TechnoRef4 and Portan.

Policy sessions

There will be two policy-related sessions, one on technology transitions and one on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

In the technology transitions panel, Cindy Newberg, Director of the Stratospheric Protection Division at the Office of Atmospheric Programs, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will provide an update on the EPA’s implementation of the U.S. AIM (American Innovation and Manufacturing) Act. This includes a phase down of HFCs, a ban on new uses of HFCs and new rules on the management of HFCs. She will focus on the bans, also known as the technology transition part of the AIM Act.

Other technology transition speakers will include Christina Starr, Senior Manager with the Climate Campaign at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA); Keith Dennis, President, Beneficial Electrification League; and Eric Smith, Vice President and Technical Director, International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration (IIAR).

Starr will discuss developments in charge standards for hydrocarbon refrigerants used in commercial display cabinets, air-conditioning and heat pumps. Dennis will explain how to obtain subsidies for heat pump installations from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Smith will discuss IIAR’s latest safety standards for ammonia, CO2 and hydrocarbons.

Another panel will examine the links between f-gases and PFAS, which are the “forever chemicals” polluting the environment. Panelists will include Robert Sussman, Principal, Sussman & Associates, and former Deputy Administrator, EPA; Tim Whitehouse, Executive Director of PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility); Heidi Pickard, PFAS Researcher and doctoral student, Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences; business consultant Tom Camp, CEO, AHR Edge; and Thomas Trevisan, Deputy Manager for Public Affairs, ATMOsphere.

Speakers from Bank of America, Ernst & Young

Other speakers confirmed for the event include:

  • Abhijit Bhide Managing Director, Bank of America
  • Rob Bradley, Managing Director, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young
  • Ben Churchill Chief Strategy Officer, CoolPlanet
  • Andy Baker, Owner and Project Manager, YourCleanEnergy (on heat pump market trends)

There will also be case study presentations on commercial and industrial refrigeration and heat pumps and a session on refrigeration market trends. In addition, ATMO Awards will be presented to a retailer and an industrial end user, and attendees will vote on three products to receive the Innovation of the Year award. A Person of the Year will also be named.

ATMO America will gather key industry experts, including manufacturers, policy makers, end users and contractors, to learn about the latest developments in natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R systems. Last year’s ATMO America conference was held in Alexandria, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.

The Platinum sponsor of ATMO America 2023 is Hillphoenix. Gold sponsors are M&M Carnot, Kysor Warren, Emerson, Hussmann and Energy Recovery. Information on sponsorships can be found here.

Media partners include Supermarket News, Contracting Business and Frozen & Refrigerated Buyer.

Presentations from last year’s ATMO America can be found here.

“As retailer demand for CO2 technologies grows, [the CO2 shortage] issue has the potential to become the single largest inhibitor to full scale deployment.”