shecco’s fifth ATMOsphere Europe conference, organised on 15 and 16 October 2013, was the largest ever organised, attended by over 220 decision makers from all major stakeholder groups. Presentations during the 11 sessions showed an ever-strengthening increase in the market for natural refrigerants, particularly for CO2 refrigeration, which has become a cornerstone of the businesses of many European system suppliers and manufacturers.
The conference’s 54 presentations, which covered everything from CO2 reefer-containers, to ammonia plate freezers, and CO2 and hydrocarbon heat pumps for industrial and domestic hot water, showed very clearly that natural solutions are available today.
ATMOsphere Europe 2013 Chairman Marc Chasserot said, “This is the decade for natural refrigerants. We already have over 400 companies across Europe working with all natural refrigerants in the refrigeration and air conditioning sectors. 100 of those companies either attended or presented their solutions at the biggest ever ATMOsphere Europe conference. There is an undeniable momentum behind this trend and it is growing every day”.
Growing natural refrigerant industry eager for stricter EU F-Gas rules
At centre of discussions during the two-day conference was the EU F-Gas Regulation, for which EU policy-makers are currently negotiating revisions. Speakers such as Jo Leinen, Member of the European Parliament and shadow rapporteur on the EU F-Gas Regulation, argued that bans with set dates are needed to give the market a clear signal to shift to alternative, and low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants. This position was supported by many of the industry representatives, who are eager to see political support for their innovative natural refrigerant-based solutions.
Dynamic and fast growing market for CO2 in commercial refrigeration
According to shecco’s Head of Market Research, Nina Masson, the number of CO2 transcritical supermarkets in Europe has more than doubled compared to the end of 2011, reaching a total number of 2,881 stores by September 2013. Presentations by Edeka, Sonae, Delhaize, Ahold, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s leant support to these findings, and made it clear that CO2 is the preferred option for many European retailers.
For the sector to move forward, conference discussions showed that what is needed now is to find cost effective natural solutions for convenience stores and hot climates. Presentations by Enex, Carel, Frigo-Consulting and Green & Cool all indicated promising results for various technologies that could be used to push the “CO2 efficiency equator” further south towards the Mediterranean. For small-format stores, Scandinavian refrigeration system suppliers Advansor and Green & Cool confirmed the commercial availability of smaller capacity technologies.
Growing trend towards hydrocarbon refrigeration in stand-alone units
Also in the commercial refrigeration sector, presentations pointed towards a growing market for hydrocarbons as refrigerants in stand-alone units. For example, half of Red Bull’s total cooler fleet, around 457,000 coolers, use hydrocarbons as the refrigerant. Heineken’s Green Fridge policy has now not only resulted in a significant company investment in hydrocarbon fridges, but has also led to the development of the world’s first green draught system that uses R290 as the refrigerant. From the supplier side, AHT Cooling Systems reported that they have over 480,000 propane cabinets installed in European supermarkets.
Ammonia will defend its market leading position in the next 7 years
In the industrial refrigeration sector, despite slow overall growth rates in the food industry and industrial refrigeration sector, the move towards a still broader adoption of natural refrigerants is expected to continue. Results from shecco’s latest market survey of key industrial stakeholders indicates that ammonia will maintain its market-leading position in the next 7 years, but that CO2/NH3 solutions, and to a lesser extent hydrocarbons (HCs), will become increasingly competitive.
Natural refrigerant heat pump solutions
The case study session dedicated to heat pumps introduced the audience to various CO2 and hydrocarbon heat pump solutions from SANDEN Europe, boostHeat, ait-deutschland, KNVvK & NVKL, and Fraunhofer. Already commercially available in Europe is the first combi-type CO2 heat pump for residential space heating and domestic hot water production, whilst considerable research is being undertaken into R290 heat pumps.
As Marc Chasserot concludes in his introduction to the ATMOsphere Europe 2013 Summary Report, “The clear message to EU policy makers: ‘Be ambitious’ and industry will deliver.”
For more than a decade market development expert shecco has been active in helping bring climate friendly technologies faster to market. shecco supports over 100+ partners worldwide in two areas: the HVAC&R sector, where the focus is on sustainable refrigeration, heating & cooling technologies using natural refrigerants; and the transport sectors where an emphasis is put on electric vehicles (cars, heavy duty vehicle, scooters, bikes). shecco offers a variety of services, ranging from world-leading online industry platforms, to market research & consultancy services, events management, funding & grants support, and public affairs.
Head of Market Research
Janaina Topley Lira