Published Date 12/6/18 8:00 AM
Ten years after it was first organised, the ATMOsphere Europe conference was hosted in Italy, in Riva del Garda.
Atmosphere Europe has always been the world’s main event organised by Shecco, an organisation with a role as mediator in the promotion of natural refrigerant technologies on the global market.
This is an excellent opportunity for all companies in the refrigeration industry (and not only) to keep up-to-date and discuss market trends, with the common aim, obviously, of using natural refrigerants.
Driven by the enthusiasm of a "home event", it was easier to take part en masse, as a worthy representation of the considerable investments the company is making in this segment.
Increasing awareness of the environmental impact of the equipment and refrigerants used in the past has brought the need to improve the sustainability of the solutions used in HVAC-R, an aspect now in the spotlight and leading to the conference’s theme: #GoNatRefs.
The search for green solutions that can solve, or at least significantly reduce global warming, is a feature shared by companies today. Against this backdrop, and thanks to a favourable institutional and regulatory environment (F-gas regulation), Europe has the delicate task of shifting its environmental policies towards greater sustainability through the adoption of increasingly efficient technologies that use natural refrigerants.
The ATMOphere Europe event involved the industry’s main stakeholders, featuring three days of discussions over 17 sessions with more than 70 presentations, aimed at accelerating the deployment of HVAC-R systems using natrefs.
From the outset of the conference the discussions were quite unexpected: a market leader in the French real estate sector explained the energy needs of its properties, stating that in the future, the main solution for space air-conditioning will involve natural refrigerants. A debate then began with the audience, directing the end user towards potential solutions that were unexpectedly already available among the unit manufacturers attending the event.
Hang on a moment, why unexpectedly?
While in commercial and industrial refrigeration the use of CO2, ammonia or propane is becoming a standard, in other areas such, as HVAC or MAC (Mobile Air Conditioning), these technologies are now beginning to appear in the market, driven by political pressure/regulations. Hence the importance of networking between promoters of new technologies, unit manufacturers and end users, to bring supply and demand together.
In the future it will therefore be fundamental for all the parties involved to maintain close relationships, so as to better face the current environmental challenge and the commercial opportunities that will derive from it.
Coming back to the main topics of the conference, there was a lot of discussion about the use of CO2, propane and ammonia. In fact, each of these refrigerants is already being used in more and more applications, driving the possibility of a major change in the coming years with the replacement of HFC-HFO-based technologies.
One of the pioneering natref markets is commercial refrigeration. In fact, in the food retail sector, CO2 has been used for decades now, and is being upgraded every year with new cutting-edge technological proposals, such as ejectors and DC compressors. This experience will certainly be essential to foster change in HVAC too, a sector that is currently still rooted in solutions based on the use of HFCs and HFOs.
The updated snapshot of transcritical CO2 systems installed around the world shows that Europe is the leading continent in terms of the number of systems operating, with an increase of 33% over 2017. Another strongly growing market is Japan, followed by North America and South Africa. One of the driving factors in Europe has certainly been the availability of new low and medium capacity units, possible only thanks to the introduction of DC compressors in the commercial refrigeration market.
The session dedicated to “retailers” further confirmed that technologies that use natural refrigerants can be easily integrated into store air-conditioning systems, improving their energy performance and combining refrigeration and air-conditioning applications in a way that is increasingly efficient.
We are convinced that one of the fundamental aspects behind the success of such events is networking between the various stakeholders, allowing us to share ideas and visions to face future technological and commercial challenges. But it is also an important check point for the entire industry, a chance to verify the state of development and deployment of new technologies.
We will always be at the forefront in addressing these challenges, researching and promoting increasingly efficient solutions to reduce energy usage and environmental impact.
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