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This year’s celebration, which takes place on June 26, is focused on the theme of ‘Temperature Matters.’
Sonia Saini

World Refrigeration Day (WRD) 2024 is June 26, and this year’s celebration is broadening its focus to include heat pumps to emphasize the importance of sustainable heating, according to a statement from the WRD Secretariat.

Under the theme of “Temperature Matters,” this year’s event will incorporate World Heat Pumps Day for the first time and explore the significant impacts of refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) technologies around the world, the Secretariat explained.

“While the importance of maintaining cold temperatures for critical food and medicine supply chains remains undeniable, the campaign will also highlight the industry’s role in effective and sustainable heating, as well as creating healthier, comfortable environments with cleaner air supplies,” it added.

Celebrations will showcase global initiatives and projects to educate the public about the importance of effective temperature control, how it affects our daily lives and its role in supporting sustainable development.

“The importance of temperature connects us all, no matter where we live,” said Stephen Gill, industry veteran and Founder of World Refrigeration Day. “Temperature control is essential for more than just our comfort and health in homes and workplaces. It’s crucial for preserving food and medicines, and it plays a vital role in many industrial processes at both high and extremely low temperatures. Temperature can mean the difference between life and death.”

By focusing on temperature regulation, the WRD 2024 campaign is designed to be universally relevant and to allow regions and industries to adjust messaging to suit different interests and audiences.

“While heat pumps may not be so prevalent in tropical climates, the same principles of temperature control remain crucial for comfort and health,” added Gill. “WRD 2024 aims to foster global recognition and discussion about the sector’s wide-ranging impact.”

“While heat pumps may not be so prevalent in tropical climates, the same principles of temperature control remain crucial for comfort and health. WRD 2024 aims to foster global recognition and discussion about the sector’s wide-ranging impact.”

Stephen Gill, World Refrigeration Day

Now in its sixth year, WRD 2024 coincides with the 200th anniversary of the birth of Lord Kelvin, a pioneering figure in thermodynamics.

“Kelvin’s work in defining the absolute temperature scale has profound implications for modern thermal energy management, influencing both cooling and heating technologies,” said the WRD Secretariat.

Each year, WRD celebrates the people and technologies responsible for creating and maintaining temperature-controlled environments. The campaign also promotes career opportunities in the sector, encouraging educational institutions and students to explore roles within the industry.

Last year’s event was themed around “Next Generation Cooling” and highlighted evolving refrigeration solutions.

Industry support

WRD 2024 has garnered support from a wide range of stakeholders, including governments, scientific and engineering associations, professional groups and more than 140 industry sponsors.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has announced its support of this year’s event and theme.

“This year’s World Refrigeration Day theme emphasizes the crucial importance of efficient temperature control for sustainable development and human comfort,” said Ginger Scoggins, ASHRAE’s President. “ASHRAE acknowledges the vital role of heat pump technologies in global low-carbon heating strategies, endorsing their advancement and implementation to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and enhance energy efficiency in the built environment.”

Several top international chefs have also backed WRD via the Cooling Keeps Food Fresh campaign, which was originally launched in 2022 and focuses on refrigeration’s role in reducing food waste and promoting climate action.

To celebrate WRD 2024 in Australia, national food retailer Woolworths is opening up some of its supermarket plant rooms to the public to “showcase the latest technology in commercial refrigeration.”

Throughout the day, selected Woolworths stores in Adelaide, Bendigo, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney will host one-hour tours of their natural refrigerant-based plant rooms. Interested parties must register to attend. The chain hosted a similar event for WRD 2023 and WRD 2019. Woolworths did not hold store tours from 2020 to 2022 due to COVID-related restrictions.

In addition to learning more about refrigeration technologies and meeting industry professionals, the tours are designed to promote the refrigeration trade among younger generations.

In April, Woolworths opened its 100th transcritical CO2 (R744) supermarket. This achievement came just seven years after the chain opened its first transcritical CO2 store.

The Lean Line 2.0 has been designed for small- and medium-sized metro stores with a focus on serviceability.
Sonia Saini

SCM REF Australia, Beijer Ref Australia’s manufacturing operation, has said that it is targeting a new market segment with the launch of its Lean Line 2.0 transcritical CO2 (R744) booster for commercial applications.

Designed for small- and medium-sized metro format stores, the manufacturer is “hoping to capture a new segment in the marketplace,” Inderpal Saund, APAC Business Development Director at Beijer Ref, told NaturalRefrigerants.com during an interview at the Air Conditioning Refrigeration and Building Services (ARBS) 2024 trade show. Lean Line 2.0 was launched at ARBS 2024, which was held in Sydney from May 28–30.

“This unit is specifically designed with serviceability in mind for small plant rooms where access is limited,” added Jason Pearce, Sales Manager at SCM REF Australia. “We have a reach-in model, which is for outdoor enclosures and walk-in plants, and the plug’n cool option with integrated gas cooler.”

According to the manufacturer, all components are easily accessible from one side, offering the possibility to install the unit against a wall. The rack can serve both medium- and low-temperature applications.

The Lean Line 2.0 booster system has also been developed to offer flexibility, with optional add-ons including heat recovery, air-conditioning load and ejectors for added system efficiency. It can also use any parametric controller on the market, including Dixell, Carel and Danfoss, said Pearce.

While the product was designed in Italy by SCM Frigo, a subsidiary of Beijer Ref, it is manufactured locally by SCM REF Australia.

“It being built here in Australia gives us speed to market,” explained Saund.

Training still essential

Training is “still essential” for the widespread adoption of CO2 technologies in Australia, noted Saund and Pearce during the interview. They highlighted the importance of the company’s courses at the Beijer Ref Academy in Sydney.

“The Beijer Ref Academy is going strong,” said Saund. “We’re getting good numbers through there, and we’re seeing interest develop further in the marketplace with regard to training.”

For the coming year, the pair will focus on training programs with more advanced formats, such as the commissioning of systems, he added. Saund delivered similar remarks during his presentation at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) APAC Summit 2024, which was held in Tokyo February 6–7. ATMOsphere is the publisher of NaturalRefrigerants.com.

“The Beijer Ref Academy is going strong. We’re getting good numbers through there, and we’re seeing interest develop further in the marketplace with regard to training.”

Inderpal Saund, Beijer Ref

Beijer Ref Academy’s CO2 Safety, Repair and Service Training course, created by SCM REF Australia and Superior Training Centre (STC), won in the Outstanding Industry Education and Training category at the ARBS 2024 Industry Awards.

“A collaborative effort and the result of many years of dedication and passion for training and driving natural technologies,” says SCM REF Australia in a LinkedIn Post about the award.

According to the manufacturer, this is the first time that national accreditation has been combined with “industry experience and leading CO2 technology in a bespoke facility.”

In addition to the training facility in Sydney, Beijer Ref has centers in Padua (Italy), Lyon (France), Wuxi (China) and Bangkok (Thailand). At AMTO APAC, Saund added that the company hopes to open a new center in Japan by the end of 2024 in collaboration with local partner Mtass Refrigeration.

Local distributor Automatic Heating discussed the savings available for the Revere CHP-80Y unit at ARBS 2024.
Sonia Saini

Japanese manufacturer Itomic has announced that its large-scale air-to-water CO2 (R744) CHP-80Y heat pump water heater has been approved for Australian government rebates.

The rebates ‒ offered in Victoria and New South Wales to incentivize energy-efficient products and practices in commercial and industrial applications ‒ apply to new installations and replacements of gas boilers or electric resistance element hot water systems. The CHP-80Y, part of Itomic’s Revere line of air-to-water CO2 heat pumps, is distributed locally by Automatic Heating.

“Businesses can now take advantage of these rebate programs, unlocking significant cost savings while contributing to a greener future,” Automatic Heating said.

The CHP-80Y is a model in Itomic’s Revere line of CO2 heat pump water heaters and offers heating capacities up to 76kW (21.6TR) with a COP of up to 4.2. The CHP-80Y can provide both space heating and domestic hot water.

At the 2024 Australian Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration and Building Services (ARBS) Exhibition, Terry Plaisted, Director at Automatic Heating, detailed both the Revere CO2 heat pump water heater and the government rebate available for it in an exclusive interview with NaturalRefrigerants.com. ARBS was held May 28‒30 in Sydney.

Incentive programs: “Improving the efficiency of water heaters is one of the best ways to reduce a business’s energy bills,” the Victoria State Department says, estimating that heating water for sanitary purposes and space heating accounts for 36% of a commercial building’s energy use. For industrial facilities using processing hot water, the proportion of energy used only climbs.

  • Victoria offers the incentive under Activity 44 as Victorian energy efficiency certificates (VEEC), with the value based on project location, installation costs, the provider’s administrative costs and certificate market fluctuations.
  • The rebate comes as energy savings certificates (ESCs) and peak reduction certificates (PRCs) in New South Wales as part of its Energy Savings Scheme under Schedule F16/F17 and WH1. PRCs do not apply to new installations. The value of ESCs and PRCs fluctuates based on market demand as electricity retailers seek to meet set annual energy savings targets.

 CHP-80Y specifications: According to Itomic, the CHP-80Y, launched in 2011, meets heavy demands of hot water loads.

  • The unit supplies hot water between 60 and 90°C (140 and 194°F) in ambient temperatures ranging from −20 to 43°C (−4 to 109.4°F). Automatic Heating says it’s a fit for commercial, industrial and residential applications.
  • With installation in supermarkets, commercial office buildings and hospitals, the CHP-80Y heat pump performs well, Plaisted said, as highlighted by its operation in rigorous conditions from cold ambient temperatures to warm environments.
  • “The uniqueness of the CO2 heat pump is its compactness,” said Plaisted, with the Y-frame construction enabling installation in limited spaces.

Australian installations: Automatic Heating started its partnership with Itomic in 2016. According to Plaisted, the company first showcased the Revere CO2 heat pump at ARBS 2018. “We brought it back in 2024 as a testimony to its quality and functionality,” Plaisted said.

  • At ARBS 2022, Plaisted said the company had installed more than 100 Itomic CO2 water heaters in Australian commercial projects and multi-family homes.
  • Last summer, Automatic Heating reported installing more than 30 Itomic CHP-80Y heat pump water heaters in the past three years in more than 10 supermarkets operated by a large Australian food retailer. The heat pumps were installed in new stores and renovations and used to provide hot water and heating.

Quotable: “For those projects considering a net-zero pathway for decarbonization, the Revere CO2 package allows for government rebates,” Plaisted said. “I’m confident this heat pump will allow numerous customers to take advantage of the initiatives.”

“For those projects considering a net-zero pathway for decarbonization, the Revere CO2 package allows for government rebates.”

Terry Plaisted, Director at Automatic Heating

Why It Matters: Curated News With Commentary
Source: Canary Media
24/06/2024

This NYC High-Rise Is Using Heat Pumps and Waste Heat to Cut Fossil Fuels

Why It Matters: A 17-story office building in Lower Manhattan is replacing its gas boiler with water- and air-source heat pumps, which is projected to reduce its emissions by 70% compared to 2019 levels. Water-source heat pumps will be installed on each floor of the nearly 100-year-old building, with three air-source heat pumps installed on the roof. While the equipment’s refrigerant was not detailed, the project’s expected completion date of 2030 potentially opens the door for propane (R290) heat pumps to be used. ASHRAE has said that R290 charge limits, which have so far kept propane heat pumps from making waves in the U.S., won’t be raised “until 2025 or later.”

Modeling showed the new ammonia-based system to be 23% more efficient than a system using R404A.
Sonia Saini

General Refrigeration, a U.S.-based industrial refrigeration contractor, has installed an ammonia (R717)-based HVAC system at its office in Delmar, Delaware.

The installation of the ammonia-based HVAC system in the 16,850ft² (1,565m2) two-story offices was initially planned for October 2020 but encountered delays due to the pandemic and supply chain challenges, explained Robert Ellison, Vice President of Operations at General Refrigeration.

“Given our expertise with ammonia, it was a no-brainer to use it for our cooling needs,” Ellison stated, emphasizing that a “traditional” refrigerant such as R404A would have consumed approximately 23% more power under the same design conditions. The system, modeled using SolidWorks, features components designed for operational and training purposes.

Ellison presented General Refrigeration’s office HVAC system, along with the broader potential for ammonia in HVAC applications, during a presentation at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) America Summit 2024. The conference took place June 10–11 in Washington, D.C., and was organized by ATMOsphere, publisher of Naturalrefrigerants.com.

Components and design

The ammonia HVAC system includes a 140.6kW (40TR) chiller designed to produce 50°F (10°C) chilled water for an air-to-water heat exchanger without glycol. The system features two 100% duty compressors with 40HP VFD motors, two 100% duty plate and frame heat exchangers, and an adiabatic condenser mounted above the chiller room for better heat dissipation and natural airflow.

Ellison explained that the outdoor ground installation of the system isolates the refrigerant outside of the conditioned space, allowing for easier access and maintenance. The system is low-charge and uses approximately 300lbs (136kg) of charge and includes safety relief, detection and ventilation systems in accordance with IIAR standards. Ammonia, being lighter than air, pairs well with a ventilation system to avoid asphyxiation risks, and Ellison highlighted the safety steps General Refrigeration has taken since installing its new HVAC system.

“We have a PSM [process safety management] program in place not just to comply with regulations but to ensure the safety of our staff and effectiveness of our systems,” he said.

Ellison said the system is designed for reliability and long-term operation, featuring low noise levels and robust package construction.

“We designed the system so that it can be easily accessed for maintenance and training, which is crucial for our operations,” Ellison said. The facility’s design also includes a central control system that is accessible remotely and facilitates real-time monitoring and training sessions.

Additional opportunities

During his presentation, Ellison acknowledged that while some may be hesitant about ammonia HVAC systems due to the perceived risks, the company’s successful implementation is a testament to its safety and efficacy. “We believe there is a huge market for ammonia in HVAC applications, and our project proves it can be done safely and effectively,” he said.

At the end of the presentation, the discussion also touched on the potential for ammonia use beyond industrial settings. While applications in residential complexes may be limited, Ellison sees significant opportunities in food manufacturing and other sectors requiring efficient cooling solutions. “We’ve seen great success in using ammonia for comfort cooling in food manufacturing facilities,” he noted.

“We believe there is a huge market for ammonia in HVAC applications, and our project proves it can be done safely and effectively.”

Robert Ellison, Vice President of Operations at General Refrigeration

The new Birch heat pump can deliver temperatures of up to 80°C in ambient temperatures as low as −5°C.
Sonia Saini

U.K.-based OEM Clade has expanded its Birch range of commercial propane (R290) heat pumps with a new 70kW (19.9TR)-capacity unit it says is capable of operating efficiently at ambient temperatures as low as −5°C (23°F).

The heat pump, which provides both space heating and hot water, can deliver flow temperatures up to 80°C (176°F) and has been designed as a “direct replacement” for traditional fossil fuel-based boilers, explains the manufacturer on its website.

It achieves “100% heat decarbonization without requiring modifications to your existing building infrastructure,” Clade says.

The unit can also be integrated into a bivalent heating system to enhance its versatility.

The new model closes the gap between Clade’s existing 50kW (14.2TR) Birch heat pump and its recently launched Rowan heat pumps, which cover heating capacities of 150–375kW (42.7–106.6TR).

The Birch heat pump range includes a number of features designed to enhance usability, safety and efficiency, such as a low-noise option, leak detection and hot gas defrost capabilities. Its compact design – it fits flush against walls – allows for installation in small spaces.

“We’ve listened to our customers and the market and developed the Birch to answer their needs,” Tim Rook, Clade’s Chief Marketing Officer, told NaturalRefrigerants.com.

Decarbonizing business

With a goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, the U.K. is focused on decarbonizing a number of sectors, including heating in the residential and commercial sector, which accounts for roughly one third of the country’s carbon emissions.

By 2035, the U.K. aims for all new heating applications in these sectors to be served by low-carbon technologies like heat pumps.

Rook highlighted that these policy shifts, the phase down of HFCs and advancements in technology are what’s driving the demand for propane heat pumps in the U.K.

“It’s partly environmental considerations about F-gas and PFAS [per- and polyfluorinated substances], partly the increase in [refrigerant] charge for smaller units and partly because we can achieve great COPs and a good temperature around 65°C [149°F],” he said. “Customers should choose natural refrigerants and recognize that electrification of heat also offers opportunities in grid flexibility.”

In addition to Clade’s propane heat pumps, the company manufactures a wide range of CO2 (R744) units for commercial applications to meet the varying needs of end users.

“Customers should choose natural refrigerants and recognize that electrification of heat also offers opportunities in grid flexibility.”

Tim Rook, Clade

More than 30 stores will be upgraded this summer, some of which will get new natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R systems.
Sonia Saini

Aldi UK, the U.K.’s fifth largest supermarket chain, is continuing to roll out natural refrigerants across its existing stores with a series of upgrades over the summer.

According to a statement from the retailer, 33 stores will undergo refurbishments in June, July and August. Changes will vary at the store level, but a number of these sites will get upgrades to their refrigeration systems, including new natural refrigerant-based technologies to reduce carbon emissions.

NaturalRefrigerants.com has contacted Aldi UK for additional information about the proposed refrigeration system upgrades.

“Finding ways to reduce any environmental impact as we continue to grow our store estate across the country is a vital part of these changes,” said Jonathan Neale, Managing Director of National Real Estate at the supermarket chain.

Other improvements include updating signage and redesigning store layouts to provide more space to shop, Aldi UK said.

Throughout 2024, Aldi UK plans to invest more than £90 million (€106.6 million/ $114.3 million) on store improvements at more than 100 locations.

“Finding ways to reduce any environmental impact as we continue to grow our store estate across the country is a vital part of these changes.”

Jonathan Neale, Aldi UK

NatRef journey

Aldi UK has been installing natural refrigerant-based systems at its new stores since the beginning of 2018, and its goal is to transition completely to natural refrigerants by the end of 2029. In the company’s existing stores, HFC-based equipment is being replaced by CO2 (R744) alternatives as stores are upgraded and when refrigeration equipment reaches its end-of-life, the retailer said in its latest sustainability report.

The retailer is also introducing heat recovery at newer stores, using waste heat from chillers to provide space heating. In new and refurbished stores, Aldi UK is installing doors on its refrigerated display cases, which it said will reduce each store’s energy use by around 20%.

In a LinkedIn post this week, U.K. HVAC&R manufacturer Clade said that it recently designed, manufactured and installed a full CO2 upgrade for an Aldi UK store in Birmingham. The system consisted of a refrigeration pack from Clade, a condenser from Coolers and Condensers, two condensing units from Panasonic and two evaporators from Rivacold.

In May 2023, German HVAC manufacturer Vaillant announced a five-year partnership agreement with Aldi UK to install its air-to-water aroTHERM plus propane (R290) heat pumps in all new store locations. Up to five of the 12kW (3.4TR)-capacity units will be installed at each location depending on store size and will provide both heating and cooling.

Additional industry commitments

Other U.K. retailers are also taking action on natural refrigerants. As of October 2022, the country’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, had installed transcritical CO2 systems at about 1,000 stores, or about one third of its locations, with plans to be HFC-free chain-wide by 2035.

According to Sainsbury’s Sustainability Report 2024, the retailer continues to “remove refrigeration systems using HFCs, replacing them with more efficient fridges using natural refrigerant gas.”

Asda committed to “implementing lower-carbon refrigeration” in its 2022 ESG Report. However, that same year, the retailer installed R410A-based air-conditioning equipment at four of its superstores.

Morrisons has also committed to transition to CO2-based refrigeration, more efficient display cases and heat recovery systems.

From propane chillers and heat pumps to ammonia and CO2 refrigeration systems, natural refrigerants are gaining ground down under.
Sonia Saini

Held every two years in Australia, the ARBS (Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Building Services) trade show offers perhaps the best window into the state of natural refrigerants down under. ARBS 2024 was in Sydney from May 28–30, and according to the show more than 9,000 visitors were in attendance to see new HVAC&R technology from more than 350 exhibitors.

ATMOsphere COO and Co-Founder Jan Dusek was one of the attendees, and over three days he compiled a list of highlights at the show. ATMOsphere is the publisher of NaturalRefrigerants.com.

Below are a few of Dusek’s insights into the state of natural refrigerants in Australia.

Propane highlights

A handful of manufacturers were touting new propane (R290) chillers and heat pumps, with several bringing units to the show and discussing their application in commercial HVAC systems. One of those OEMs, Johnson Controls, recently received a compliance certification from the state of Queensland for its R290 heat pumps and chillers.

Residential R290 heat pumps and hot water heaters were also on full display. Dusek said that, based on conversations he had at the show, the expectation is for the market to be split between R32 and R290, with propane having the edge.

Read more: Johnson Controls Ready to Supply Commercial R290 Chillers and Heat Pumps in Australia, Says Product and Tech Manager

CO2 highlights

Transcritical CO2 (R744) refrigeration systems continue to grow in popularity in Australia as end users such as Woolworths increase their adoption of the technology. In April, the supermarket chain celebrated the opening of its 100th store equipped with a transcritical CO2 system. 

Outside of food retail, Dusek also observed that the market for CO2 heat pumps continues to grow with “hundreds” of units on the market. Back in 2022, Jonathen Hindry, owner of the South Australia-based contractor Adelaide Heat Pumps, told NaturalRefrigerants.com his company was installing between 150–200 CO2 heat pump water heaters per year.

Ammonia highlights

Ammonia continues to hold a strong position in the industrial sector, both in terms of installations and local manufacturing. Dusek spoke with Stefan Jensen, Managing Director of Scantec Refrigeration Technologies, prior to the show and was told Scantec had a “full order book” through 2025 for its low-charge ammonia refrigeration systems.

Greg Clements, Head of Sales – Compression, at GEA in Australia confirmed the popularity of low-charge ammonia systems to Dusek in an interview. “Low-charge ammonia systems are becoming more mainstream,” he said, noting that industrial refrigeration in Australia boomed during the pandemic.

The heat pump provides heating and cooling for an industrial component cleaning machine with a combined COP of 5.6.
Sonia Saini

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) has developed a propane (R290) heat pump for an industrial component cleaning machine that requires just 255g of charge.

The machine requires both heating and cooling for its cleaning and drying processes, both of which were previously handled by electric heating and cooling components. According to ISE, the R290 heat pump achieved a combined heating and cooling COP of 5.6 relative to the electric-powered equipment previously in use. Given the size of the refrigeration circuit, ISE noted that the cleaning system would be compact enough to fit inside a room measuring just 16m2 (172.2ft2).

“As the cleaning and drying processes of the machine are carried out at both low and high temperatures, it is an ideal application for a heat pump,” said Clemens Dankwerth, Project Manager at ISE.

The power required to heat the process water for cleaning and rinsing the machine and the air for drying it were halved, and the energy needed for the heating fresh water was reduced by as much as 80%. Additionally, the condensation unit recycles the process exhaust air, recooling it in the process, which saves more than 10,000L (2,641.7gal) of fresh water annually.

ISE calculated that integrating the heat pump into the industrial component cleaning machine will bring an annual cost savings of €4,800 ($5,160) and reduction in CO2 emissions of approximately 12,600kg (27,748lbs). The figures were calculated for a facility operating two shifts per day, five days a week for 48 weeks a year.

“The use of heat pumps can make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of industrial processes,” said Dankwerth. The technology is also applicable to other processes that operate within the 50 to 70°C (122 to 158°F) temperature range, such as large dishwashers in canteens.

Previous R290 research

The refrigerant circuit for the industrial cleaning machine’s R290 heat pump came out of Fraunhofer ISE’s LC150 project, which set a goal of developing a residential heat pump that used 150g or less of propane. In November 2022, the research team announced they had created a heat pump with a heating capacity of 12.8kW (3.6TR) requiring a propane charge of 124g.

Fraunhofer ISE subsequently launched the LCR290 project to research and develop indoor-use propane heat pumps for multi-family buildings to replace gas and oil-based heating equipment.

ISE developed the R290 heat pump in collaboration with the Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE Bayern) and MAFAC E. Schwarz as part of the ETA in Existing Facilities project. The project seeks to increase energy efficiency in the German industrial sector. It was launched in November 2020 and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK).

“The use of heat pumps can make a significant contribution to the decarbonization of industrial processes.”

Clemens Dankwerth, Project Manager at ISE

The company offers 58 models in five different equipment lines, with its first chiller installation in the country set for July.
Sonia Saini

Johnson Controls is ready to supply its commercial propane (R290) chillers and heat pumps to the Australian market, according to Rickey Du, Product and Technology Manager of Industrial Refrigeration at Johnson Controls for Australia and New Zealand. 

 Du told NaturalRefrigerants.com in an exclusive interview at the Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration and Building Services (ARBS) 2024 Expo that Johnson Controls has a total of 58 models in five different series of its YAS R290 lineup now available in the Australian market, with capacities ranging from 30 to 400kW (8.5 to 114TR). The ARBS 2024 Expo was held May 28‒30 in Sydney. 

 “Walking around [the Expo], you see quite a few smaller-scale R290 products, which indicates that the market demand is coming,” Du said. “We, however, are ready to go, and we are Queensland certified.” 

 Last month, the company received a “first-of-its-kind” compliance certification from the Queensland Resources, Safety and Health (RSH) statutory board for its York-brand YAS R290 units. “Approvals granted through this process are recognized throughout Australia, New Zealand and in some cases, internationally,” Johnson Controls said. 

 In addition, Du said that the two roughly 300kW (85TR)-capacity R290 chillers used to obtain the Queensland certification will provide air-conditioning for a commercial shopping center in the state. The propane units will replace existing HFC chillers, with the installation and commissioning of the new units set for mid-July. 

 Johnson Controls, headquartered in Cork, Ireland, also produces ammonia (R717)-based compressors, chillers and heat pumps for commercial and industrial use from various sub-brands, including Frick, Hybrid Energy and Sabroe. Last year, the company acquired U.S.-based M&M Carnot to enter the North American commercial and industrial CO2 (R744) refrigeration market. 

 In his conversation with NaturalRefrigerants.com, Du outlined the Queensland certification process, the different Johnson Controls equipment available in the Australian market and current sales of ammonia equipment in the region. 

“We are ready to go, and we are Queensland certified.” 

Rickey Du, Product and Technology Manager of Industrial Refrigeration at Johnson Controls for Australia and New Zealand.

 The interview has been edited for length and clarity. 

 What motivated Johnson Controls to bring R290 equipment to Australia? 

 Rickey Du: A year or two ago, while looking through our product portfolio, I saw we had R290 products available in the European market. Due to Australia’s carbon-neutral initiatives and sustainability goals, I saw the potential market demand for R290 equipment. To put ourselves in a better position to serve the market, I thought we should bring this product to Australia.

When a client approached me with a potential project for R290 chillers, we realized the location in Queensland presented a barrier with the state’s strict hydrocarbon requirements. We took the challenge and decided to get the certification. 

 Can you walk us through the Queensland certification process? What did it involve? 

 RD: It is a comprehensive process to ensure all standards are well met. An accredited third party comes to the factory to inspect and test the equipment. If they find something that does not meet the local standards, they allow you to fix it. For example, we had to replace several critical components compliant with European standards but not accepted in Australia. 

 Once the equipment passes the third-party inspection, they release a final report, which you submit with other engineering details to a certifier who makes the final decision. If you work with a third-party certifier, you will pass the certification. 

 Not every equipment model requires inspection and testing. Once your representative model passes the inspection and test, it applies to all your equipment, though you must guarantee that all models will use the same level of design and detail. 

 What R290 chillers and heat pumps are Johnson Controls making available in Australia? 

 RD: We have five different series lines, which include a standard chiller, producing 6 to 12°C (42.8 to 53.6°F) water for commercial building applications or −2°C (28.4°F) brine for other applications. We also have a water chiller that has an extra coil attached to the condenser to provide free cooling when the ambient air temperature is lower than the water return temperature. Then there is our low-temperature chiller, producing brine down to −14°C (6.8°F) for industrial food and beverage process cooling applications 

For heat pumps, we offer a reversible heat pump and a four-pipe multifunction unit, providing heating and cooling or simultaneous heating and cooling. 

 What type of ammonia equipment is Johnson Controls selling in Australia? 

 RD: We have been promoting ammonia heat pumps over the last few years, and that side of the business is going very strong. In the past two years, we have sold 12 heat pumps in the New Zealand market for food processing applications with temperature outputs varying from 65 to 90°C (149 to 194°F).

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