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Atmospheric HFO degradation products TFA and TFE, the study says, have pathways to generating HFC-23, which has a GWP of 14,600.

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

A new study points to a link between the long-term fate of HFO degradation products in the atmosphere and the formation of HFC-23, a potent global warming gas with a 100-year GWP of 14,600 (IPCC, AR6).

The study – “On the Chemical Pathways Influencing the Effective Global Warming Potential of Commercial Hydrofluoroolefin Gases” – was published April 4 in the journal ChemSusChem. Its author is Gabriel Salierno, a Green Chemist at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts/Lowell.

Widely used HFOs such as HFO-1234yf and HFO-1234ze(E) have a very low GWP (less than 1), and HFO-1336mzz(Z) has a GWP of 2; but if their atmospheric degradation products ultimately produce HFC-23, their effective GWP would be much higher, the study explains. These degradation products include trifluoroacetic acid (TFA), trifluoroacetaldehyde (TFE) and trifluoroacetyl fluoride (TFF), all considered per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or “forever chemicals,” under a generally accepted definition set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

TFA results from the total atmospheric decomposition of HFO-1234yf and other f-gases and is known to be captured in the atmosphere by rainwater, which distributes it throughout the environment with possible health impacts. TFE is formed from the complete atmospheric breakdown of HFO-1234ze(Z) and HFO-1336mzz(Z). (TFF is rapidly transformed into TFA via hydrolysis.) “Although the atmospheric reaction networks of TFE, TFF, and TFA have a fair level of complexity, the relevant atmospheric chemical pathways are well characterized in the literature, enabling a comprehensive hazard assessment of HFC-23 formation as a secondary HFO breakdown product in diverse scenarios,” the study said.

Given the link to HFC-23 formation, a “lower bound” of the “effective [100-year] GWP” of HFOs would be above regulatory thresholds, which in Europe and the U.S. is 150. “While further research is crucial to refine climate risk assessments, the existing evidence suggests a non-negligible climate hazard associated with HFOs,” the study said.

The definition of GWP considers the average atmospheric lifetime of a gas but only includes the GWP of degradation products “after high confidence confirmation,” the study said. But “if there is at least a 2% chance of HFC-23 formation over the course of 100 years, that would be sufficient for HFO gases to have an effective GWP over regulatory thresholds.”

HFC-23 has historically been primarily generated during the production of HCFC-22, an ozone-depleting gas that has been prohibited globally. HFC-23 destruction is mandatory for parties to the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the 2016 global agreement to phase down HFCs.

Current atmospheric levels of HFC-23 have experienced a significant increase, and 55% of the excess “is not explained” by the failure of countries to meet reduction targets of HFC-23 emissions and HCFC-22 production, the study said. “There is a gap in the understanding of current atmospheric HFC-23 concentration trends that motivates the present review as a comprehensive global warming hazard assessment of HFOs.”

Since TFA is the one of the most likely breakdown products of HFOs with three or four carbon atoms and many other PFAS, conversion to HFC-23 “is a hazard that cannot be overlooked and might explain unexpected but certain atmospheric HFC-23 surges,” the study said.

The study recommended a reevaluation of the low-GWP designation of commonly used HFOs. “While these substances do have a relatively short atmospheric lifespan, their tendency to break down into HFC-23 can have significant, yet often overlooked, implications for the global efforts to address climate change.”

Leading to HFC-23

While HFOs are acknowledged to degrade in the atmosphere primarily to TFE and TFA, many secondary breakdown pathways “are notably leading to HFC-23” within 100 years, the study concluded.

For example, it was recently found that HFC-23 and carbon monoxide are the primary product of the fast, spontaneous and unimolecular ultraviolet (UV) B-facilitated decarbonylation of TFE. Thus, sunlight operating about half the day can lead to an effective 100-year GWP of 1,920 ± 900 for HFOs like HFO-1234ze(E) and HFO-1336mzz(Z) that break into TFE, according to the study. The study described decarbonylation of TFE by UVB radiation as having “medium environmental likelihood,” adding, “This pathway alone suggests that these HFOs could be significant global warming agents.”

The study noted that research funded by fluorocarbon gas manufacturers suggests that TFE would not produce HFC-23. However, the study found that “the methods employed to disprove the formation of HFC-23 from TFE via photolytic decarbonylation” to be insufficient. The American Chemistry Council did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the study.

For TFA, the study points to several “decarboxylation pathways” that produce HFC-23 and CO2, both in the atmosphere and on or near Earth.

For example, visible sunlight offers a decarboxylation route for TFA with “high environmental likelihood” and a 3,500–14,800 effective 100-year GWP contribution. In particular, TFA present in water aerosol is “susceptible to reacting with widely available visible sunlight,” and “HFC-23 production is thermodynamically favored.” Moreover, the increase of TFA in surface waters seen in a number of studies “exacerbate the concentration of TFA in re-evaporated water aerosols.”

Another pathway to HFC-23 from TFA, hydrothermal decarboxylation from ocean heat, is unlikely considering typical ocean temperature ranges – though it may become more likely as ocean heat content increases to record-breaking levels, the study said. This process has “medium-to-low environmental likelihood” but would be “substantial” at temperatures exceeding 35°C (95°F), with a 111–800 effective 100-year GWP contribution.

In addition, certain aerobic soil microorganisms and fungi – such as mycorrhizal fungi, particularly Pisolithus tinctorius – are able to convert TFA into HFC-23 via decarboxylation, with “medium- to-low environmental likelihood,” the study said.

Finally the study noted that hydroxyl (OH) radicals – which are the catalyst for converting HFO-1234yf into TFA – can convert up to 20% of gaseous TFA into HFC-23. But given that this competes with rainwater for the attention of TFA (wet deposition), the study said the formation of HFC-23 in this case has “low environmental likelihood” with a 0–3,000 effective 100-year GWP contribution.

The Office of Air and Radiation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has calculated the net benefit of $265–$270 billion from phasing down HFCs, considering both climate benefits and compliance costs. However, the study noted that models estimating the social costs of greenhouse gases (SC-GHG) do not incorporate “environmental fate reactions” and are limited to describing climate impact using GWP based on gases’ atmospheric lifetimes.

Thus, incorporating secondary HFC-23 generation into the analysis of HFOs “reveals the possibility of a substantially higher SC-GHG relative to their market price and expected profits,” the study said. “This signifies that the environmental impact of HFOs may exceed their economic feasibility, thereby warranting careful consideration of the trade-offs between commercial interests and climate change mitigation efforts.”

Other studies

Another recent study has determined that three HFOs react with ozone when they are released into the atmosphere to produce HFC-23. The study, “Ozonolysis can produce long-lived greenhouse gases from commercial refrigerants,” was published on December 11, 2023, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

The study found in experiments that three HFOsHFO-1234ze(E), HFO-1336mzz(Z) and HFO-1243zf – generated HFC-23 by reacting with ozone (ozonolysis), with HFO-1234ze(E) producing more than eight times as much R23 as the other two. But two other HFOs – HFO-1234yf and HCFO-1233xf – did not produce R23 from ozone in the experiments.

In addition, a 2021 study by researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, Australia, linked production of HFC-23 in the atmosphere to HFO-1234ze(E) as a result of oxidation by OH radicals and photolysis (action of light) of degradation product TFE.

“While these substances do have a relatively short atmospheric lifespan, their tendency to break down into HFC-23 can have significant, yet often overlooked, implications for the global efforts to address climate change.”

– Gabriel Salierno, author of “On the Chemical Pathways Influencing the Effective Global Warming Potential of Commercial Hydrofluoroolefin Gases”

The fact sheet provides a high-level overview of when bans on F-gases will affect the refrigeration sector.

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

ATMOsphere, publisher of NaturalRefrigerants.com, has released a new fact sheet detailing the impact of the European Union’s recently revised F-gas Regulation on the refrigeration sector.

The regulation, which became law on March 11, mandates a complete phase out of HFCs across the EU by 2050. This will occur in stages, with the first bans affecting the refrigeration industry beginning on January 1, 2025. 

The new ATMOsphere fact sheet, “EU F-gas Version 3.0 – What Does It Mean for the Refrigeration Sector,” provides an overview of when these bans will come into effect and the equipment and F-gases they target.

In addition to providing an overview of the upcoming F-gas bans, the new fact sheet details the impact of four additional key measures contained in the revised EU F-gas Regulation. These are:

    • The 2050 consumption ban and the measures put in place to prevent the illegal HFC trade
    • A requirement to provide the 20-year GWP of HFCs and HFOs alongside the 100-year GWP
    • The establishment of a link between F-gases and PFAS (per- and polyfluorinated substances)
    • A mandate for the establishment of training and certification programs for alternative refrigerants, including natural refrigerants

The fact sheet also shows the clear relationship between HFCs and emissions, with a graph showing the estimated decrease in megatons of CO2e across the EU thanks to the revised EU F-gas Regulation.

The fact sheet can be viewed and downloaded below.

The application deadline is May 31, 2024, and the awards will be announced on June 30, 2024.

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

The Natural Refrigeration Foundation (NRF), a nonprofit education, research and training association that is part of the U.S.-based International Institute of All-Natural Refrigeration (IIAR), is seeking applications from incoming junior and senior undergraduate engineering students for its NRF Founder’s Scholarship awards.

The scholarship is awarded each year to students exhibiting “exceptional character and pursuing an engineering or related technical degree leading to a career in the refrigeration field,” says IIAR. It is open to undergraduate students attending a four-year accredited college or university.

Scholarship funds are applicable to tuition only and are paid directly to the recipient’s college or university. The scholarship also provides additional funds for registration, travel, lodging and meals associated with attending IIAR’s Annual Natural Refrigeration Conference & Expo during the spring of their junior year.

Scholarship requirements and a link to the online application form can be found here. Application deadline is May 31, 2024. The awards will be announced on June 30, 2024.

For junior-year students, the scholarship consists of $4,000 to be paid in two equal installments of $2,000. Juniors must attend the IIAR conference and maintain the minimum grade-point average (GPA) in order to trigger a disbursement increase in their senior year.

For senior-year students, the scholarship includes $9,000 to be paid in two equal installments of $4,500 for recipients who attended IIAR conference during the spring of their junior year. For those who did not attend the conference, the amount is $4,000 to be paid in two equal installments of $2,000

Addressing climate change

 To qualify for the scholarship, students must be enrolled in an engineering field such as mechanical, electrical, civil, environmental, industrial, manufacturing, agricultural and chemical, or computer science, automation and mechatronics. “Applicants must be pursuing a degree in one of these fields and have a proven interest in applying their skills in the commercial and industrial refrigeration industry using natural refrigerants,” says IIAR.

“Engineers working in the industrial refrigeration industry have the opportunity to help address the urgent issue of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by applying environmentally friendly natural refrigerants in energy efficient refrigeration and heat pump systems,” adds IIAR.

In addition, students must have completed 45 semester credit hours (or equivalent) or 90 quarter credits at the time of application, and must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (3.75 on a 5.0 scale) towards an engineering degree. Two letters of recommendation are also required.

Known since its founding in 1971 as the International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration, the IIAR is now “doing business as” the International Institute of All-Natural Refrigeration, reflecting its expanded focus on all natural refrigerants, including CO2 (R744) and hydrocarbons as well as ammonia (R717), in both industrial and commercial refrigeration.

In 2022, IIAR implemented a similar change to the name of its nonprofit  education, research and training foundation from the Ammonia Refrigeration Foundation (ARF) to the Natural Refrigeration Foundation. The NRF “promotes the climate-positive, safe, reliable, and efficient use of the most earth-friendly natural refrigerants through research and scholarships to develop industry talent, academic alliances, and outreach.”

“Engineers working in the industrial refrigeration industry have the opportunity to help address the urgent issue of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by applying environmentally friendly natural refrigerants in energy efficient refrigeration and heat pump systems.”

– IIAR

Using waste heat as its heat source, the HoegTemp high-temperature heat pump can produce steam at up to 200°C.

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

A recent study has found that a helium (R704) high-temperature industrial heat pump developed by Norwegian OEM Enerin and installed at a biogas facility near Stavanger, Norway, can convert waste heat into useful high-temperature steam heat at up to 200°C (392°F). 

The study, “Performance of a High-Temperature Industrial Heat Pump, Using Helium as Refrigerant,” was authored by Arne Høeg, Kristian Løver and Gunnar Vartdal from Enerin. The study was presented at the High-Temperature Heat Pump Symposium 2024, held in Copenhagen from January 23–24.

“This type of heat pump is very well suited for high-temperature lift applications where it will deliver competitive COP and second-law efficiency,” the study wrote. “The HoegTemp heat pump is suited for applications where the source and sink temperatures vary according to the production profile of a factory and the availability of high-quality waste heat.”

The HoegTemp high-temperature heat pump (HTHP) in the study has been installed at the IVAR Central Treatment Plant Nord-Jæren since the summer of 2023. The raw biogas at the IVAR facility contains CO2 (R744), which must be removed before it can be sold. IVAR employs an amine process, using chemicals to capture and absorb the CO2. This requires steam heat at up to 200°C and cooling, both of which the HoegTemp HTHP provides.

According to the study, the HoegTemp heat pump has a capacity of 400kW (113.7TR). In simulations it was able to achieve a COP of 1.4 from a heat source averaging 21°C (69.8°F) and produce 202kW (57.4TR) of heating capacity. The study said the heat pump’s performance has not yet been mapped across its temperature range for its max output of 400kW.

Unique design

Enerin’s heat pump operates on the Stirling cycle, which is not dependent on the boiling and condensation of refrigerants. This thermodynamic cycle describes the operation of a type of reciprocating heat engine or heat pump with external heat transfer. It is ideal for high-temperature applications largely because it operates in a closed-loop system that moves the same gas back and forth rather than relying on the phase change of a refrigerant.

Helium is inert and non-toxic with zero ODP or GWP. Noble gases like helium can handle temperature from near absolute zero (−273.15°C/−460°F) to about 250 to 350°C (482 to 662°F), to cover heating and cooling needs.

Future plans

An Enerin spokesperson told NaturalRefrigerants.com that the company is planning to nearly double the capacity of the HoegTemp HTHP.

“The current design of our heat pump has a capacity of 400kW [113.7TR], but we are aiming to expand this, offering modules that can deliver up to 1MW [284.3TR] of heating capacity,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also shared insights from the ongoing SUSHEAT project. SUSHEAT is a project focused on developing and testing new technologies for hybrid renewable industrial heat systems. These systems are designed to provide heat for industrial processes as needed, helping to reduce the industrial sector’s dependency on fossil fuels and decrease emissions.

“We are actively mapping the heat pump’s performance across a wide operating range, with source temperatures up to 130°C [266°F] and sink temperatures up to 250°C [482°F].”

Enerin has begun sales of the HoegTemp HTHP, selling one unit to pharmaceutical company GE Healthcare and another to fish and feed company Pelagia. Both have purchased the HoegTemp HTHP for their facilities in Norway, with the two sales reportedly fetching a combined €3.5 million ($3.7 million).

“We are actively mapping the heat pump’s performance across a wide operating range, with source temperatures up to 130°C [266°F] and sink temperatures up to 250°C [482°F]”

CEO of Enerin As

 

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

Energy Recovery, a U.S. manufacturer of pressure exchangers, has announced the appointment of Robert DelVentura as a special advisor to CEO David Moon and the company’s CO2 (R744) business unit.

DelVentura has more than 35 years of experience in refrigeration technology and most recently worked with Heatcraft Refrigeration Products, a division of Lennox International, as Vice President of Global Innovations. At Heatcraft, DelVentura oversaw teams developing, testing and releasing new CO2 refrigeration technologies for commercial and industrial systems.

“I have worked with Robert for 20 years and can attest that he is one of the most insightful HVAC&R experts I know,” said Moon. “I am confident that his guidance will lead to further adoption of our game-changing PX G1300 energy efficiency technology within commercial and industrial refrigeration.”

Moon, with more than 25 years of leadership experience in commercial and industrial technology, was appointed Energy Recovery’s President and CEO last January.

“The board conducted a comprehensive search and has unanimously agreed David has the experience and skills the company needs as we focus on commercializing new applications of our PX technology platform,” said Pamela Tondreau, Chair of Energy Recovery’s Board of Directors.

“I am confident that his guidance will lead to further adoption of our game-changing PX G1300 energy efficiency technology.”

David Moon, President and CEO of Energy Recovery

Moving to refrigeration

The company’s pressure exchanger, originally designed for use in the desalination industry, was brought to the CO2 refrigeration market roughly three years ago. The device transfers pressure energy from the high-pressure CO2 side in a refrigeration system to the low side.

“The PX G1300 is an interesting solution that increases the efficiency of an environmentally friendly refrigerant, CO2,” said DelVentura. “With the regulatory landscape quickly moving from traditional HFCs to lower global warming potential alternatives, Energy Recovery’s technology could have a significant positive impact.”

The company claims its PX G1300 device can increase energy efficiency in CO2-based commercial refrigeration systems by up to 25% at ambient temperature conditions around 37°C (98.6°F) compared to standard CO2 boosters.

When operating in CO2 heat pump systems, Energy Recovery has found that the device could improve system COP by up to 35%, as shown in a modeled analysis of a 10MW (2,843TR) CO2-based district heating system.

Energy Recovery’s PX G1300 won the Innovation of the Year award at the ATMOsphere America Summit 2023. ATMOsphere, publisher of Naturalrefrigerants.com, organized the event.

The Altherma 4 HS-S+ series will be available in four sizes and be able to operate in ambient temperatures as low as −28°C.

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

Daikin Europe, a division of Japanese manufacturer Daikin Industries, has announced plans for a fall 2024 launch of its first-ever propane (R290) air-to-water residential heat pump, the Altherma 4 HS-S+ series.

The new heat pump will come in four sizes: 8, 10, 12 and 14kW (2.3, 2.8, 3.4 and 4.0TR). The company said it can operate “reliably” down to −28°C (−18.4°F) and provide water flow temperatures as high as 75°C (167°F). It has a propane charge of around 1.3kg (2.9lbs). Other refrigerant options for the unit include the HFC R32 and HFO-HFC blend R454C.

Daikin first presented the Altherma 4 series in January 2023.

“With the introduction of the Daikin Altherma 4 series, Daikin underlines its goal to reduce environmental impact throughout the product life cycle [and] promote the development of systems with high energy efficiency and the use of refrigerants with a lower global warming potential,” the manufacturer said.

The company said that its “newly developed” aluminum microchannel heat exchanger reduces the required refrigerant change to provide “optimal” heat transfer, increasing the efficiency and operational stability of the heat pumps.

For controls, the unit allows toggling between user and installer menus through an MMI 3 interface. “The [5in/12.7cm] touchscreen provides end users intuitive access to frequently used functions, [while] the integrated commissioning assistant helps the installer to set up the heat pump,” Daikin explained.

There has been a surge in recent years in the R290 residential heat pump market in Europe. The surge has been driven in large part by the European Union’s recently revised F-gas Regulation, which became law earlier this year and mandates the complete phase out of HFCs in the bloc by 2050. In February, Ireland-based Trane released a new line of R290 heat pumps for residential and light commercial use that it said were developed in response to the “evolving landscape” of climate and sustainability trends.

The U.S. has not seen the same boom in residential propane heat pumps due to charge limit restrictions, with ASHRAE saying it’s likely those will not be raised until “2025 or later.”

Safety features

Given R290’s flammability, Daikin designed and integrated several safety features into the Altherma 4 series, including:

  • A newly developed R290 gas separator
  • A sealed electrical circuit board box that uses plug-in internal electronic components
  • A propane leak detector combined with forced ventilation
  • Factoryinstalled frost protection valves
  • A stabilitytested refrigerant container for transportation and installation

In addition, the indoor unit contains a separate leak detector and gas separator, the company noted.

“This innovative series combines Daikin’s extensive expertise in heat pump technology with particularly low noise levels, optimal efficiency, user-friendly operation, modern design and high safety,” the company said.

Certified R290 partner

In preparation for launching the R290 Altherma 4 series, Daikin has also announced a second certification in its Stand by Me ‒ Certified Partner program focused on safely commissioning, maintaining and repairing this “new generation” of heat pump.

The training allows installers to obtain a certified partner label, Daikin said. “With this label, installers can assure homeowners that they are highly skilled professionals in heat pump installation.”

The second certification involves two 45minute online sessions focused on R290, with Daikin “encouraging” participants to attend an additional two days of in-person training at one of its 61 European training centers. The training covers the storage, transportation, installation, maintenance, repair and disposal of the R290 Altherma 4 series.

“This extended program emphasizes the importance of training and safety for Daikin,” said Patrick Crombez, General Manager of Heating and Renewables at Daikin Europe. “We have been offering training through our Daikin Academy training centers for many years, putting us at the forefront of safe, high-quality heating installation.”

Headquartered in Ostend, Belgium, Daikin Europe operates 14 manufacturing facilities in Europe and the Middle East, providing HVAC&R solutions for residential, commercial and industrial applications. Other propanebased equipment manufactured by the company includes retail plug-in showcases and monoblocks for cold rooms.

“This innovative series combines Daikin’s extensive expertise in heat pump technology with particularly low noise levels, optimal efficiency, user-friendly operation, modern design and high safety.”

Daikin Europe

End users participating in the accelerator program include Amazon, Target and IKEA.

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the launch of the Better Buildings Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator, a program that will see manufacturers produce “higher efficiency and life cycle cost-effective heat pump rooftop units” that will be implemented and evaluated by commercial end users, including Amazon, Target and IKEA.

Accelerating development: According to the DOE, heat pump rooftop units (RTUs) can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cut energy costs by up to 50% compared to RTUs using natural gas. However, fewer than 15% of commercial buildings in the U.S. have heat pumps installed.

  • The DOE’s new accelerator aims to change that, with a goal of bringing “more efficient, affordable next-generation heat pump RTUs” to the market by 2027.
  • Manufacturers will be tasked with building prototype heat pump RTUs that meet an “advanced technology specification” created by the DOE. Any manufacturer of commercial heat pumps can participate in the accelerator.
  • The DOE, National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other labs will assist manufacturers in developing and testing prototypes as well as with facilitating field tests with end users. Commercial participants will be provided with “resources and guidance” in deploying heat pumps.

What it means for NatRefs: While the press release announcing the accelerator did not mention natural refrigerants, when reached for comment, the DOE confirmed to NaturalRefrigerants.com that they are a focus.

  • “The accelerator is framed in two phases, with the first working to maximize efficiency via today’s technologies and the second focusing on higher-performance and very-low-GWP refrigerants,” the DOE told NaturalRefrigerants.com. “DOE is supporting research on very-low-GWP refrigerants, including natural refrigerants, working closely with safety and building code organizations, and supporting workforce development to accelerate the development and adoption of very-low-GWP refrigerant technology.”
  • The accelerator runs through December 2027. By then, ASHRAE may have already approved a charge limit increase of up to 4.9kg (10.9lbs) for flammable refrigerants, such as propane (R290), used in indirect outdoor heat pump systems. Even if approved by ASHRAE, the charge limit increase would need to be approved by UL and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

All in: In addition to its new accelerator, the DOE has been providing funding to ramp up domestic production of heat pumps in the U.S. and to increase the adoption of industrial heat pumps in industry.

  • In the past year, the agency has announced $232 million (€217 million) in funding to ramp up domestic production of residential heat pumps. 
  • More recently, it awarded $20.9 million (€19.6 million) to Unilever and $170.9 million (€160.4 million) to Kraft Heinz to assist both companies in incorporating heat pumps into their operations to help decarbonize their process heat.

Quotable: “Since 2011, DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative has helped pave the way for cost-effective energy efficiency and decarbonization solutions across America’s building sector,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “Our new Commercial Building Heat Pump Accelerator builds on more than a decade of public-private partnerships to get cutting edge clean technologies from lab to market, helping to slash harmful carbon emissions throughout our economy.”

Announced manufacturing partners:

  • AAON
  • Budderfly
  • Carrier Global Corporation
  • Lennox International
  • Rheem Manufacturing Company
  • Trane Technologies
  • York International Corporation

Announced commercial partners:

  • Amazon
  • Budderfly
  • Columbia Association
  • IKEA
  • kW Engineering
  • Los Angeles Unified School District
  • Life Time
  • South-central Partnership for Energy Efficiency as a Resource (SPEER)
  • Target
  • Whole Foods Market

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

ATMOsphere, publisher of NaturalRefrigerants.com and organizer of the ATMOsphere America Summit 2024, has announced the launch of the nomination process for the ATMO Awards/North America 2024.

The ATMO Awards/North America 2024, honoring excellence in the implementation of natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R systems, will be given during a special ceremony on the first day of the ATMOsphere America Summit 2024, June 10 in Washington, D.C. The conference will also take place on June 11.

An award will be given in each of four categories:

  • Best in Sector/Retail End User
  • Best in Sector/Industrial End User
  • Innovation of the Year
  • Person of the Year

ATMOsphere is inviting all stakeholders in the HVAC&R industry to submit nominations for companies in the Best in Sector/End User categories as well as for products in the Innovation of the Year category and an individual in the Person of the Year category.

The nomination form can be found here. The deadline for nominations is May 3. Register for the conference here.

Winners of the Best-in-Sector award, the End User award and the Person of the Year award will be announced at the ATMOsphere America 2024 conference. A short list of the finalists for the Innovation Awards will be announced prior to the conference, and then conference attendees will be able to vote for the winner in the days leading up to, and on, June 10.

Nominations for the Retail and Industrial Best-in-Sector/End User categories, Person of the Year and Innovation of the Year are welcomed from end users, manufacturers, academics, contractors, consultants, policymakers and others working with natural refrigerants within the HVAC&R industry. Companies and individuals may nominate themselves and their products or other companies, individuals and products.

In the Best-in-Sector categories, end user companies (retailers and industrial companies) will be recognized for implementing natural refrigerant systems that are part of new builds or remodels.

Criteria for assessing systems and companies include:

  • A reduction in energy consumption
  • A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions
  • Reproducibility
  • A business case encompassing capital, installation, operation, maintenance and training, and a return on investment
  •  Commitment to future natural refrigerant installations
  • Industry leadership
  • Innovation and perseverance

The Innovation of the Year awards will go to companies that have produced a natural refrigerant-based product that has had, or is expected to have, a significant impact on the market.

Criteria for assessing this product include:

  • Number of installations in the marketplace
  • Energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction
  • Ability to expand the adoption of natural refrigerants in the marketplace
  • Availability in the marketplace
  • User and technician friendliness

The Person of the Year Award will honor a single individual who has done the most to advance the adoption of natural refrigerant technology in HVAC&R applications in North America. This award could go to any individual, including end users, manufacturers, contractors, policymakers, academics and researchers.

Audo was most recently a VP and Managing Director at Carrier and brings 30 years of industry experience to the role.

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

Enex Technologies, an Italy-based HVAC&R manufacturer, has announced the appointment of François Audo as its new CEO.

Audo joins Enex from Carrier, where he served as Vice President and Managing Director of the company’s residential light commercial sector for Europe as well as the General Manager for Riello, an Italian HVAC&R company and Carrier subsidiary.

“Given the impact of fluorinated gases on global warming — F-gas leaks have a global warming impact equivalent to European aviation — as well as their contamination of water basins, completely phasing them out is a moral obligation that is also supported by the recent PFAS proposal and F-gas law,” Greg Deldicque, Founder and Chairman of Enex Technologies, told NaturalRefrigerants.com. “For Enex Technologies, the question is not if HVAC&R equipment should use F-gas or natural refrigerants but what is the best natural option for each application. This is why we have developed a full offering of CO2, ammonia, propane and water solutions.”

Maintaining momentum: Audo’s arrival at Enex Technologies comes hot on the heels of a string of acquisitions made in 2022 and 2023 and the opening of a new factory.

  • In October 2022, the company acquired refrigeration equipment maker Samifi France and heat exchanger producer Morgana. A month later, it announced the acquisition of the Emicon Group – consisting of the Italian companies Emicon, Hidros and Ethra Tech – manufacturers of commercial propane heat pumps, dehumidification equipment, close controls for data centers and chillers.
  • The company brought Spanish ammonia (R717) chiller manufacturer EOS Refrigeration into its portfolio in early 2023. In total, there are nine companies under the Enex Technologies umbrella.
  • Enex Technologies opened a new 7,500m2 (80,729ft2) headquarters and factory in Treviso, Italy, in 2022, which it said has enabled it to quadruple its manufacturing footprint. Six of Enex Technologies’ 12 factories are located in Italy.

Focused on natural refrigerants: Enex Technologies has been working with natural refrigerants since the 1930s, having first manufactured ammonia refrigeration systems. Today, the company offers a range of heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment that uses ammonia, CO2 (R744), propane (R290) and water (R718).

  • Enex Technologies is investing €6 million ($6.3 million) to develop a lab exclusively focused on researching CO2, propane, ammonia and water HVAC&R equipment. According to the company, this will be the only such research lab in Europe.
  • In January, Enex announced the launch of what it called the “first-ever” industrial CO2 flat gas cooler with a 140bar (2,031psi) pressure rating.

Looking forward: Enex Technologies has a goal to double its 2024 sales compared to 2022, which the company said would put it at €200 million ($213 million) in sales for the year.

  • By 2027, Enex Technologies is targeting €350 million ($373 million) in sales.
  • “I am thrilled to welcome François Audo to the role of CEO at Enex Technologies,” said Deldicque. “Throughout his 30 years of industry experience, he has clearly demonstrated great success working across cultures and multiple business models. François’ leadership will allow Enex to continue on its path of success.”

Quotable: “Enex Technologies is expected to continue its mission of reducing global warming impact through natural and energy-efficient solutions,” said Audo. “Our family of brands, which entails the full spectrum of HVAC, industrial and commercial refrigeration, and heat exchanger solutions committed to environmental sustainability and technological innovation, positions us well for future opportunities. I look forward to working with the strong team at Enex Technologies.”

The Gasmark M255 controller links to up to 255 detectors via a single wire.

Why It Matters

Sonia Saini

U.S. manufacturer CTI (Calibration Technologies Inc.) Gas Detection Specialists has unveiled two new products – a Modbus controller that can accommodate up to 255 gas detection devices, and a portable ammonia (R717) gas detector

Both products were released last October and showcased at the IIAR 2024 Natural Refrigeration Conference & Heavy Equipment Expo, held March 24-27 in Orlando, Florida.  They are manufactured at CTI’s headquarters in Columbia, Missouri.

The controller, called the Gasmark M255, connects to up to 255 “daisy-chained” devices via one wire, said Debbie Koske, Marketing Manager for CTI, adding, “Before, each detector had to be wired to the controller,” which increased the cost of installation.

Koske noted that another CTI controller, the GG-6, can connect to six detection devices and accommodate three expansion modules, each serving up to eight devices, for a maximum of 30.

The M255, which features a 10in (25.4cm) color LCD touchscreen, is well-suited to manage the multiple detectors used for ammonia refrigeration in industrial facilities, noted Koske. The IIAR-2 2021 safety standard calls for ammonia detectors in the compressor room, at entrances to the room and in rooms where refrigeration is required.

The M255 can interface to, but operate independently of, plant control systems as a stand-alone safety sys­tem. It comes with four Modbus channels, eight analog input channels and eight onboard relays, and is user programmable to trigger upon any event for any sensor or group of sensors.

The touchscreen displays real-time status of gas detector con­centrations and alarms, and allows for easier programming via a user-friendly menu system, CTI says on its website. A USB port allows for field software updates and provides a means to back up system programming.

First CTI-made portable device

The portable ammonia detector, called the Wingman F1, is the first personal detector manufactured by CTI; previously CTI only sold a unit from Honeywell. It can be clipped onto the wearer, preferably elevated on a shirt or jacket, said Koske.

The Wingman F1, which measures 2.7 by 2.6 by 1.6in (6.9 by 6.6 by 4.1cm) and weighs 4oz (113.4g), offers ammonia detection from  up to 500ppm, with a resolution of 1ppm. In addition to LED front lighting, it has an internal vibrating alarm for high noise areas. The event log stores up to 100 events with a time and date stamp. When full, the device uses wraparound memory to re­place oldest data with most recent.

“Facility personnel will find this a useful tool for monitoring ammonia levels independent of the facility’s fixed gas detection system,” says CTI.

“Before, each detector had to wired to the controller.”

Debbie Koske, CTI

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