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ATMO Award/Europe 2023 winners
ATMO Award/Europe 2023 winners, at the ATMO Europe 2023 conference in Brussels. From left: Ruben De Vos and David Shalenbourg, Delhaize Belgium; Henrik Harborg Blicher, DIN Forsyning; Klaus Jensen, Ebbe Nørgaard and Kim Christensen, Fenagy; Jürgen Süß and Henning Altebäumer, Ecooltec.

ATMO Europe: Delhaize, DIN Forsyning, Bas Eickhout, Ecooltec and Fenagy win ATMO Awards

The winners were recognized for advancing the adoption of natural refrigerant-based technologies in Europe through their innovations, installations and advocacy.

ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com and organizer of the ATMOsphere (ATMO) Europe Summit 2023, announced the winners of the ATMO Awards/Europe during a ceremony on September 19 at the Summit in Brussels, Belgium.

The awards honor excellence in the development and implementation of natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R systems, as well as advocacy for those systems. Awards were given in five categories:

  • Best in Sector/Retail, to Delhaize
  • Best in Sector/Industrial, to DIN Forsyning
  • Person of the Year, to Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Bas Eickhout
  • Innovation of the Year/Refrigeration, to Ecooltec’s TM182 transport refrigeration machine; runners-up were Viessmann’s ESyCoolgreen modular system, Copeland’s CO₂ Scroll Refrigeration units, and Energy Recovery/Fieuw Koeltechniek’s  PX G1300 Energy Efficiency Module.
  • Innovation of the Year/Heat Pumps (presented for the first time), to Fenagy’s heat pump range; runners-up were Hanon Systems’ R744 heat pump for electric vehicles, Copeland’s YHV*RG low-sound variable-speed scroll compressors, and Güntner’s flat VARIO dry coolers.

The awards were based on industry nominations and other criteria. The Best in Sector awards and the Person of the Year were selected by ATMOsphere, which also selected a short list of Innovation of the Year product finalists. Online voting by industry stakeholders leading up to and at ATMO Europe determined the winner of the Innovation of the Year awards.

These awards follow the ATMO awards that were presented for the North American market at ATMO America in June in Washington, D.C.

Best in Sector awards

The Best in Sector awards are given to end users who have done the most to advance adoption of natural refrigerant-based systems.

The winner of the Best in Sector/Retail award is Delhaize.

Delhaize, part of the global Ahold Delhaize Group, is proactively installing natural refrigerant systems. Operating in Belgium and Luxembourg, Delhaize, runs 140 corporate stores, of which 84 use transcritical CO2 refrigeration while another 34 employ CO2 for negative cooling. Of the affiliated stores (with independent owners), 344 out of 760 refrigerate with transcritical CO2 systems. The company is rolling out CO2 refrigeration at Delhaize stores in Belgium and Luxembourg stores at “the pace of remodelings.”

Delhaize is doing this despite going through massive restructuring over the past year, including major job cuts and other changes. “Delhaize has continued to install natural refrigerant systems,” said Marc Chasserot, CEO of ATMOsphere, in presenting the award. “This is not what the typical end user would do; the typical end user would cut back on expensive new technology. But Delhaize insisted on accelerating its transition to natural refrigerants; it’s in its DNA.”

Delhaize is expanding its rollout across Europe, and, because they are part of a global company, “will be able to share its know-how with the rest of the world,” he added.

The winner of the Best in Sector/Industrial award is DIN Forsyning.

DIN Forsyning is a Danish utility using two industrial-sized heat pumps and seawater off the coast from the Wadden Sea to decarbonize heating from coal for an entire town, Esbjerg, Denmark, (25,000 households) by 2030. The emissions savings is 100,000 metric tons of CO2e, equivalent to that of about 55,000 cars per year.

DIN Forsyning is decarbonizing the city’s thermal energy supply by connecting the district heating network to what it calls the world’s first cross-sectoral ETES (Electro-Thermal Energy Storage), from MAN Energy Solutions.

The utility company said that CO2 refrigerant is an optimal choice due to both operational and especially environmental reasons. It credited MAN for providing “an innovative solution” where the critical main components are known from other applications. It also said “the reason we can dare to be the first is that we can run a low-temperature operation on the district heating network, as a result of optimization and years of focus on customers’ return temperature.”

Person of the Year

The Person of the Year Award honors a single individual who has done the most to advance the adoption of natural refrigerant technology in HVAC&R applications in Europe.

The winner of the Person of the Year award is MEP Bas Eickhout

Bas Eickhout, winner of the ATMO Award/Europe 2023 Person of the Year winner, at the ATMO Europe 2023 conference in Brussels.
Bas Eickhout, winner of the ATMO Award/Europe 2023 Person of the Year winner, at the ATMO Europe 2023 conference in Brussels.

Eickhout first introduced application bans in the revision of the EU F-gas Regulation in 2014. He recently has led the negotiations within the European Parliament to set the stage for the phase out of f-gases (both HFCs and HFOs) where technologically possible in the upcoming revision of the EU F-gas Regulation.

As a result of his efforts, this year the European Parliament adopted an ambitious position on the revision, supporting an HFC phase out by 2050 and multiple bans on f-gases in applications such as heat pumps and stationary refrigeration.

In particular, in Annex IV – Placing on the market prohibitions on new system, a number of amendments banning f-gases, which were subject to fierce debate among political groups, were adopted. In addition, the phase out of HFCs by 2050 takes the phase down of 80% to 85% between 2036 and 2047 in the Kigali Amendment to a more ambitious level.

Moreover, amendment 139 to “Article 35 – Review” strictly binds this legislation to the PFAS restriction process taking place with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA), which is considering petitions from five European countries to regulate a number of f-gases as PFAS (so-called forever chemicals).

Currently, three-way negotiations (a Trialogue) are underway between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council of the EU to finalize the regulation. An agreement is expected to be reached soon.

“The considerable ambition of the Parliament’s vote suggests that the final revision of the Regulation will reflect significant changes in the use of refrigerants in the EU, with a major boost to natural refrigerants – in no small part thanks to Bas,” said Chasserot.

Innovation of the Year Awards

The Innovation of the Year is given to the company that has produced a natural refrigerant-based product that has had, or is expected to have, a significant impact on the market. The products can be complete systems or components of systems.

The winner of the Innovation of the Year/Refrigeration is Ecooltec’s TM182 transport refrigeration machine.

Ecooltec’s TM182 is a “new generation of transport refrigeration machines” for use on commercial vehicles, the company said. The unit runs on electricity, which can be sourced from the truck’s engine via an in-house, high-performance alternator, a battery or a separate power generator. It consumes 60–80% less energy than a conventional diesel-powered system, according to Ecooltec.

The TM182 uses a low charge of propene (R1270) as the primary refrigerant, together with CO2 in the secondary circuit inside the body of the truck. To reduce the risk of leakage, the propene is contained in a fully hermetic circuit, and the refrigeration process occurs outside the cargo hold.

The winner of the Innovation of the Year/Heat Pumps is Fenagy’s heat pump range.

Fenagy’s range of heat pumps is based on electric refrigeration systems and heat pumps using CO2 as refrigerant. All heat pumps are designed “with the correct ejector technology and compressor setup to deliver the optimal performance in accordance with the customers’ specific operation needs,” the company said.

The manufacturer’s heat pumps range from 300kW (85TR) to 2,600kW (1,739TR) per rack. All heat pumps are designed with the “correct ejector technology and compressor setup,” said Fenagy, adding, “The necessity for a green change is evident and Fenagy’s mission is to help making the future’s refrigeration and heat production CO2 neutral.”

“Delhaize insisted on accelerating its transition to natural refrigerants; it’s in its DNA.”

Marc Chasserot, CEO, ATMOsphere

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