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There are huge growing concerns the UK is being a hub for the sales of refrigerant in disposable cylinders, an illegal container that has been banned for use within Europe for over 10 years. With growing evidence of contractors and engineers being contacted with offers of refrigerant, including R410A and R404A in illegal disposable cylinders, a quick search on eBay reveals vendors offering R404A in disposables. Some of which are also the source of listings on other sites including Ireland & France.

Since pressure from the industry, eBay has deleted some of the items insisting that any listings that don’t comply with its policies will be removed.

All the suspect listings are using images of disposable cylinders and others clearly state in the product descriptions that the refrigerant will be provided within these illegal disposables. It is still not known whether the product is being imported from outside of the quota system, however, it is clearly avoiding UK customs inspections and policing by the Environmental Agency.

With the huge increases in the price of high GWP refrigerants in the UK and Europe, the market has seen some individuals seeking alternative sources for the gas, and with the lack of policing of the F-gas regulations is presenting them with the opportunity to make large profits.

Established refrigerant suppliers are raising concerns about the purity of some of this refrigerant and its effects on both system efficiencies and reliability. Of much greater concern is that the current high refrigerant prices might encourage a reappearance of dangerous counterfeits with caused a number of deaths in 2011. Some of the illegal refrigerants now removed from eBays UK marketplace also included the CFC’s R12 and R502 from a source in the USA.

Swedish Refrigeration group Beijer Ref AB have officially formed a joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to market MHI air conditioners throughout the UK and Ireland. Beijer Ref is the majority owner of the joint venture, which will be named 3D Plus. The joint venture is an outcome of Beijer Ref's strategy to work closely with its main suppliers.
 

“The UK and Ireland markets are important to us and we continuously look at different ways of growing our market share with key partners,” commented Beijer Ref CEO Per Bertland. “The technical expertise of MHI, and the distribution expertise of Beijer Ref, will be integrated to have a broader and more complete offering to the customers through this joint venture.”

The 3D Plus name recalls the former MHI distributor 3D Air Conditioning, which became part of the HRP group in 2004. In 2017 MHI spilt from it's UK distributor AMP following the purchase by Panasonic, a rival air conditioning manufacturer, which left Beijer Ref company HRP as the sole UK distributor for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

“Partnering with MHI on an exclusive basis will strengthen HRP’s position whilst 3D Plus will complement it by opening new doors,” commented Beijer Ref UK and Ireland MD John Billson.

Billson confirmed that 3D Plus will be run as a separate company from the South of England. Personnel have yet to be confirmed, but Beijer Ref is currently in the process of appointing a general manager.

“MHIAE and Beijer Ref have had a successful relationship collaborating in the Scandinavian market for many years,” revealed MHIAE managing director Masayuki Fujinami. “Through the formation of this joint venture, we are happy to be moving beyond a traditional manufacturer and distributor relationship and to joining our two companies together in a way that will allow us to harness our respective expertise and experience jointly.”

“It is our intention that 3D Plus will quickly become a similar size business to other Beijer Ref distribution channels in the UK,” added Per Bertrand. The MHI brand already has a strong market position which is a great platform for future growth. This joint venture further strengthens our partnership and we look forward to seeing the progress of 3D Plus.”

Bitzer has announced details of a new high-efficiency scroll compressor for air conditioning and HVAC applications.

At last month's Mostra Convego exhibition, Bitzer showcase the new Orbit+ models based on Bitzer’s currently available Orbit 6 and 8 series. These new units are equipped with a line start permanent magnet motor and improve the seasonal performance (SEER/IPLV) by up to 8% while also increasing cooling capacity by up to 5%.

The Orbit+ compressors can replace or be combined with standard Orbit models without redesigning the system significantly. The tandem and trio combinations are easily tailored towards system capacity and efficiency targets according to annual load characteristics and the customers’ specific needs. For even better capacity modulation, customers can add a frequency inverter like the Bitzer Varipack.

The Bitzer Orbit models recently introduced low-GWP A2L refrigerants, such as R454B and R452B and are designed to work with R410A. Similar to the Orbit 6 and 8 series that have already been introduced, the new Orbit+ models are able to operate with a frequency inverter at 35 to 75Hz while performing with a low sound level and low oil carry-over rate.

The compressors are interchangeable, which Bitzer says allows systems designers and manufacturers to simplify development work by using existing frameworks, footprints, piping layouts and manufacturing processes.

Bitzer has said they are easy to install, offer high energy efficiency when fully or partially loaded and have the lowest noise emissions in their capacity class. Energy consumption is extremely low, especially at low condensing temperatures, says Bitzer, where the Orbit Boreal series can be applied.

Bitzer

Beijer Ref UK and Ireland recently celebrated the tenth annual supplier dinner in Stockport. The dinner is in recognition of the supplier partnerships forged and in celebration of another successful trading year. One of the highlights of the evening was awarding Lawton Tubes as the 2016 ‘Supplier of the Year’. Pictured is Oliver Lawton receiving the award from John Billson, Beijer Ref UK and Ireland Managing Director.

Beijer Ref's net sales have been boosted by 8.5% in Q4 of 2016 due to contributions from the newly acquired UK based wholesaler HRP and by the Australian company Realcold.

 

The Swedish refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaling group maintains that the key to its rise in sales to SEK2, 199m (€232m) in the forth quarter was certainly influenced by a good performance in Central Europe, which in no small part was the contribution of the integration and turnaround of the previously loss making HRP.

Last years acquisition was delayed by the Competition and Markets Authority’s investigation in the UK with the integration finally being completed in the autumn.
 
“It is gratifying that we have reversed the development the newly acquired company in the United Kingdom. This acquisition now shows positive results,” commented CEO Per Bertland. He also commented on Beijer Ref’s overall quarter performance revealing that “November & December were especially positive” a trend he expects to continue into the new year.
 
A move viewed as positive is the signing in October of the Kigali agreement phasing down HFCs. “Through our broad offer of eco-friendly alternatives to HFC solutions, the decision provides good opportunities for Beijer Ref in a growing global market,” Bertland said.
 
He added “During the quarter, we continued to expand the range of products manufactured internally and will launch new products during 2017.” This focus on its manufacturing capabilities could be crucial to Beijer Refs continued growth.
 
“The operation is now increasing more rapidly than the traditional distribution operation. The OEM investment strengthens our offer in the market towards, among others, food stores. The OEM offer is important in enabling us to meet the increasing demand for eco-friendly solutions which we see in Europe and also increasingly in Australia and New Zealand.”
 
The company’s annual 2016 report is due to be published in March.

 

Cooling Post

 

 

 

CHILE: Beijer Ref’s Italian manufacturing subsidiary SCM Frigo has supplied the equipment for Chile’s first ever transcritical CO2 supermarket refrigeration system.

The 5,300m² Jumbo store in Chile’s southern city of Valdivia, which opened its doors on January 12, has become a showcase for sustainability. In addition to the incorporation of Chile’s first transcritical CO2 system, the store uses LED lighting throughout and includes a BMS systems for the intelligent control of all building system.

The project was implemented by the Ministry of Environment’s Ozone Unit and was funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The two SCM Frigo units, are designed for a total capacity of almost 400kW for medium temperature refrigeration and 100kW for the low-temperature requirement. They serve a total of 115 MT/LT cabinets and 30 cold rooms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hailing the installation as an opportunity to promote the technology in the country, Claudia Paratori, coordinator of the Ozone Unit said: “This project will connect the different actors in the cold chain supermarket sector and promote the adoption of this technology and help minimise the introduction of HFC-based systems in Chile.”

The project aims to highlight ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and introduce environmentally friendly technology. It also has economic benefits with approximately 20% in energy savings.

“After the adoption of the Kigali Amendment and the entry into force of the Paris agreement, nations and the industry must move quickly to seize the immediate opportunities at hand to avoid the growth of HFCs and realise energy efficiency gains of technology change in the refrigeration sector,” added Jacques Van Engel, director of the Montreal Protocol/Chemicals Unit, UNDP.

“Since sustainability is our challenge, we are proud to be part of this team contributing to the goal,” said SCM Frigo managing director Nicola Pignatelli.

Established in 1979, SCM Frigo became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Beijer Ref in 2014.

Despite the outcome of the EU Referendum, the cooling industry will not see any change to regulations covering the use of fluorinated refrigerant gases (F-Gas) or the requirement for refrigerant handling registration, according to experts.

While the original F-Gas Regulation (EC517/2014) emanated from Brussels and was driven by the European Commission, it was transposed directly into UK law. Therefore, it is now part of the British legal system and it would require Westminster to repeal one of its own laws for the industry’s F-Gas measures to be changed. The EU regulation itself has no legal status.

As a result, there will be no impact for the foreseeable future on companies operating in the UK market and no change to the mandatory requirements for certification with industry registration schemes like Refcom.

“Our government, the Environment Agency and regional equivalents are all committed to environmental responsibility so I cannot foresee any circumstance where we would rescind this law,” said Graeme Fox, senior mechanical engineer at the Building Engineering Services Association (BESA).

Competence

“The certification and personnel competence requirements have all been set at UK level. They are all different across the EU; even though we have the mutual recognition status between international schemes.

“So again, despite the Brexit vote, there will be no change to the requirements for legally working with fluorinated greenhouse gases and systems containing them here in the UK,” added Mr Fox, who is a former President of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration European Association (AREA) and a director of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board (ACRIB). 

A-Gas UK issue Statement on the outcome of the EU referendum.

“The outcome of the referendum has ushered in a significant period of uncertainty for the HVAC industry and the broader economy. The exact terms of Britain’s exit from the EU have still to be determined and are likely to take several years to complete. In the interim, it will be business as usual for A-Gas. The result has however, raised a number of questions from customers seeking clarity on some key issues.” said John Ormerod, A-Gas UK Managing Director.

How does this affect the F-Gas regulation?

“The F-Gas regulation has been adopted into UK law and therefore the provisions in it will still apply to the UK even after Brexit.”

What about exchange rates?

“We have already seen significant volatility in both the £/€ and £/$ exchange rates. This is likely to have an effect on the volatility of refrigerant prices as the cost of production is based on these currencies.”

Will Brexit affect refrigerant availability?

“We do not foresee specific problems in the supply chain arising from the referendum outcome. Our supply chain is protected by supply contracts and our own sources of reclaimed refrigerant place us in a good position to continue to meet our clients’ requirements.”

Currently, A-Gas say they are not answering any further questions on this.

Beijer Ref AB (publ) is pleased to announce that the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) has today unconditionally approved its acquisition of HRP Holdings Limited (“HRP”). The acquisition of HRP was announced in November 2015 and completed in February 2016. However, the CMA launched an investigation on its own initiative into the merger under United Kingdom merger control laws.

John Billson, Managing Director of Beijer Ref UK and Ireland

In reaching its decision, the CMA is satisfied that the merger will not substantially lessen competition Beijer Ref can now proceed with its restructuring plans for the HRP business, which has been run separately during the CMA’s investigation.

John Billson, Managing Director of Beijer Ref UK and Ireland, said that "we were highly confident that the acquisition of HRP would not reduce competition and are satisfied that the CMA has recognised this. My team and I can now get on and develop the HRP, 3D and HRP OEM brands".  He went on to say "I would like to take this opportunity to thank our suppliers, customers and employees for their understanding and support during this process."

 

Samsung air conditioning from HRP in ready for delivery

AREA has published a guide on equipment for low GWP flammable refrigerants. This guide gives service technicians a tool to understand the equipment that should be used to service refrigeration plants containing flammable low GWP refrigerants in category A2L (lower flammability) or A3 (higher flammability).

Alternative refrigerants to HFCs will be increasingly used as a result of the new EU F-gas Regulation and the probable future international phase-down of High Global Warming Potential Substances. Since many of these alternative refrigerants are flammable, it is very important to ensure that service technicians use the right equipment to handle them safely.

AREA, the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contractors association, has therefore decided to issue a guide to provide service technicians with a tool for installation, maintenance and repair of future equipment containing flammable low GWP refrigerants. This guide complements the AREA Guidance on minimum requirements for contractors’ training & certification, which deals with competence of personnel.

The guide is the result of work undertaken by the AREA Task Force Low GWP Refrigerants. Marco Buoni, its Chairman and Vice-President of AREA, said: “Low GWP refrigerants will already be more widely used from this summer. It is part of AREA’s role to advise and assist service technicians both in Europe and worldwide so that they can handle these new systems safely.”

DOWNLOAD THE AREA GUIDE HERE