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.
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).
“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.
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."
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.”
GERMANY: Following an extensive qualification program, compressor specialist BITZER has announced approval of the R1234yf and R1234ze(E) HFO refrigerants for its CSH and CSW screw compressors. The two alternatives to R134a have a global warming potential (GWP) of under ten, while the GWP of R134a is around 1,400. With a GWP of about 600 each, the HFO/HFC blends R513A and R450A are also approved for the CSH and CSW series. Unlike the pure HFO refrigerants, they’re nonflammable.
The requirements stipulated by the EU’s F-gas Regulation no. 517/2014 also represent a huge challenge for manufacturers of refrigeration compressors. In order to meet the phase-down objectives, alternative refrigerants such as hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) will have to be used in the future. The volumetric refrigerating capacity and pressure levels of R1234yf are comparable with those of R134a, while the capacity figures and pressure levels of R1234ze(E) are around 20 to 25% lower. BITZER subjected the R1234yf and R1234ze(E) refrigerants in this group to intensive testing, and the compressors performed well with both in all of the tests and laboratory experiments. The tested compressors achieved nearly identical isentropic efficiency values with R1234yf and R1234ze(E) as with R134a. Due to differences in the thermodynamic properties, the COP measurement results are in some cases slightly lower.
Both of the HFOs are suitable for air conditioning and medium temperature applications in particular, as well as for heat pumps. There’s often a degree of uncertainty regarding flammability. In safety data sheets, R1234ze(E) is listed as nonflammable, though this only applies to transport and storage. When used as a refrigerant, a higher reference temperature of 60°C is applied in flammability tests. At this temperature, R1234ze(E) is flammable and therefore assigned to the A2L safety group, just like R1234yf. For this reason, a risk assessment in accordance with the ATEX Directive is required for systems with both refrigerants – with potential consequences in the system design. BITZER compressors for HFO refrigerant fulfill the relevant requirements, making additional evaluation unnecessary.
HFO/HFC blends such as R513A and R450A, on the other hand, are nonflammable and therefore classified in the A1 safety group. Using them requires nothing more than a conventional risk assessment in accordance with the Machinery Directive. However, the substitutes R513A and R450A have a GWP of around 600.
After evaluating all of the results, BITZER has announced approval of the HFO refrigerants R1234yf and R1234ze(E) and the HFO/HFC blends for CSH and CSW compact screw compressors. These tried-and-tested products can be operated with the standard ester oil charge (Y-model) with HFO refrigerants in the documented applications.
Detailed technical descriptions with performance data and application limits can be found in the SP-171-3 (CSH) and SP-172-6 (CSW) documentation. The corresponding data will be provided in the BITZER software in due time.
CSH and CSW: high energy efficiency
The universal CSH and CSW compact screw compressors can also be used with the economizer circuit to further increase refrigerating capacity and efficiency. They’re fitted with dual capacity control and can be adjusted infinitely or according to scale. The level of energy efficiency is a benchmark in this compressor technology in both full-load and part-load operation.
CSH compressors demonstrate their strength particularly in air cooled liquid chillers for comfort air conditioning and in heat pumps. The CSW series is suitable for use in liquid chillers operated at low condensing temperatures. The compressors are used in systems with water cooled condensers, process cooling and systems with air cooled condensers operating under moderate climatic conditions.
EUROPE: The European association of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contractors (AREA) has today published a paper on the European strategy on heating and cooling which is due to be published by the end of the year. Stating that heating and cooling should be addressed in its own right and in a comprehensive way rather than scattered as part of other policies.
In the paper AREA re-affirms its general commitment to the objectives of the EU energy and resource efficiency policy. They do however say that as refrigeration and air conditioning technologies are responsible for a significant share of the global energy consumption, other aspects should be duly considered in the upcoming strategy, notably the role of refrigerant and the necessity to maintain contractors’ skills and knowledge.
The following are key points taken from AREA’s paper. The full text can be viewed here.
RACHP Contractors are technology providers at every scale
AREA say the Commission’s working document (issue paper III on technologies) rightly points out the key role of installers, who are the “intermediaries bringing together the technology and the user”.
However, AREA strongly opposes further descriptions of installers in this Commission’s working document. Installers are indirectly referred to as “bottlenecks” due to an alleged lack of training and supposed dislike of ‘non-conventional products’. Such an assumption is generic, simplistic and unsubstantiated.
Contractors are neutral toward technologies
RACHP contractors use every available solution with complete technology neutrality and with the sole aim of ensuring the highest level of reliability, energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness. They provide tailor-made solutions based on users’ specific needs. They work at all scales, from household air conditioning equipment to industrial refrigeration installations.
AREA strongly believes there is a place for all types of cooling technologies, simply because there is no ‘miracle technology’ that provides a one-size-fits-all solution. In this regard, the Commission’s working documents seem to put too much emphasis on district heating and cooling, which raises our concerns since it is not always the most suitable option. Instead, the upcoming heating and cooling strategy should be neutral towards technologies, promoting both large-scale and small-scale solutions depending on the situation.
Contractors have a key role to play
AREA acknowledges that the Ecodesign and Energy labelling Directives will improve efficiency of ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigerating equipment as well as heat pumps, which we support. However, without proper design of the cooling system, energy savings of efficient equipment can be totally negated.
Therefore proper system design, effective installation, as well as regular maintenance and servicing are of the utmost importance to ensure that expected energy savings turn into reality.
The role of refrigerant should also be considered
The Commission’s working documents tend to focus on technologies only, without considering other aspects, such as refrigerants. In the cooling sector, however, refrigerants directly impact on the energy efficiency of RACHP systems.
This is why energy efficiency remains a key issue in refrigerant policy at EU regulatory level, especially the Regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases (517/2014/EU). The so-called F-gas Regulation ensures that installation, maintenance, service, leakage checking, commissioning and disassembly of RACHP systems are undertaken by fully competent professionals.
This results in better containment of refrigerants and greater energy efficiency of the systems.
Maintaining contractors’ skills and knowledge is vital
The Commission working document mentions an alleged lack of awareness and knowledge of new technologies, and too few trained installers bringing these solutions to customers. AREA would like to provide some information on the state of training and competence of RACHP installers in order to avoid unwanted generalisations.
Refrigeration and air conditioning is a very innovative and constantly evolving industry. The high level of technicality of RACHP systems makes it necessary to have a corresponding level of competence from installers. Since 2006, this is ensured through compulsory minimum training & certification requirements embedded in the F-gas Regulation. These are largely based on the work undertaken by our industry in the context of the REAL Alternatives project.
AREA is fully supportive of harmonised initiatives fulfilling the same objective, as long as they are proportionate and coordinated. An EU Heating and Cooling Strategy should ensure such a coordination, taking existing schemes into consideration and avoiding duplicate or divergent requirements.
AREA (www.area-eur.be) is the European organisation of refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) contractors. AREA members are key stakeholders in the cooling sector since they are the architects of RACHP systems, which they design, install and maintain.
AREA members represent more than 9,000 companies across Europe, a workforce of 125,000 with a turnover approaching € 20 billion.
SWITZERLAND: Two Carrier AquaForce® water-cooled screw chillers with the new PUREtec™ refrigerant have been selected for the innovative Plan-les-Ouates district heating project in Geneva, Switzerland.
The AquaForce chillers with PUREtec refrigerant feature the next-generation, low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerant HFO-1234ze(E), providing 2.5 megawatts of total heating capacity for optimal performance in an environmentally sustainable package.
With a GWP value of just 7, PUREtec reduces the direct global warming potential of traditional refrigerants for this application by 99.5 percent.
The first phase of the mixed-use real estate development project in Plan-les-Ouates enables the energy efficient recovery and re-use of waste heat from a data center onsite, providing heating to local offices and other facilities. As part of the second phase, the extended installation is expected to provide heating to 3,000 individual homes within a planned residential zone. This project represents Europe’s first district heating project based on a water-cooled screw chiller using the new PUREtec refrigerant compliant with new European Union fluoronated gases regulation.
Carrier SCS manufactured and tested the breakthrough technology in its Montluel factory, located near Lyon, France. The system was delivered by Walter Meier Company, Carrier’s distributor in Switzerland.
“Having demonstrated world-class quality, testing capabilities and a compelling proof-of-concept, Carrier is proud to present and install this revolutionary solution in Europe, alongside its distributor partner,” said Didier Genois, engineering and marketing HVAC Europe director, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “We’re proud to deliver Europe’s first installation of a water-cooled screw chiller with the new PUREtec very low global warming refrigerant.”
“As a pioneer of sustainable solutions, Carrier is committed to deploying technologies that minimize environmental impact while serving customer needs,” said John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer, UTC Building & Industrial Systems. “With the introduction of the AquaForce line of indoor and outdoor chillers with PUREtec refrigerant, Carrier is once again taking the lead in the development of environmentally responsible solutions.”
For more information about sustainability initiatives at UTC Building & Industrial Systems, visit www.NaturalLeader.com.
Carrier, the world’s leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions, is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE:UTX).
Founded by the inventor of modern air conditioning, Carrier is the world’s leader in high-technology heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration solutions. Carrier experts provide sustainable solutions, integrating energy-efficient products, building controls and energy services for residential, commercial, retail, transport and food service customers. For more information, visit www.carrier.com or follow @CarrierGreen on Twitter.