International Conference Focuses on Marketing Natural Refrigerants

Dec. 15, 2010
A reported 170 participants at the ATMOspere 2010 Conference — Sept.27-28, Brussels, Belgium — discussed barriers and solutions to bringing natural refrigerants — carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia, and hydrocarbons — to market faster.

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A reported 170 participants at the ATMOsphere 2010 Conference — Sept.27-28, Brussels, Belgium — discussed barriers and solutions to bringing natural refrigerants — carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia, and hydrocarbons — to market faster.

The goal of the conference was to find a “roadmap” that industry could use in applying natural refrigerants in a variety of HVACR applications worldwide.

“People wanted to network and share knowledge regarding carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons and ammonia,” said Marc Chasserot, chairman of ATMOsphere 2010 and managing director of Shecco, a business-to-business marketing and communications firm helping companies worldwide to bring their climate friendly solutions faster to market.

“Participants talked as “We need” rather than “I need”. We really got a sense of community and purpose about what we collectively need to do to get natural refrigerants faster to market, and that this is simply the right thing to do,” Chasserot wrote, in a foreward to the report.

Attendees at the conference agreed that four factors are crucial to the successful integration of natural refrigerants as ultimate replacements for CFC and HFC refrigerants by 2050:

1) Information: Decision makers from industry and policy shapers need access to reliable and well-founded data and conclusions about the benefits of converting directly from HCFC- or HFC-based applications to natural refrigerants.

2) Networks: The natural refrigerants community needs to enhance its presence in international climate and ozone talks, and during trade shows and stakeholder group meetings that are concerned with the future of the HVACR industry.

3) Competence: Without safe, reliable, efficient and cost-effective alternatives, any early phaseout of fluorinated gases in HVACR equipment will not take place.

4) Conditions: The speed of global adoption of natural refrigerants largely depends on the prevailing policy and business climate on a national and international level.

When asked to rank seven types of barriers in terms of significance, 32% of conference participants and other stakeholders around the world cited safety and technology” as the most important barrier to the widespread adoption of natural

refrigerants. Among the reasons for this barrier are, public safety concerns, public perception, misconceptions, and fear of high pressures and flammability or accidents. Proposed solutions to this barrier included increased awareness campaigns with industry and policy makers, and an application of minimal refrigerant charge technologies.

Eighteen percent of conference participants said legislation and standards pose a significant barrier to the adoption of natural refrigerants. These include highly restrictive, prohibitive national and international standards; lack of harmonization of regulations pertaining to natural refrigerants between different locations in the same region, and manipulation of trade and safety standards for commercial ends.

Other perceived barriers include training and know-how, marketing, funding, and support, and supply and availability of natural refrigerants.

To read the entire ATMOSphere report, click on the following document.