2013’s most popular articles on R744.com

By Klara Skačanová, Jan 20, 2014, 15:49 6 minute reading

One of the biggest stories in 2013 was the return of CO2 Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) technology, which is being redeveloped by Daimler and Volkswagen, following safety concerns with refrigerant R1234yf. Also hitting the headlines was the European F-Gas Revision, which the EU institutions reached an informal agreement on at the end of the year. Below R744.com recaps on these and other popular stories that shaped the R744 landscape in 2013.

CO2 MAC makes a comeback

Daimler, Audi, BMW, Porsche and VW to develop CO2 MAC systems- Third time lucky? After a clear commitment in 2007 to use CO2 as the refrigerant in mobile air conditioning (MAC), reconfirmed in 2008, and followed by a subsequent preference for the chemical refrigerant 1234yf, Daimler, backed by four leading carmakers has taken yet another U-turn, announcing the further development of CO2 technology as a “sustainable and safe solution”. The group has the support of German automotive association VDA.

UPDATE: Industry reacts to announcement by Daimler, Audi, BMW, Porsche and VW to develop CO2 MAC systems: At the Geneva Auto Show, taking place from 7-17 March 2013, Daimler made public that it will develop CO2 mobile air conditioning (MAC) equipment, together with Audi, BMW, Porsche, and VW. A press release by Volkswagen, confirming that they will use CO2 as the refrigerant in MAC was released shortly after. R744.com reports on industry reactions to this important announcement. UPDATE: Reaction by Konvekta to the CO2 MAC announcement.

Volkswagen officially joins Daimler in confirming CO2 MAC: Following Daimler’s findings that the chemical refrigerant R1234yf is unsafe for use in its cars, and their decision to further invest in the development of CO2 mobile air conditioning (MAC), Volkswagen (VW), the world's third largest carmaker, is following suit, making the game-changing announcement that they will use CO2 as the refrigerant in MAC.

KBA raises more uncertainty about R1234yf safety - Daimler reconfirms fast CO2 MAC development: Germany's Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) shies away from recommending a ban on R1234yf-equiped vehicles but concludes that the refrigerant is “not hazard-free” after one vehicle in four caught fire, and several showed a release of toxic hydrogen fluoride under more extreme test conditions than officially required. Daimler sees its previous test results confirmed and announces a development of CO2 MAC systems “as quickly as possible” as the only solution to ensure highest safety and environment requirements.

MAC update: French court rules in Daimler’s favour; Toyota turns away from R1234yf: In the heated debate about the safety risks of R1234yf, the last days held major developments: while today the French High Court has decided to temporarily suspend a sales ban on Daimler cars equipped with the refrigerant R134a, Toyota announced that three models previously using R1234yf, will be switched back to the old refrigerant. Meanwhile the German government sent a letter to the European Commission in support of Daimler’s request for an extended type approval to develop safe CO2 MAC systems.

HFC regulation and tax updates

European Parliament Committee strongly supports HFC bans in new AC&R equipment: The Report on the F-Gas Regulation adopted yesterday (19 June) by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee includes HFC bans for new equipment in additional sectors, a requirement for certification of technicians on f-gas alternatives and a steeper HFC phase-down schedule. Although the vote is only the first step in the process of adopting the F-Gas Regulation, it is a strong signal to the natural refrigerant industry in Europe.

UPDATE: HFCs to be taxed in France? Shortly before the end of 2012 the French Ministry for the Environment presented a consultation paper regarding a tax on HFCs with a global warming potential (GWP) greater than 150 to relevant stakeholders. French stakeholders, who had until the end of January to respond, are largely wary of the tax, but experience from Denmark and Australia suggests a successful transition is possible. UPDATE: The Environmental Taxation Committee (CFE) has submitted its evaluation of the proposed tax to the French government. A decision on the matter is expected mid-June.

European Parliament report proposes HFC use bans in the EU: A new draft European Parliament (EP) report on the revisions to the current EU F-Gas Regulation proposed in November 2012 by the European Commission not only supports banning the use of HFCs in certain equipment like domestic refrigeration, but also proposes additional subsectors in which prohibitions are appropriate: for example stationary refrigeration and air conditioning as of 2020, or mobile refrigeration as of 2025. The report also proposes a tougher HFC phase-down schedule, as well as measures to encourage recovery and recycling of f-gases.

R744 technologies featured in AHR Expo 2013 videos

AHR Expo 2013: The year of CO2 in the USA is yet to come - Part 1: The pure number of booths to display CO2 refrigerant components and systems has not significantly increased from last year’s leading HVAC&R trade show. However, the showcase of breakthrough innovations, prototypes and optimised product lines in R744 compressors, heat pumps or air conditioning, as well as commercialization announcements expected for the next 12 months are all solid indicators that the US market is getting serious about R744 solutions. + VIDEOS (+ PHOTO gallery for article parts 1 & 2)

AHR Expo 2013: The year of CO2 in the USA is yet to come - Part 3: More than 51,000 attendees filled the aisles of the Dallas Convention Center to see all the latest products and technologies displayed 1,900 companies. Among these a range of system manufacturers and component suppliers offered CO2 (R744) solutions for various applications from commercial refrigeration to hot water heating and air-conditioning. + VIDEO (+ PHOTOS Parts 1, 2 & 3)

CO2 transcritical supermarkets come to the US

UPDATE: Delhaize opens first 100% CO2 transcritical store in the US: Delhaize America opened its first 100% CO2 transcritical store in the US in July 2013. In the Hannaford supermarket in Turner, Maine, a CO2 transcritical booster system for low and medium temperatures was installed and supplemented with a glycol heat reclaim system and a warm gas defrost system. The Hannaford store is the first supermarket in the US to employ an environmentally friendly transcritical refrigeration system using only CO2 to chill and freeze foods. Updated: During the official opening ceremony on 29 August, the store was recognised with GreenChill platinum certification. (+VIDEO)

UPDATE: First ever net zero energy store by Walgreens relies on CO2 heating and cooling: Walgreens, the largest US drugstore chain is investing in CO2 refrigeration for heating and cooling as part of its commitment to build its first net-zero energy store in South Evanston, Chicago. Update: The new store, opened on 21 November 2013, replaces an old Walgreens store, and in addition to the CO2 refrigeration system integrates a series of energy saving green technologies.

Sainsbury’s tests first small CO2 transcritical refrigeration system: UK’s most environmentally friendly convenience store in Haslucks Green, Solihull, is testing Epta’s ECO2-Small CO2 system. It is the first small transcritical CO2 system used in a Sainsbury’s store, reducing carbon emissions by 33 per cent and minimising energy use for refrigeration.

Product and partner exclusives

Sanden aims to sell 30,000 CO2 heat pumps per year by 2015: At the ATMOsphere conference R744.com interviewed Sylvain Gillaux, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sanden, about the company’s new CO2 heat pump project for space heating. Sharing with R744.com their new technology and market strategy, he stressed the enormous market potential for CO2 heat pumps in Europe and reported that Sanden could achieve sales target of 30,000 CO2 heat pumps per year by 2015.

“CO2 is best economical solution in Canada” - exclusive interview with Carnot Refrigeration: CO2 installations are picking up in Canada, with Carnot Refrigeration currently working on 18 CO2 construction sites in parallel. Marc-André Lesmerises, co-founder and President of the company, talked to R744.com about the benefits of CO2 that make it best economical solution in Canada, and the role of Carnot Refrigeration as a first-mover in North America.


By Klara Skačanová

Jan 20, 2014, 15:49

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