Danfoss held its 30th EnVisioneering Symposium, Refrigerants2Sustainability, in Orlando, Fla., to explore the forces and ideas driving commercial refrigeration strategy.
Specifically, the event convened leaders from across stakeholder communities to discuss the probabilities, possibilities and timelines by which market players can gain more clarity, build collaborations, and know what action paths will best meet goals on both business and societal objectives.
Since U.S. regulatory strategy has focused on transforming the refrigerant regime for its GWP impact, industry stakeholders have been exploring new directions and end game solutions on refrigerants. But when the courts recently placed a question mark over the U.S. EPA SNAP regulations, the issue shifted — this time to question how far the country would move, what new investments would be necessary, and whether the basic strategic issues for refrigerants had again been put on ice. Such questions now form the framework within which industry refrigerant strategy will move forward.
“There is an uncertainty regarding regulations that has an impact on equipment manufacturers, end users and contractors,” says Lisa Tryson, director of corporate communications, Danfoss, in her opening remarks. “The industry is looking for the end game in how systems will be designed, installed, and maintained.”
This uncertainty is causing states, refrigeration equipment manufacturers, and end users to take individual actions to move toward low-GWP and energy efficiency technologies that stand to future-proof business and benefit the bottom line today.
For example, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) has taken action to reduce HFC refrigerants by putting sales restrictions on high-GWP refrigerants, prohibiting high-GWP refrigerants in stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, and providing (to-be-funded) financial incentives for low-GWP systems. Likewise, retailer Target has set a goal of becoming HFC-free in food distribution centers and stand-along refrigerated display cases by 2020, are expanding their use of hydrocarbon R-290, and are continuing to use a CO2 cascade and HFO-blend self-contained application in small format new stores.
At the same time, supermarket chain Giant Eagle is refocusing priorities to emphasize improvements in technology that can yield positive energy savings, temperature control, and food safety without changing its refrigerant strategy.
The roundtable discussion took a close look at regulations, safety, climate, and consumer expectations and was led by presentations from:
- Mark Menzer, director of public affairs, Danfoss
- Pamela Gupta, manager, Greenhouse Gas Reduction Strategy Section, California Air Resource Board
- Xudong Wang, director of research, Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute
- Peter Dee, sales director, Danfoss
- Paul Anderson, senior group manager of engineering, Target Corp.
- Brad Morris, senior manager of engineering and energy, Giant Eagle Inc.
- Aaron Daly, global director for energy management, Whole Foods
- Dr. Marcel Christians, chief technology officer, Ice Energy