Friday, March 25, 2016
Communication for the future
The revised F-Gas Regulation with its direct and indirect restrictions is a major challenge for the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector. European customers are seeking possibilities to comply with new legalisation, enacted by European Parliament in 2014 and intended to ban refrigerants with higher global-warming potential from the market by 2020.The planned action features a phase-out process until 2030. Limiting the sale of the most important F-gases from 2015 in the EU and phasing them down in steps to one-fifth of 2014 sales by 2030.
The industry is already forced to make long term plans toward a sustainable development. It is foreseeable that new challenges will emerge in the future. The EU has meanwhile announced a further reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050, which extends the industry’s strategic planning. Suitable climate-friendly alternatives must show high energy efficiency so that the reduction in direct emissions from the alternatives to HFCs and HCFCs is not offset by higher indirect emissions from energy use. The F-Gas Regulation analysis showed that the replacement of HFCs by climate-friendly alternatives will not only reduce direct emissions of HFCs by two-thirds of today's levels, but also improve energy efficiency overall, leading to additional greenhouse gas emission savings.
Customers ask deservedly: Does it make sense to convert existing equipment or is it better to invest in a new system that will meet future requirements?
Even if existing systems could continue operations through 2030, it often makes commercial sense for well-maintained and efficiently operating systems with recycled refrigerants to be converted to refrigerants with a low GWP. However, it has to be ensured that there are no disadvantages in terms of energy efficiency due to the change-over. As far as older equipments are concerned, new investment is recommended here since equipments with new technologies are often far more profitable to operate.
In light of future requirements and an increasing environment conscious thinking in Europe, store owners will have to decide what makes the most sense for them. Moving to naturals now could eliminate that stress in the future and lock in environmental benefits in the form of fewer greenhouse gas emissions and decreased energy demand. Naturals are the future and the time has come to start embracing them.
The main problem in some regions is that the industry and the manufacturers are not eager to transfer completely to the new direction.
However, successful implementation will need sound foundations including and training of the professionals involved – which in turn needs experienced trainers, installers and maintenance staff.
Customers are eager to receive more information on time to leverage their financial and time resources in a more optimal way. Scattered information is needed to be compiled in a more systematic way, as well.
Expert knowledge must be transferred to potential partners and closer ties need to be established between existing markets for natural refrigerants-based equipment and prospective ones.
In sum: Constant B2B communication is needed!
Communication between producers and partners should be improved to disseminate adequate information on natural refrigeration systems including installation, maintenance and best practices. Demonstrations and pilot projects, providing best practices of the new technology, are needed.