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Danfoss Symposium Addresses Complexities in Commercial Refrigeration


WASHINGTON, D.C. — In Novemver, Danfoss convened its 22nd EnVisioneering Symposium, “Refrigerants2Sustainability,” which focused on the complex challenges reshaping the refrigeration landscape.

National policy and global concerns for ozone depletion remapped the industry with the Montreal Protocol. Today, the problem is climate change — driven by both leaked and vented high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants and energy-intense refrigeration systems.

Industry today faces an array of complex challenges — increased regulatory pressure, ever-increasing energy costs, contractor training on new low-GWP systems that are flammable or mildly flammable, and consumer demands for sustainability.

To explore how these challenges affect supermarket and commercial refrigeration equipment — the way in which it is designed, built and maintained — Danfoss convened approximately 50 thought leaders from industry, policy, utilities and research for a symposium.

The group heard from experts on the likely evolution of policy, steps companies have already taken and demonstration projects conducted, and how industry and utility interests in energy efficiency might align to help finance a transformation.

Kevin Fay, executive director of the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and president of Alcalde & Fay, opened the symposium by emphasizing the industry’s support of a global phasedown of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. At an event hosted by the White House in September, the Alliance announced its support for an 80 percent reduction of HFCs by 2050 on a GWP-weighted basis, based on current emissions levels.

According to Drusilla Hufford, director, stratospheric protection division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, HFC emissions between 2004 and 2008 increased by about eight percent each year, based on information published by the United Nations Environment Programme in 2011. If left unchecked, a recent scientific publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences estimates that HFC emissions could rise to nearly 20 percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

To address this growing issue, EPA recently published two proposals under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP):

  1. Proposal to add to the list of acceptable use refrigerants in certain applications new lower-GWP refrigerants, such as propane (R290) and R441A
  2. Proposal to list as unacceptable in specific end uses, including commercial refrigeration, certain HFCs, with compliance dates over the next few years

Hufford also provided insight into EPA’s refrigerant management strategy established under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act, which prohibits knowingly venting refrigerants, and provides requirements for leak repairs and prevention and service practices for safe disposal of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

Recognizing the urgency and implications of the regulatory and sustainability-driven move to new refrigerants, some equipment manufacturers have already begun testing and deploying low-GWP-ready technologies.

Charles Hon, engineering manager at True Manufacturing, and Tim Anderson, principal engineer, display cases and micro-distributed systems, at Hussmann Corporation, discussed their companies’experiences preparing for the path forward.

For additional information, visit www.danfoss.us.