Sunday, 29 September 2013

Danfoss Turbocor releases 1234ze compressor

USA: Danfoss Turbocor Compressors has now announced the production and sales release of the new TG310 compressor, using the low GWP refrigerant HFO1234ze(E).

Protoypes of the new compressor were made available to oems last year for development work in air-cooled chillers.

The final TG310 compressor now on general release carries the CE mark and CE PED mark. It ranges from 230 to 310 kW and is is suitable for use with 400V, 50Hz power supplies.

Similar to the company’s current TT series compressors, the TG310 models are oil-free, variable-speed, magnetic bearing centrifugal compressors. They are said to offer outstanding full- and part-load energy efficiency and feature a small footprint, light weight, low vibration, very low sound, intelligent controls, and soft starting characteristics.

As well as possessing a GWP of just 6, Danfoss Turbocor says that the HFO1234ze shows improved energy efficiency compared to the current R134a model.

“The TG310 is a highly energy efficient and environmentally progressive compressor, and represents the innovation our customers expect from the pioneer and world leader of oil-free, centrifugal compressors for the hvac industry,” said Doug Bishop, Danfoss Turbocor vice president of marketing and communications. “We look forward to the rapid adoption of the technology as customers seek to enhance the sustainability of their hvac systems.”

The market was first alerted to Turbocor’s work with 1234ze at the beginning of 2011 when UK companies Klima-Therm and Cool-Therm announced that they were making available a chiller using a Turbocor compressor running on the refrigerant.

The British companies, which had developed the chiller in association with Italian manufacturer Geoclima, retracted its announcement after Danfoss Turbocor insisted that its compressor had not been verified for use with HFOs.

Klima-Therm and Cool-Therm later developed a chiller running on 1234ze using Frascold semi-hermetic compressors.

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Thursday, 26 September 2013

Airedale to move to temporary site

Airedale will build a new, state-of-the-art factory at its fire-hit Rawdon site

UK: Fire-hit manufacturer Airedale International is to move to a new temporary production site in Leeds within the next few weeks.

The air conditioning manufacturer, which was hit by a devastating fire on September 6, is to transfer production to a 130,000ft2 facility in Gelderd Lane. Meanwhile, there are plans to design and build a new, state-of-the-art factory, business suite and technology centre facility at the existing site in Rawdon, Leeds.

Clive Parkman, Airedale’s Managing Director said: “I firmly believe that we can build a bigger, stronger Airedale that will see us secure our world-leading, award-winning position in the market for another 40 years and beyond.”

With key items of plant including sheet metal and paint shop intact, Airedale intends to transfer production to the ‘Leeds West’ site, which is located on one of the main routes into Leeds and close to the motorway networks. The new facility provides sufficient space to house production and administration until the existing site is redeveloped.

In the interim, much of the manufacturer’s normal operations are said to be continuing virtually without interruption.

Service engineers attended at customer sites from day one, as planned, and production of controls, small systems, condensers and condensing units was equally quickly resumed. Some of its production of systems destined for the Southern hemisphere has also been picked up by Airedale’s sister company in South Africa. In the weeks up to the move, Airedale is concentrating on fabrication and component assembly so that units can be built and despatched as soon as the new site is operational around mid October.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Airedale's owner set to buy Barkell

USA: Modine Manufacturing, the US owner of the fire-hit UK manufacturer Airedale, is set to to acquire Barkell Ltd, a manufacturer of custom built air handling units located in Consett, UK.

Modine says the acquisition will enable it to expand its product offering in the air handling segment and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

“Acquiring Barkell helps us expand both our product line and our sales channel in the UK,” said Matt McBurney, Modine's vice president, Commercial Products Group. “In addition, this acquisition will help us build on Modine's success in the growing data center air conditioning market by providing innovative solutions, including adiabatic cooling.”

Barry Phillips, Barkell's co-founder and director, added, “I am incredibly proud of the business we have built at Barkell and am confident that Modine is the right partner to help us bring the Barkell business to the next level while at the same time maintaining the culture of excellence and customer service for which Barkell is known.”

“Everyone at Modine is excited about the opportunities Barkell and Airedale can bring to each other,” said Clive Parkman, managing director of Airedale. “We have been working together for a number of years and are pleased we are moving forward with this next step. With a focus on the air handling market, Barkell offers Airedale — and thus Modine — an excellent opportunity to expand both our product and service solutions to new and current customers.”

Founded in 1981, Barkell has focused on the custom air handling market within the UK and has around 100 employees. With 48,000ft2 of manufacturing space and a dedicated 4,500ft2 design and engineering block, the company’s current production capacity is in excess of £1m per month.

Airedale is currently recovering from the devastating fire which hit the company’s Rawdon, Leeds, facility three weeks ago. Some manufacturing has now resumed at the plant and a new facility has been acquired in central Leeds.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

UTC combines its Carrier and Otis businesses

USA: United Technologies has combined its Climate, Controls & Security division, which includes its Carrier heating and air conditioning company, with its Otis elevator business.

UTC Building & Industrial Systems will also include fire and security brands Kidde and Chubb is headed by Geraud Darnis as president and ceo.

It is claimed that the new division will be the world's largest high-technology building systems provider with more than 120,000 employees, $29bn in annual sales and a direct presence in more than 60 countries.

Geraud Darnis
Louis Chenevert, United Technologies' chairman and ceo, said that the move positions UTC for long-term growth in the commercial building market.

“This new structure will enhance our ability to deliver more integrated solutions to our customers and accelerate the next steps of innovation in smart building technologies and sustainable designs,” he added. He also said it would put UTC in a better position to capitalise on the opportunities in developing countries.

Geraud Darnis, 53, began his career at Otis Elevator Company in France in 1983, moving to Carrier two years later where he held a number of financial and general management positions in Latin America, Europe and Asia, up to and including the position of Carrier president. He became president and ceo of UTC Climate, Controls & Security in 2011.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Viessmann acquires Norpe

FINLAND: The German heating and refrigeration group Viessmann has acquired the Finnish commercial refrigeration equipment manufacturer Norpe.

Founded in 1953, Norpe employs a staff of more than 450 and generated a turnover of over €130m in 2012. A leading European supplier of retail refrigeration equipment, Norpe has its headquarters and factory in Porvoo, near Helsinki, Finland. It has subsidiaries in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Poland and Estonia, a sales office in Latvia and a representative office in Russia. The company is also actively operating in Central Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

“We want to continue on our path to becoming a full-range supplier of cooling technology similar to our position in the heating sector,” says Dr Martin Viessmann, owner of the Viessmann Group. “To achieve this, in the next step, we concentrate on expanding our range of products for the food retail industry. We are confident that Norpe's comprehensive and attractive product portfolio fits in well with our strategy.”

The move is inspired by the reunification of Viessmann’s refrigeration and heating businesses in October of last year. Founded in 1917, the family business had split in 1992 when, at the age of 75, Hans Viessmann transferred the heating operation to his son Martin Viessmann, creating two separate independent companies. Hans continued to devote himself to the refrigeration business until his death in 2002. In October 2012, Viessmann’s heating business acquired all the shares of its former refrigeration business Viessmann Kaltechnik, best known as a coldroom manufacturer, to reunite the 100-year-old family businesses.

Viessmann has described the acquisition of Norpe as “an important step for Viessmann towards establishing a comprehensive product range for commercial refrigeration solutions as well.”

A company statement said: “By entering the cooling and refrigeration sector in 2012, the company has not just taken account of the convergence of cooling and heating but has also set to exploit additional market potential in countries where heating plays a minor role due to weather conditions.”

Nominations sought for IoR Awards

UK: The Institute of Refrigeration is looking for nominations for both its annual Ted Perry Award and its Lifetime Achievement Award for service engineers.

The Ted Perry Award is given for research, by a post graduate student, of a practical nature related to the field of refrigeration and air conditioning, and is designed to encourage interest amongst bright and promising students. The prize includes a cheque for £500, an engraved tankard and a set of ASHRAE Databooks on CD.

The Award is open to anyone submitting a piece of work on an engineering topic related to refrigeration and undertaken as part of a degree course or doctorate.

Deadline for nominations is October 15. For further details click here.

Nominations are also sought for the Lifetime Achievement Award for established and experienced air conditioning, refrigeration or heat pump service engineers or maintenance technicians. You must have substantial experience and still be working in the field but more than that - candidates must be recognised as giving exceptional customer service and dedication to their employer and their career as a service engineer.

The winner will receive a cash prize of £400 an engraved tankard and certificate.

Full details and nomination form are here. Closing date for nominations is November 29.

The winners will be presented with their awards at the Annual Institute Dinner on February 20.

Mitsubishi Electric approves Reflok system

UK: Mitsubishi Electric UK has approved the use of the Reflok mechanical jointing system on installations using their equipment.

Mitsubishi are said to have been working with the Reflok team for some months to assess the suitability of the system when used in conjunction with their equipment.

“The air conditioning supplier carried out tests for strength, durability and pressure which led to the conclusion that the system is suitable for use on air conditioning systems of all types,” said Reflok.

A Mitsubishi Electric UK spokesman said: “I can confirm that we have approved the use of the Reflok Jointing system on all of our AC products, with the caveat that with regards to the use and installation of said jointing system, it is at all times the responsibility of the user/installer of said system to make sure that it complies with the current F-gas Regulations.”

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Engineers need training in low GWP refrigerants

EUROPE: The European air conditioning and refrigeration contractors association AREA has repeated concerns over the lack of properly trained engineers to work with “natural” refrigerants.

With a rapid phase down of HFCs now highly likely, AREA vice-president Marco Buoni has highlighted the large shortfall in technicians properly and safely trained in the use of low GWP alternatives.

Speaking at the recent International Institute of Refrigeration conference on compressors and coolants in Slovakia, Marco Buoni said “A sectorial phase out or product ban has been proposed by some NGOs as a means of rapidly cutting HFC use. These calls do not seem to take into account the real dangers in promoting a rapid widespread use of hydrocarbons, ammonia or CO2.”

He pointed to a recent survey conducted within AREA into the “natural” refrigerants ammonia, CO2 and hydrocarbons in Austria, Belgium Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden and the UK.

It revealed that, on average, only 6% were trained in the use of CO2, 11% in hydrocarbons and just 12% in ammonia. The best performing countries were Poland, the Netherlands and Denmark.

Percentage of contractors trained with low GWP refrigerants

“The real danger in the current political moves to rapidly phase down HFC use, or indeed the sometimes suggested phase out, is that there is clearly a large shortfall in technicians properly and safely trained in the use of low GWP alternatives,” said Marco Buoni.

“It is generally accepted that poorly installed and maintained systems lead inevitably to increased leakage rates. Where the refrigerant in use is an HFC there are few safety concerns for people in the surrounding area other than through the displacement of oxygen causing respiratory problems or, in the worst case, asphyxiation. Where the refrigerant is a hydrocarbon, however, the hazard this poses could quite clearly result in catastrophic explosion. Similarly, CO2 works at very high pressure and the potential for human injury or damage to property is high.”

While acknowledging that a rapid roll out of training schemes is starting throughout the EU to try and address this anomaly, Marco Buoni pointed out that it will still take some time before a significant percentage of the workforce is anywhere near competent enough to cope with the inherent dangers in using these refrigerants.

Cost of courses for the engineers is also an issue as is the availability of the necessary investment to establish appropriate training centres.

“At a cost per craftsman of between €700 and €3,000 it is difficult for contracting businesses to afford sending their craftsmen away on training courses,” said Marco Buoni. “Especially so during a time of economic turmoil across most of the continent. A lack of training centres is also a major issue in many countries. At a cost of setting up a training centre to deal with low GWP refrigerants in the region of €300,000 – an example of the cost of setting up an ammonia centre in the Netherlands – there are few organisations with the spare capital to invest in such a thing.”

He also acknowledged that while so-called “e-learning” had provided many existing technicians with a convenient way of covering the necessary theoretical aspects of new and refresher training requirements, many aspects of the training, however, must be carried out in practical environs due to the nature of the qualification.

“This necessitates quality training centres where practical abilities can be assessed and improved upon prior to demonstration testing for certification,” he maintained.

"It is essential that sufficient quantity and quality of training centres are open and available across Europe, and indeed globally, if the growth in use of lower GWP refrigerants is to be realised without detriment to the industry sector as a whole and the technology in general, in terms of poor image of RACHP systems. It is also essential in terms of preventing safety concerns being realised and to ensure the high efficiency potential of the technology is not only realised at the time of installation but is maintained throughout the life cycle of the systems."

AREA has produced a guidance paper on Low GWP Refrigerants and provides minimum requirement recommendations for training & certification of contractors working with low GWP refrigerants on its website.

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CO2 confirmed as refrigerant in Sainsbury's leak

UK: Carbon dioxide has been confirmed as the refrigerant which leaked from the refrigeration system at the Sainsbury’s store in Hedge End on Tuesday.
Sixty two people were treated by paramedics for breathing difficulties and coughing. One person was taken to hospital. The leak also caused the evacuation of the nearby Marks & Spencer store.

The introduction of “environmentally friendly” CO2 systems by the major supermarkets in the UK has not been without incident. In June a Tesco’s store in Newbury was also evacuated following a leak from a CO2 refrigeration system. This followed a similar incident at a Tesco store in Walkden, Greater Manchester in 2010.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Supermarkets continue move away from HFCs

UK: Supermarkets across Europe are on the cusp of a revolutionary move away from HFCs, according to the latest annual Chilling Facts report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

According to the environmental group, the Swiss supermarkets are performing particularly well in terms of rolling out natural refrigeration systems but British retailers are still leading the way in both developing and rolling out HFC-free technologies. A core group is singled out for praise in making particularly impressive efforts to reduce the impact of refrigeration systems, including Coop Schweiz, Coop UK, Marks & Spencer, Migros, Royal Ahold, Aldi Süd, Tesco and Waitrose.

The number of UK stores using HFC-free or hybrid refrigeration systems has grown by 24% on last year, bringing the total number of systems to 428.

The number of hybrid refrigeration systems across Europe has risen to 589, while, according to the EIA, over 1,000 additional stores are using HFC-free technology. This does not include the thousands of stores using frozen food integrals running on hydrocarbons.

Although many supermarkets are already using hydrocarbons in their freezer units, they are not yet using non-fluorinated alternatives in their chilled food integrals, citing a need for further technical developments in this area.

Royal Ahold has increased the number of hybrid HFC/CO2 stores it operates by about 30%, reaching a total of well over 200 stores in The Netherlands and Belgium – representing a quarter of its estate. This is mirrored by Coop Schweiz which has also increased the number of its stores running on CO2 systems by around 30%, again reaching about 200 stores in total, or a quarter of its entire estate.

Waitrose now has around a third of its stores running on natural refrigerants as it chases a target of being HFC-free by 2021. Marks & Spencer continues to roll out hybrid systems, increasing the number of stores running on this technology to 76 (up from 42 last year), as well as developing various other systems which use ammonia, hydrocarbons or CO2.

Delhaize Group almost reached its stated target for 2012, which was to roll out a further 15 stores using hybrid technology, reaching a total of 40.

In other stores, Coop UK now has hydrocarbon freezer and fridge integrals in over 2,400 stores – almost 20% of total refrigeration used – with a target of full conversion out of HFCs by 2030. The company is also developing hydrocarbon-based secondary refrigeration which is expected to be their primary future technology.

Lidl has increased its HFC-free freezer cabinets by over 20%, bringing the total number to around 9,000.

The full report is available here

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

62 treated after refrigerant leak

UK: Sixty two people were treated by paramedics and one taken to hospital following a suspected refrigerant leak from Sainsbury’s supermarket in Hedge End, Southampton. It is not thought that anyone was seriously affected by the gas which has not yet been identified.

The incident at around 5pm today led to the evacuation of the store when customers began to suffer symptoms including coughing and difficulty in breathing.

Four fire engines attended the incident.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Five face charges over ammonia leak

CHINA: Five people face possible criminal charges and 12 have been "disciplined" over the ammonia leak which killed five people and injured 25 at a refrigeration unit in Shanghai at the end of August.

According to the Shanghai municipal government, 12 district official have been subjected to “disciplinary sanctions” and five people thought to be responsible for the accident are being investigated for possible criminal charges

A detached pipe cap was blamed for the leak at the seafood processing plant and warehouse operated by Shanghai Weng Brand Refrigerated Industrial Co warehouse.

Investigators also revealed that an unlicensed food processing workshop, designed and constructed by unqualified workers occupied the fire escape passage. It had been added after the approved main plant was first built.

China has suffered a total of 36 deaths from 10 liquid ammonia leak cases between 2002 and 2009, according to the State Administration of Work Safety.

Friday, 13 September 2013

FSW acquires Beacon Design

UK: Refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler FSW is to acquire Havant-based Beacon Design and Engineering Ltd.

Formed in 1997 Beacon is a specialist producer of compressor packs, condensing units and special-build products.

Beacon becomes part of the FSW UK business which comprises Just One Call, NRW fm, and ESP in addition to its 23 branch wholesale operation.

Beacon owner Andy Fry, who joins the FSW Group, commented "I’m looking forward to developing the Beacon business under the FSW banner with the extra sales activity they will bring to us."

"Beacon brings new products & customers to FSW and we can grow the business by developing the product range and customer base," added 
FSW chairman Dermot Byrne.

FSW says that there will be no changes at Beacon and the company will continue to trade as a separate company within the FSW UK business.

Proposed pre-charge ban is under threat

EUROPE: The European air conditioning and refrigeration contractors’ group AREA has sent a letter to EU members warning of the consequences of dropping the proposed ban on pre-charged equipment from revisions to the F-gas regulations.

While the proposal, which would effectively ban the importation and sale of pre-charged equipment, survived the first reading, AREA is now concerned that lobbying from equipment manufacturers and a compromise proposal from the Irish could see the proposed ban being dropped.

AREA is keen to eliminate the non-professional installation of pre-charged non-hermetically sealed equipment and maintains that dropping the proposal could have a negative impact on the environment. The European Commission was also in favour of the proposal because it would ensure the integrity of plans to phase down HFCs.

But, with the Irish compromise, AREA now sees a possible pre-charge ban under threat. The Irish proposal, it is believed, gets around the problem of including the quantities of refrigerant contained in pre-charged equipment and allows them to be calculated in to any phase-down timetable.

In the letter to the national authorities, AREA says that dropping the pre-charge ban “would not only negatively impact on the environment – in contradiction with the objectives of the Regulation and its revision – but it would also harm the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contracting sector, the vast majority of which are very small companies, which employ some 230,000 people across the EU.”

In the event that the pre-charge ban is dropped, AREA has proposed a further compromise. Under another existing proposal to ban the sale of fluorinated greenhouse gases to non-certificated companies and personnel, AREA has suggested adding the words “whether in containers or pre-charged in non-hermetically-sealed equipment.”

AREA comments: “Combined with the clarification that fluorinated greenhouse gases can only be delivered to and received by certified companies or operatives (this modification was adopted by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee), this measure would ensure that only certified professionals can receive such equipment and therefore install it under maximum environmental safety conditions.”

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Counterfeit R134a in the EU

POLAND: Cylinders being sold in Poland as containing R134a have been found to contain a cocktail of refrigerants including CFCs.

Initial suspicions are said to have been raised by the unusually low price of the gas. When one of the cylinders was tested by the United Nations Environment Programme it was found to contain a cocktail of 19.1% R12, 57.1% R22, 11.7% R125 and 12.1% R134a.

No producer's name is shown on the packaging or on the cylinder and their source is unknown. Investigations are being carried out.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Seven die in ammonia leak in India

INDIA: Seven workers have died of asphyxia and five hospitalised following a massive ammonia leak at a cold storage unit in Ranasar, Vijapur Taluka on Saturday.

Rescue teams were forced to cut the roof and break the side wall of Manan Cold Storage to reach the trapped workers. Several firemen were also said to have been affected by the toxic gas. Sixty-five workers managed to flee when an ammonia pipe ruptured.

An investigation is underway to find out why the pipe ruptured.

Only a week ago, 15 people died at an ammonia plant in China:

Daikin backs the ACR Show

Peter Verkempynck: "We believe it is important to support and drive the UK forward"

UK: The world’s largest air conditioning company, Daikin, has confirmed its support for The ACR Show 2014, with a substantial exhibition presence and title sponsorship of the event.

In what will be seen as a massive boost for the organisers, the Japanese manufacturer’s UK subsidiary says it will use the exhibition to showcase its latest advances in technology.

The show, the only national exhibition dedicated to the UK air conditioning and refrigeration industry, will now be known as The ACR Show 2014 sponsored by Daikin UK. In addition to a prominent stand at the event, Daikin experts will also host a series of cutting edge seminars, on each of the three days.

Peter Verkempynck, managing director, Daikin UK said: “We believe it is important to support and drive the UK industry forward, through improved technology, product knowledge, technical advice and face-to-face contact.

“The ACR Show 2014 provides an excellent national stage for industry representatives to meet under one roof and, ultimately, to learn from each other. Our sponsorship of the show provides a fantastic opportunity to engage directly with delegates and present the latest innovations in air conditioning and refrigeration technology, which we believe will have a major impact on the future direction of the industry.

“We are delighted to be supporting this important industry event, and look forward to working closely with the exhibition team in the run-up to the first day of the show on the 11th February 2014.

Jan Thorpe, event director, said: “It’s great to have Daikin UK onboard. Daikin is responsible for the invention of VRV air conditioning, one of the most successful and important innovations in the industry’s history.

“Daikin is also unique in the marketplace in terms of the technical quality and breadth of its offering – covering the full range of air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pumps embraced by the show.”

She added: “Datateam will be working closely with Daikin UK over the coming months to harness the combined power of our marketing resources to ensure the exhibition builds on the success of the launch, and delivers an outstanding event for both visitors and exhibitors.”

The ACR Show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from February 11-13.

For more details on visiting, visit:

For more details on exhibiting, contact Jan Thorpe on 01622 699 113, or Karena Cooper on 01622 699150 (email or

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Airedale: "Up and running in four weeks"

UK: Fire-stricken air conditioning manufacturer Airedale International could be back up and running in four weeks, according to md Clive Parkman. While damage at the Rawdon, Leeds, factory was extensive following the fire on Friday afternoon, the main machine shop was saved, it has been revealed.

Interviewed on ITV news today, Clive Parkman said "We've lost all the offices and we've lost the assembly area but all of that can be relocated. We think we can be producing again in four weeks in our machine shop and be assembling and delivering product in two to three months."

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Airedale: normal service will be resumed soon

UK: Airedale says that it expects to return to normal operating conditions soon following yesterdays fire at its air conditioning factory in Rawdon, Leeds.

With the fire now extinguished, the company reports that the early intervention of the fire service saved sizeable parts of the premises and has reassured staff that there will be no job losses as a result.

In a statement, the company said ‘Airedale expects to return to normal operating conditions within a rapid timeframe and wish to emphasise that field-based service and controls operations will be unaffected. We are still open for business to work with all of our partners in order to deliver best possible solutions. Data is secure and information systems accessible. Whilst the most critical areas of production have not been affected, contingency arrangements are being made for the main factory, warehouse and office operations.

Managing director, Clive Parkman, said “We are firmly committed to our employees, customers, suppliers and local residents, and are doing everything in our power to return to normal operations as quickly as possible. I would like to thank everyone for the support they have shown us during this difficult time, via phone, email and social media. It has been exceedingly well received.

“We are extremely proud of our very loyal and highly skilled workforce and I would like to reassure them that there will be no job losses as a result of the fire.”

Airedale is working with the West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service to ascertain the cause of the fire. 

G20 leaders back HFC phase down

US president Barack Obama backs a phase down of HFCs

 RUSSIA: The world’s leading economic countries have agreed to place a phase down on HFC refrigerants within the framework of the Montreal Protocol.

The agreement at the G20 summit in St Petersburg yesterday commits the world’s top 20 economic nations to agreeing a global phase down of the use and release of HFCs. 

In a statement, the White House said: "This commitment marks an important step forward toward addressing HFCs - highly potent greenhouse gases that are rapidly increasing in use - through the proven mechanism of the Montreal Protocol."

The specifics of the agreement will be discussed at the next meeting of the protocol in October in Bangkok.

The agreement was signed by Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, USA and the EU, as well as Ethiopia, Spain, Senegal, Brunei, Kazakhstan, and Singapore.

The G20 agreement on HFCs states: We also support complementary initiatives, through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and the institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), based on the examination of economically viable and technically feasible alternatives. We will continue to include HFCs within the scope of UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol for accounting and reporting of emissions.

For the past five years, Micronesia, along with the United States, Canada and Mexico have unsuccessfully tabled amendments to the Montreal Protocol to include a phase down of HFCs. However, global action on phasing-down HFCs has previously stalled due to countries disagreeing over whether a phase-down should occur under the Montreal Protocol or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The G20 statement resolves this debate by asserting that the phase down of the consumption and production of HFCs will take place under the Montreal Protocol, while the emission reductions will be accounted for under the UNFCCC.

“Phasing out HFCs is the fastest, most cost-effective climate mitigation measure available and joint global action on HFCs will set an example of how the nations of the world can come together to solve the problem of climate change,” said Environmental Investigation Agency senior campaigner Clare Perry.

In a separate move on HFCs, US president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping reached a bilateral agreement to establish a contact group under the Montreal Protocol to consider issues related to cost-effectiveness, financial and technology support, safety, environmental benefits, and an amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

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Friday, 6 September 2013

Airedale owners pay tribute to firefighters

The Airedale International factory in Rawdon was hit by a massive fire today

USA: Modine Manufacturing, the American owner of Airedale International Air Conditioning which was today hit by a massive blaze at its Leeds factory, has paid tribute to the local fire service in dealing with the fire.

“Above all, we are relieved to report that all of the Airedale employees are safe and accounted for,” said Thomas F Marry, Modine’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, speaking from the company’s Wisconsin headquarters.

“We thank the Airedale management and local fire brigades for acting so quickly. We are unable at this time to determine the full extent of the damage to the Airedale facility or the effect on its business operations. We will take all necessary actions to address the needs of our employees and customers as quickly as possible.”

Over 100 firefighters tackle blaze at Airedale

The Airedale factory in Leeds

UK: Over 100 firefighters are battling a major blaze at the Airedale Air Conditioning factory in Rawdon, Leeds.

The fire broke out at around 2.30pm this afternoon and all employees were evacuated safely.

Roads have been closed in the area and there are around 20 fire engines at the scene.

The fire is now said to be under control but parts of the factory have already been lost according to the fire service. There are hopes, however, that some of the property already in the building can be saved.

Full report, photographs and video here:

Sainsbury's trials CO2 refrigerated trailers

UK: Sainsbury’s is trialling a world-first Carrier Transicold CO
2 refrigerated trailer to transport chilled and frozen goods. 

The supermarket chain is working with Carrier Transicold in a two year trial of the new technology for road transport, using a modified version of Carrier’s NaturaLine refrigeration system, which was initially developed for containers and completed a rigorous sea trial programme in 2012.

“We will be monitoring its performance closely and if successful, in line with our replacement plan, it could help us save over 70,000 tonnes of CO
2 compared to the current refrigerated trailer fleet,” said Sainsbury’s Head of Transport Operations Nick Davies.

Confirming that this marks the first time that a NaturaLine system has been mounted to a box trailer anywhere in the world, David Appel, president of Carrier Transicold, added: “It’s a fantastic opportunity to advance Carrier's natural leadership in environmental technologies, by working closely with Sainsbury’s, one of our largest customers in Europe, to test how the concept performs on the road.”

The NaturaLine units completed sea trials at the end of last year. The development of the unit necessitated the design of a new refrigerant management system, including a new purpose-built, multi-stage compressor with variable-speed drive, a 'gas cooler' with a wrap-around design and a flash tank. The special reciprocating multi-stage compressor is said to maximise capacity and minimise power consumption.

NaturaLINE uses two stages of compression, its special cylinder-unloading capability allowing the compressor to save energy in light-load conditions.

The inclusion of a variable-speed drive is a first for a Carrier container refrigeration unit. The replacement of the traditional condenser assembly with a gas cooler is also new. The gas cooler coil wraps around the fan, which, according to Carrier Transicold, maximises heat-transfer surface area and providing gas cooling after each compression stage for better efficiency.

The flash tank, an entirely new component in a container refrigeration system, is designed to manage the flow and phase change of the refrigerant after leaving the gas cooler. For efficient cooling performance, the patented Carrier design enables final separation of CO
2 from its gas phase to the liquid state before entering the evaporator.

Increased optimism, continuing challenges

UK: While the building services sector reports increased business optimism and welcomes the possibility of increased construction output, the industry must continue to ensure that it continues to meet the challenges of today’s business environment.

That was one of the key messages delivered by Bruce Bisset, president of the Building & Engineering Services Association, at the B&ES president’s lunch, yesterday.

“Recent pronouncements do point to the genuine possibility of increased construction output – if not by the end of this year, then certainly during the first half of 2014,” he told assembled guests.

“In the wider context, it holds out the promise of increasing confidence, increasing investment, increasing activity and increasing workload right across the board.”

Recognising this was not going to happen overnight, he added “We must make sure that our businesses, and our industry, are fit for the challenges presented by the emergence of new technologies and the requirement for enhanced technical and managerial skills.

“We must adapt to changing working practices – in particular, the use of Building Information Modelling, which will become mandatory on public sector contracts in less than three years’ time.

“We must continue to review the shape and structure of the workforce, to ensure that it remains fully in line with the needs of our industry and our clients.

“We must play our full part in the implementation of the Industrial Strategy for Construction, which sets extremely challenging targets in terms of cost reduction, project timescales and the minimisation of greenhouse gas emissions.

The B&ES President’s Luncheon 2013 was held at One Great George Street, London SW1 – the headquarters of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Safeway USA to pay $600,000 for R22 leaks

USA: Safeway, America's second largest supermarket chain, has agreed to pay a $600,000 penalty for failures in repairing R22 refrigerant leaks and not keeping adequate service records.

In addition, the supermarket group has also agreed to implement a $4.1m plan to significantly reduce its emissions of ozone-depleting substances from refrigeration equipment at 659 of its stores in the settlement agreed with the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice.

Safeway will also reduce its corporate-wide average leak rate from 25% in 2012 to 18% or below in 2015. The company will also reduce the aggregate refrigerant emissions at its highest-emission stores by 10% each year for three years.

EPA regulations issued under Title VI of the Clean Air Act require that owner or operators of commercial refrigeration equipment that contains over 50lb of ozone-depleting refrigerants, and that has an annual leak rate greater than 35% repair such leaks within 30 days.

£12m centre to reduce food chain energy use

UK: A new £12m research centre has been established to support efforts to reduce CO2 emissions in the food chain. The National Centre for Sustainable Energy Use in Food Chains will call upon experienced engineers, scientists and industry experts to develop energy-efficient food manufacturing, distribution and retail systems to support companies achieve their short, mid and long term CO2 emissions reduction targets.

The Centre, led by Professor Savvas Tassou, head of the School of Engineering and Design and a well-known expert in refrigeration and energy research, is a partnership with teams from the University of Manchester, led by Professor Adisa Azapagic, and the University of Birmingham, led by Professor Fryer.

The £12m total cost includes £5.7m in funding from Research Councils UK and the Manufacturing the Future Programme with the remainder coming from its 33 UK industry supporters and the three universities.

“There is a global imperative to dramatically reduce carbon emissions across all heavy-use industries. It’s critical to start addressing energy efficiency in food chain systems now,” said professor Tassou.

Professor Azapagic added: “The Centre will contribute significantly to reducing energy use and environmental impacts from food production and consumption, thus helping to save resources and meet UK climate change targets.”

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Refrigerant/water ac offers best of both worlds

UK: Mitsubishi Electric has harnessed the benefits of a VRF and hydronic technologies in a new hybrid air conditioning system.

Providing simultaneous heating and cooling in a simplified two-pipe design, the HVRF system operates without using refrigerant in occupied spaces, removing the need for leak detection equipment. Manageable phased installation will also be possible thanks to the system’s modular design.

At the heart of the new system is an HBC (hybrid branch controller) box, which is connected to the outdoor unit via traditional refrigerant piping. Between the HBC box and the indoor fan coils, the system uses water piping but is still said to offer high sensible cooling and stable room temperatures for maximum comfort.

“Many of our buildings have been traditionally cooled and heated through a combination of chiller technology and oil or gas boilers, but with increasing legislation on energy efficiency and the rising cost of fuel, we now need a low-carbon, cost-effective alternative,” explains Mitsubishi Electric’s Mark Grayston. “We have developed this new approach to answer the need for energy efficiency and internal comfort.”

Seen as a rival to traditional heating and cooling rather than VRF, the new HVRF system employs a combination of two-pipe technology and water to provide simultaneous heating and cooling with heat recovery.

Specifically designed for the European market, a prototype of the HVRF has been installed and running secretly at Mitsubishi Electric UK’s Hatfield hq for the last three years. There is also a prototype in Spain.

A full production version of the system is now working to full effect at the Southampton offices of mechanical and electrical specialists, Working Environments Ltd and similar full production units are now also installed in buildings in Italy and Germany.

Having no refrigerant in occupied spaces means HVRF is particularly suited to applications such as hotels and high end residential situations.

In addition, the system offers significant reductions in installation time and lower running costs and emissions than the traditional methods of heating and cooling.

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Arkema to start R1234yf production

FRANCE: Arkema is to move ahead with industrial-scale production of the controversial refrigerant R1234yf. The French chemical manufacturer has confirmed a two-phase implementation in Asia and Europe.

In a statement, Arkema admitted that car manufacturers had not been given a sufficiently clear view on the availability and supply conditions for 1234yf and that this had limited progress to convert to the next generation refrigerant.

“With this investment, the company’s goal is to restore confidence across the automotive sector in 1234yf and takes this opportunity to assure the automotive industry that 1234yf will be available in commercial quantities to meet the phase down of R134a,” the manufacturer said. “Arkema is executing a two phase strategy based on proprietary technology: this first phase, based in Asia, is a project capable of supplying the emerging needs for 1234yf and a second phase investment in Europe with the objective to fully replace R134a after 2017.”

The Arkema statement gives scant detail of exactly where the factories will be or their planned capacity. However, Chinese market intelligence company CCM reported at the end of last year that Arkema was to build an industrial-scale R1234yf production facility in Changshu City, China, with a capacity of 7,000t/a.

If confirmed, that output would make it the largest such facility making the refrigerant which is designed to replace R134a in car air conditioning systems. Gross investment was reported by CCM to be $94.44m.

It seems likely the European facility will be at Pierre Benite, France, where Arkema currently produces laboratory-scale quantities of the gas for testing.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Change of owners for AHT

The AHT Cooling Systems (UK) facility in Buckingham

AUSTRIA: AHT Cooling Systems, the Austrian manufacturer of commercial plug-in refrigeration equipment, has been bought by private equity group Bridgepoint for €585m.

The deal reached today with AHT’s current owners Quadriga Capital is expected to be completed in October.

Headquartered in Rottenmann, Austria, AHT currently operates two production sites in Austria and China, and employs 1,100 people. It also provides a comprehensive after-sales and service network with a presence in over 113 countries

The company has generated a compound 10-year revenue growth of 10% and in 2013 is forecast to generate over €330m in sales.

"AHT is at an attractive point in its development given the already solid continued growth of its core product offering,” commented Marc Zügel, Bridgepoint's head of investment activities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

"Bridgepoint's investment will support us in our strategy of further internationalisation, especially in emerging markets, taking AHT's technology and after-sales service to new customers in our key target markets of Asia and Latin America," added AHT ceo Hans Aage Joergensen.

The company’s UK subsidiary AHT Cooling Systems (UK), based in Buckingham is the former Caravell UK business bought by AHT in 2008.

Mitsi to launch R32 units in Japan

JAPAN: Mitsubishi Electric is to launch an air conditioning unit in Japan using the low GWP, "mildly flammable" refrigerant R32.

While fellow Japanese manufacturer Daikin introduced R32 units into its home market last year and is preparing to bring them to Europe this autumn, rival Japanese manufacturers have until now remained tight-lipped on their intentions regarding any replacement for R410A.

Now Mitsubishi Electric has announced that it will introduce 11 new Z series room air conditioning models in Japan in November running on R32.

So far Mitsubishi Electric has not revealed any plans for the adoption of R32 across the rest of its product range or if and when R32 units wil be introduced in the rest of the world. However, Japanese manufacturers are known to be actively pursuing a switch to low GWP gases and R32 is a front-runner.

R32 is a single component, zero ODP gas with a GWP of around 650, significantly less than R410A's 1,980. It is classified as A2L, or mildly flammable, under ASHRAE classifications. It is one of the two components – R125 being the other – that form R410A.

The development of "next generation" low GWP, A2L refrigerants is a key focus of the Japanese air conditioning manufacturers' association JRAIA. At its recent agm, the JRAIA chairman, Daikin's Shinya Okada, said "We’ll establish a guideline for safe use of the A2L refrigerants and drive forward the conversion to low GWP or natural refrigerants as far as possible so that the global warming impact caused by HFCs can be greatly reduced."

JRAIA also discussed progress with the use of A2L refrigerants at the 33rd OEWG (Open-Ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol) meeting in Bangkok in June. This also included the risk assessment results of tests with mini-split air conditioners using R32. Suitable lubricants, leak detectors, refrigerant recovery units for use with A2L refrigerants, mainly designed for R32, were also introduced to demonstrate the availability of suitable components and service tools.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Detached pipe cap caused ammonia leak

CHINA: A detached pipe cap may have been the cause of the ammonia leak on Saturday which killed 15 people at a fish processing and storage plant in Shanghai.

According to official sources a cap on a pipe carrying ammonia fell off, releasing the chemical, resulting in the death of 15 and hospitalizing 25 others. Five were reported to be in critical condition. The workers suffered internal burns and some of those who died were said to have severe facial burns.

Twenty five fire engines are said to have rushed to the scene of the leak on Saturday morning at Shanghai Weng Brand Refrigerated Industrial Co.

Many of the victims were workers said to be asleep at the time of the incident in the company dormitories.

Investigations are continuing into the incident but the Chinese authorities are now said to be planning to carry out safety inspections on all ammonia plants in Shanghai.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Danfoss celebrates 80 years

The original farmhouse in Nordborg where Danfoss started is now the company museum

DENMARK: Today marks the 80th anniversary of the formation of Danfoss by Mads Clausen in his parent's farmhouse in Nordborg, Denmark. Since then, the business has grown from a one-man business into one of the world's leading hvacr suppliers, employing a staff of 23,000 and with sales in more than 100 countries.

Danfoss founder Mads Clausen (1905 - 1966)
Originally called Dansk Koleautomatik og Apparatenfabrik (Danfoss Refrigeration Controls and Apparatus Manufacturer), the company changed its name to Danfoss in 1946. With a limited home market, it is no surprise that the company has had an international outlook from the start. The company began to export to other European countries as early as 1939, and in 1949, Danfoss set up its first foreign sales company in Argentina. During the 1950s, Danfoss established itself in USA and Germany, and when globalization began to pick up speed in the 1990s, Danfoss was prepared, with factories and sales companies in both Russia and China. Today, these four countries are Danfoss' biggest markets.

From a UK perspective, Danfoss signed a distribution agreement with Dean & Wood in 1945, before setting up a UK subsidiary in London in 1952. Dean & Wood eventually became part of the Danfoss Group in 1979, a situation which remained until 2004 when the UK distributor was sold to Swedish company G&L Beijer.