At the 19th European Conference of the Centro Studi Galileo at the Poltecnico di Milano, ASERCOM President Wolfgang Zaremski also gave a presentation in the fourth session “Regulations & Certifications Globally”. He commented on Europe’s climate and energy policy goals and framework conditions until 2050 and presented ASERCOM’s refrigerant scenario for compliance with the EU F-Gas Regulation.

Five topics were presented at the conference. In addition to the topic of “Regulation and certification worldwide”, the following other key topics were considered:

  • Technology, equipment and parts/components
  • F-gases and other refrigerants
  • Green refrigeration and energy efficiency
  • The cold chain

Here are the most important results of the European event in brief:

There is still a great need for research and development by the industry. Although all components for CO2 and low-GWP refrigerants are already available today, the increasing demand still requires new innovative technical solutions. The flammable refrigerant R290 will soon appear as an alternative to synthetic refrigerants in split air-conditioning systems. The acceptance of these systems in the market will determine their further spread. In principle, highly flammable refrigerants can be used if the systems are placed outside the building. This is also possible without any problems if EN378 is complied with.

The conference participants emphasised that in the future, security and remote maintenance will play an increasingly important role in the design and construction of systems. Connecting systems through IoT solutions poses new challenges for the entire industry, such as cyber security. This development has noticeably been accelerated by the Corona pandemic.

With a view to the F-gas regulation, the industry representatives predicted that CO2 will establish itself as the standard in the supermarket. The same applies to R290 for certain applications. Nevertheless, there is a whole range of applications in which synthetic refrigerants cannot be replaced in the short and medium term.

In addition to the choice of refrigerant, energy efficiency was also discussed. In this context, the suggestion was discussed that instead of a conventional COP comparison, the performance evaluation of systems should rather be based on the integrated system performance in order to evaluate the energy efficiency holistically.

The conference made clear demands for the revision of the F-Gas Regulation: All refrigerants should be explicitly included in the revision of the F-Gas Regulation, a mandatory leakage check should be introduced for all systems, and the minimum competences of the technical personnel employed should be explicitly stipulated. This is the only way to ensure consistently safe systems and thus a good future for the HVAC&R industry.

A major topic was the special importance of working cold chains to ensure the supply of food to the population. Especially in the time of the Covid 19 pandemic, global vaccine logistics must also be addressed. According to WHO figures, for 70 per cent of vaccines, consistent temperature control during storage and transport is problematic.

Best practice now must be established not only for vaccine logistics, but also for food logistics. The conference appealed to the national associations to jointly collect and prepare information and practical guidance at this point. To raise the profile and importance of the cold chain among policy makers, the UN Food Summit 2021 could be a good opportunity.

Contribution Wolfgang Zaremski, ASERCOM President

Short video extract of the speech Wolfgang Zaremski delivered at the 19th European Conference jointly organized by the United Nations UNEP, the International Institute of Refrigeration IIR, Centro Studi Galileo, AREA, ATF and REI.