ATMOsphere Australia a roaring success!

By team, May 23, 2016, 11:02 3 minute reading

Delegates attending ATMOpshere Australia expressed hope and confidence that the country’s first ATMOsphere conference would have a lasting impact on the HVAC&R industry and push forward much-needed discussions on the true potential for natural refrigerants Down Under.

With close to 200 delegates walking through the doors at Rydges Melbourne on 16 May, it was clear that industry is prepared, and more importantly willing, to mobilise as one.

The shecco team was absolutely delighted to welcome such a high number of attendees, with the final figure far exceeding initial expectations. Attendees listened in to over 30 international presentations from Australia and New Zealand, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Japan, South Africa, UK and the US.

The conference was marked by essential discussions covering key issues such as policy measures, market trends, technology, safety standards and training.

Overview of ATMOsphere Australia 2016

The key presentation in the policy session was from the Australian Government representative. Industry is eagerly awaiting the outcome of the Federal Government’s Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management programme (OPSGGM), which will finalise which HFC phase-down or mitigation options will be adopted. A decision is expected soon, but the 2 July federal election could well push back the process.

The market trends session revealed quite clearly the plethora of opportunities available for tried-and-tested systems from Asian, European and US manufacturers looking to enter the market. Warm climate variants of transcritical systems with ejectors, CO2 heat pumps and cascade NH3/CO2 solutions were among some of the proposed solutions that had domestic delegates listening in intently.

A range of key Australian and New Zealand HVAC&R associations discussed the barriers and opportunities for natural refrigerants including the Australia Refrigeration Association (ARA), the Australian Refrigeration Mechanics Association (ARMA), the Climate Control Companies Association of New Zealand (CCCA), Refrigerants Australia, the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association of Australia (AREMA) and the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association Australia (RACCA).

The need to raise training standards and implement a nationwide refrigerant licensing scheme was evident, as well as more effectively disseminating information to raise greater awareness of the safe use of all refrigerants, which should produce a new generation of future-proofed technicians.

End users were delighted to finally have the platform to openly discuss natural refrigerant solutions and barriers with industry. Key players like Coles and Woolworths, and Countdown and Foodstuffs in New Zealand, will continue to set the agenda and be an example to follow. They cannot and will not wait for government to implement regulation or subsidies.

Similarly, the major retailers will continue to work internally and with suppliers to increase awareness around safety and the number of technicians trained to handle natural refrigerants.

As in Europe, CO2 will undoubtedly make a significant impact on the food retail sector. In fact it already has, with hundreds of CO2 cascade systems in operation in Australia and New Zealand. All major retailers are installing or investigating transcritical CO2 as the future-proof solution for food retail, while hydrocarbon showcases and waterloop systems are also making a significant imprint.

The swathe of natural refrigerant solutions available to industrial end users is clearly not yet fully understood. From hydrocarbon chillers, low-charge ammonia, DX ammonia, CO2 transcritical, CO2/NH3 to water-based solutions – all are being tested and offer carbon-neutral, highly efficient investments for customers. Hydrocarbon chillers in particular can fill a gap in Australia in small to medium-sized industrial applications, where there is a lack of natural refrigerant offerings. The same is true of small to medium-scale air conditioning and heat pumps.

A colourful dinner reception at Bobby McGees bookended what was a highly successful first ATMOsphere event in Australia. Now, we look onwards and upwards to ATMOsphere Australia 2017 in Sydney and hearing about the progress industry has made together.

By team (@hydrocarbons21)

May 23, 2016, 11:02

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