Italian water vending machine and water cooler manufacturer Blupura is putting natural refrigerants at the heart of its business model and eyeing growth in the US market.
“We’ve officially decided to use R290 [propane] in all our units. From June, all our units will be working on R290,” Debora Screpanti, the company’s marketing manager, told hydrocarbons21.com ahead of next week’s ATMOsphere America conference in Chicago (16-17 June).
Asked to outline the thinking behind Blupura’s decision to focus solely on natural refrigerants when many of their competitors continue to produce HFC technologies too, Screpanti said, “we’re just doing it! Our philosophy is to be environmental-oriented, and we couldn't have done anything differently from what we're already doing”.
"Furthermore, our water coolers are more efficient with the natural refrigerant R290. So, there is only to gain from this choice," she added.
Creating a natural refrigerants culture
“We’re creating the culture, and it will be normal in the future. During our first efforts it was not so easy to explain it, but now more and more people are starting to look for it. So it will be a standard technology [going forward],” Screpanti asserted.
“We’re also seeing some of our competitors starting to be prepared for these new solutions,” she said.
Blupura sees itself as a pioneer of R290 water cooler technology not just in Europe but also in the US. “We got official authorisation in January – so we’re now the only company in the US authorised to sell units with this kind of gas [R290],” Screpanti said.
“They’re starting to write the regulations based on our first installations. We have already installed some in the US. We’re growing a lot in the US,” she added.
"We only founded BLUPURA USA in 2014, with a warehouse based in Miami and our business developer in North Carolina. Recently we developed several agreements with interesting companies who are already well established in the US," Screpanti said.
"So, our forecast is to become very soon the leaders in point-of-use water coolers also in the US, especially in the hospitality sector," she said.
Blupura sees its use of natural refrigerants as a central pillar of its wider sustainability efforts. The company’s units are manufactured from stainless steel and aluminium, with only the fittings requiring plastic. “We want to be very environmentally oriented,” Screpanti said.
“That’s why the gases need to be natural. That’s also why we’re promoting the use of glass bottles. There is no more use of plastic for distribution of bottled water. We also only have point-of-use water coolers. So no water coolers connected to bottle coolers. So everything is going in the same direction – to be environmentally oriented,” she explained.
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