Amid legislative pressure to phase down HFCs and a strong business case for efficiency gains, “interest in natural refrigerants in Australia is increasing with every show, across all our applications,” Kevin Marr, CEO – APAC South at CAREL, told at the ARBS 2018 tradeshow in Sydney last week.

Asked to compare the markets for natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R solutions in Europe and Australia, Marr replied: “In my view, there’s two schools – there’s people who are really embracing the technology, and there’s those who are concerned about support.”

Natural refrigerant uptake has thus far been slower in Australia than in Europe. Marr puts this down to the fact that European end users, technicians and contractors tend to be more familiar with the technology.

He also points out that legislative pressure to act is currently stronger in Europe, where the HFC phase-down taking place under the EU F-Gas Regulation is driving the market for alternatives.

Nonetheless Marr is optimistic that natural refrigerants will make greater inroads into Australia. “There’s a passion to do it,” he said.

“In my view, there’s two schools – there’s people who are really embracing the technology, and there’s those who are concerned about support.

Kevin Marr, CAREL

Face-to-face meetings hold key to market success

Asked what was driving natural-refrigerant uptake in Australia in particular, Marr replied: “Global warming is a high driver, but energy savings must come with that.”

“People are looking at CO2, R290 – we’re being pulled by the customer. We’re not promoting one solution – it’s about what the customer wants, and what’s best for their business,” Marr said.

Natural-refrigerant uptake tends to be faster in Australia’s major population centres than in the countryside, where concerns over technical support levels in terms of installation and maintenance perhaps lead to slower uptake, he suggested.

“Nothing beats face-to-face” meetings in getting the message out that natural-refrigerant HVAC&R solutions are readily available for the Australian market, Marr argued. “We’re visiting our clients, end users and other stakeholders to make sure this message is clear,” he said.

Tradeshows such as ARBS and conferences such as ATMOsphere Australia are also important in this regard, he said.

The Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Building Services Exhibition took place at the ICC in Sydney’s Darling Harbour on 8-10 May.

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