With hydrocarbons already well established in smaller supermarkets, bottle coolers and ice-cream freezers, future growth will be concentrated in larger capacity applications if the permitted charge limit increases, according to Luis Felipe Dau, CEO and president of Embraco, a multinational focused on refrigeration solutions.

In a move that could widen the use of hydrocarbons as natural refrigerants worldwide, a crucial subcommittee of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) last week approved advancing to the decisive next stage in a standards process that could increase the charge limit on A3 (flammable) refrigerants like propane in commercial refrigeration equipment from 150g to 500g under the standard 60335-2-89.

In an exclusive interview with hydrocarbons21.com at the Chillventa 2018 tradeshow in Nuremberg, Germany, Dau cited “big plug-ins like open-door cabinets, and icemakers” as promising future growth segments.

China, India markets ripe for growth

Yet in all the applications and markets in which Embraco is active, Dau believes, “natural refrigerants are the trend going forward”. “They’re an opportunity to increase energy efficiency, and an opportunity to increase value for our customers.”

The Embraco CEO considers Europe to be “the most advanced” in terms of natural refrigerant adoption.

“After Europe, we have China and India, which usually follow European regulations and are also moving very strongly in that direction,” he said.

Natural refrigerants are already established in Latin America as well, particularly in commercial applications, Dau said. “We’re also seeing very strong movement on hydrocarbons in North America, and especially in the United States,” he added.

“We truly believe that natural refrigerants are – and will continue to be – a growing trend.

Luis Felipe Dau, CEO, Embraco

New business approach

Embraco came to Chillventa with a new business approach, which the firm described as, “shifting from product to solution-oriented”.

Dau said the new business approach would play an important commercial role. “We’re moving from a compressor-based to a solution-based company,” he said.

“This is a very important move for us, given our technical expertise and the opportunity we have to increase value for our customers,” he said.

Dau said the new approach would not change anything in terms of Embraco’s vision for natural refrigerants. “We truly believe that natural refrigerants are – and will continue to be – a growing trend,” he added.

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