As natural refrigerants continue to make inroads into the U.S. HVAC&R sector, Chinese-Spanish company Huayi Compressor Barcelona is optimistic about the market prospects for hydrocarbons. The firm was at AHR Expo, Chicago, IL. to promote its hydrocarbon refrigerant-based compressors at the show.

“We see the U.S. market as promising, a lot of opportunities and especially with natural refrigerants,” Pedro Olalla, sales director at Huayi Compressor Barcelona, told “Some customers are already going and a lot are thinking about natural refrigerants.”

The company is working with OEMs and end users to drive the light-commercial market towards hydrocarbons. “We have a lot of experience with R290 and we will take advantages,” Olalla said.

A major driver in the U.S. has been large food and drinks manufacturers that have converted many of their HFC-based fridges to hydrocarbons.

“We see the U.S. market as promising, a lot of opportunities and especially with natural refrigerants.

Pedro Olalla, Huayi Compressor Barcelona

The U.S. has stringent Department of Energy (DOE) energy-efficiency standards that apply to light-commercial refrigeration products and this has moved many OEMs to invest in hydrocarbons (see cover story in Accelerate America issue 23). 

Hydrocarbons allow companies to meet the efficiency regulations, according to Olalla. “Some want to not just comply with DOE but meet Energy Star [a DOE program that lists the most energy efficient products in the U.S.]. You can only do this with natural refrigerants.”

The company’s compressors can increase energy savings still further. “We have also improved our fixed speed and high efficiency ranges further,” he notes.

Asked whether the perceived slowdown in environmental regulations in the United States would have an effect on the HVAC&R sector, Olalla replied: “OEMs that have started will continue. […] Everyone will make it to natural refrigerants.”

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