“We are focusing on [propane; R290] condensing units for the Italian market,” Pedro Olalla, sales director at Huayi Compressor Barcelona, told hydrocarbons21.com at inaugural Italian HVAC&R show Refriger 2019 in Piacenza (20-22 February 2019).

The Chinese-Spanish company – a leading maker of compressors for light commercial applications – was also targeting the Italian market with bespoke units and complete systems in response to demand. “We see there is an opportunity with a full system,” Olalla said at the show.

Huayi hopes that offering complete systems will support small to medium-sized OEMs in making the switch from HFCs to propane. The company feels that this approach will help OEMs to mitigate the investment cost of changing production lines from HFCs to propane/isobutane. 

“At the end of the day the only solution is R290/R600a [..] We have lost a lot of time testing the [new chemical refrigerant] blends that almost no-one is using.

Pedro Olalla, Huayi Compressor Barcelona

Olalla said some OEMs in Europe are waiting untill 2022, when the new EU F-Gas Regulation bans the placing on the market of refrigerators and freezers for commercial use (hermetically sealed equipment) that contain HFCs with GWPs of 150 or more.

“They still think they have three years,” he said. “At the end of the day the only solution is R290/R600a,” he argued. “We have lost a lot of time testing the [new chemical refrigerant] blends that almost no-one is using.”

Huayi is also anticipating an expected summer 2019 change to the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard governing such equipment, which will increase the charge limit from 150g to 500g for A3 (flammable) refrigerants like propane. 

“We are not selling yet [units that can use higher charges] but we are showing some to customers and there is interest from the market,” he said. “I think the [final decision from the IEC] is almost there and by the end of the year we should get the green light.” 

During Chillventa, the world’s largest HVAC&R show held in Nuremberg, Germany in October 2018, Huayi launched new R290 variable speed compressors with cooling capacities from 196 W to 730 W. These were on display at Refrigera. “There were some big end users who would like to use variable speed but the cost [is still high],” he said. “Sooner or later it will arrive.”

He added that Europe and Latin America were possible markets for this efficient compressor technology.

Want to find out more, or have something to say about this story? Join the ATMO Connect network to meet and engage with like-minded stakeholders in the clean cooling and natural refrigerant arena.