In a sign of increasing competition among natural refrigerant solutions in the Japanese market, new technology debuts from leading suppliers such as Panasonic and Nihon Netsugen Systems are among the major highlights expected at this year’s ATMOsphere Japan 2019 conference, which will be held in Tokyo on 12 February 2019.

Jan Dusek, managing director of shecco Japan, outlined these key highlights to look forward to at the event.

“There is no doubt that 2019 will be an exciting year for natural refrigerants in Japan,” said Dusek.

“We have seen a number of Japanese end users take very significant steps in growing their use of natural refrigerant technology, especially in the industrial refrigeration sector over the past year.”

“This is being driven mainly by subsidies which have just been confirmed to continue with €58 million available for the retail, food processing and cold storage sectors in FY2019.”

“There is also so much new NatRef technology entering the Japanese market this year from both overseas and domestic players,” he said.

“There is no doubt that 2019 will be an exciting year for NatRefs in Japan.

Jan Dusek, shecco Japan

Japan industrial sector eyeing CO2

Over the past year, the amount of competition heating up between several players competing for the CO2 industrial refrigeration market has been increasing.

In a sector that has already seen an incredible amount of success implementing NH3/CO2 cascade systems, Dusek says that the time is now ripe for discussion about the opportunities for transcritical CO2 systems.

“This is true especially now with key players already having rolled out 100+ CO2 transcritical condensing units for the industrial sector in Japan,” he said.

“One major highlight of the conference this year is Panasonic’s entrance into the domestic CO2 industrial refrigeration market. The company plans to introduce its new 80 HP transcritical CO2 booster rack for cold stores as well as a new CO2 system with heat reclaim at the event this February,” Dusek said.

“Plus, we are seeing leading end users in this sector taking a very active role in testing and evaluating all the new technology options available with the view of aggressively phasing out the use of HFCs at their facilities over the next few years.”

“One of these end users is Ajinomoto Frozen Foods who we are very excited about featuring as a keynote end user speaker at ATMO Japan 2019,” he said.

Ajinomoto Frozen Foods aims to eliminate the use of Freon from all its domestic food processing factory freezers by 2020.

“One major highlight of the conference this year is Panasonic’s entrance into the domestic CO2 industrial refrigeration market.

Jan Dusek, shecco Japan

Hydrocarbons taking off in food retail

Though no significant conclusions resulted from the Japan Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industry Association’s highly anticipated hydrocarbon risk assessment at last month’s symposium in Kobe, Japan, international suppliers and local manufacturers continue to drive forward with hydrocarbon technology opportunities.

“We are expecting a number of new hydrocarbon-based solutions to enter the market in Japan this year,” said Dusek.

“One of these will be Nihon Netsugen Systems’ introduction of a hydrocarbon waterloop plug-in system,” he said.

Based in Japan, Nihon Netsugen Systems has led CO2 uptake in industrial refrigeration in the country. It introduced its CO2 Booster Super Green system last year.

Now, with the introduction of the hydrcarbon waterloop system, it seems to now be eyeing opportunities in the light commercial sector as well, Dusek said.

“This area will also be a very hot topic for discussion and is in my opinion the lowest hanging fruit for the industry.”

“The challenge for hydrocarbon technology in Japan is not technical, it is cultural. This is the area where international players can contribute the most.”

“The challenge for hydrocarbon technology in Japan is not technical, it is cultural.

Jan Dusek, shecco Japan

Solutions for existing stores

While the opportunity is obvious, one of the biggest challenges the local industry faces, said Dusek, is the availability of solutions for existing stores.

“The biggest challenge for the domestic industry, especially in food retail, is to find natural refrigerant solutions for refurbishment at existing supermarkets, many of which still use R22 and have leakage problems,” said Dusek.

“This in my opinion will be a big point of discussion for industry leaders at the event — to help provide a solution for the tens of thousands of stores ready to be converted to NatRefs.”

The urgency, according to Dusek, cannot be understated.

“Japan has a risk of falling behind due to its very lax regulations towards HFCs. If synthetic substances with GWPs just under 1,500 continue to enter the market, we will only have kicked the can down the road and it will be very expensive for the entire industry in the long run.”

“This is a call upon the industry. Do you recognise the opportunity in Japan? Now is the time,” he said.“This is a call upon the industry. Do you recognise the opportunity in Japan? Now is the time.

 Jan Dusek, shecco Japan

With Japan’s last-minute ratifaction of the Kigali Amendment and the reinstatement of €58 million in NatRef subsidies from Japan’s Ministry of Environment, the stage is set once more for the most important conversation about natural refrigerant technology in Japan to take place.

ATMOsphere Japan 2019 will be held in Tokyo on 12 February 2019 — one day before Japan’s largest retail exhibition, the Supermarket Tradeshow.

Click here for the latest ATMO Japan 2019 programme.

Click here to register or contact:

Jan Dusek, Managing Director, shecco Japan

jan.dusek@shecco.com 

or

Lydia Matthäus, Global Events Manager, shecco

lydia.matthaeus@shecco.com 

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