JBG-2, a Polish manufacturer of commercial refrigeration display cases, has seen the market for propane (R290)-based equipment grow significantly over the past few years.

According to Marcin Szczecina, Sales Engineer for Commercial Refrigeration at JBG-2, R290 cabinets have accounted for 52% of unit sales this year, up from 43% in 2019. Another 2% of unit sales in 2022 are isobutane (R600a) cabinets, while 18% are CO2 (R744). cabinets.

This information was shared by Szczecina during an interview at Chillventa 2022, which took place October 11–13 in Nuremberg, Germany.

JBG-2 added natural refrigerant-based equipment to its product portfolio in 2008 – first introducing R744 and then R290 and R600a in 2011.

So far this year, 58% of the manufacturer’s case sales have been plug-in units, 90% of which use R290, he added. “In the beginning, the percentage [of R290] was completely different; it was smaller,” said Szczecina. “But now we are quite confident it’s the way to go.”

Global market for hydrocarbons

While more than 50% of its sales are in Europe, JBG-2’s products are available in 83 countries across the world, with customers in Africa, the Middle East and North America, said Szczecina.

“This is mostly R290, but some countries still require all HFCs, which we are trying to make as small a part of our production as possible,” he added. “Countries like Saudi Arabia and the [United Arab] Emirates often want old refrigerants [HFCs] because it’s easier to service them there.”

“This is mostly R290, but some countries still require all HFCs, which we are trying to make as small a part of our production as possible.”

Marcin Szczecina, JBG-2

According to Szczecina, there has been lot of change over the last few years.

“We can see a big development when it comes to plug-ins; most of our customers get R290 or R600 as the refrigerant,” he said. “Only a couple of times there has been an issue with the availability of R600 or R290 in the market, especially with trained technicians.”

In addition to the availability of technicians and customer requirements, legal requirements are also an influencing factor, Szczecina explained.

“We have two things to look at: the requirements from the lawmakers and requirements from the customers,” he said. “Sometimes they are contradictory, and we are stuck in the middle.”

JBG-2 now has a wide range of products that use hydrocarbons, including multidecks, cabinets, counters and island display cases.

Its Garmo L4 multideck, which uses R600a and was on display at Chillventa, is one of the most energy-efficiency multidecks in the world, according to Szczecina. He added that this is thanks to the unit’s inverter compressor and JBG-2’s no-defrost technology. The newer Garmo L5 model uses R290.

The company supplies its display cases to a wide range of customers, from small convenience stores to hypermarkets, said Szczecina.

In addition to the hydrocarbon display cases, JBG-2 also manufactures an R290 chiller and R290 air-source heat pumps, which were launched last year.

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