ATMOsphere Cape Town Highlights NatRef Progress in South Africa

ATMOsphere Cape Town Highlights NatRef Progress in South Africa

ATMOsphere Cape Town

The first-ever ATMOsphere Cape Town conference on March 10 attracted end users, technology providers and governments representatives who are seeking ways for South Africa to move beyond synthetic refrigerants.  

The March 10 conference offered more than 20 presentations by stakeholders in the country and beyond. More than 150 attendees from around the world gathered in Cape Town to talk about natural refrigerants.

Marc Chasserot, CEO of shecco (the organizer of the event and the publisher of this website) kicked things off by touching on some trends from the recent EuroShop trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, showing how natural refrigerants are becoming the norm especially in commercial refrigeration, in Europe.  

Chasserot also presented the key global trends with regards to the HVAC&R industry. In addition to the move to natural refrigerants in refrigeration, he highlighted servitization, digitalization (smarter systems), and an increasing focus on natural refrigerant HVAC systems. 

Moving from global trends to local ones, John Ackermann, founder of the Cold Link magazine in South Africa and Chairman of the South African Refrigeration Distribution Association (SARDA), gave a stirring talk on “Day Zero for Natural Refrigerants.” He stressed that as synthetic refrigerants are phased out, South Africa needs to embrace natural refrigerant or end up with insufficient refrigeration and cooling capacity. This would have a massive impact on the economy, health care, the mining industry, and human comfort and lifestyle in general. 

In the “technology trends” session, Maurice Robinson of local OEM Sphere Solutions presented on CO₂ trends, Hannes Steyn of GEA Refrigeration looked at ammonia, and Grant Laidlaw of the ACRA Training Academy considered hydrocarbons. Thomas Motmans of the Swiss Basel Agency for Sustainable Energy (BASE) spoke about the cooling-as-a-service business model and servitization, while Sean Doyle of Irish energy services company Crowley Carbon discussed delivering energy savings with technology and expertise.  

In the policy session shecco presented on global policy progress in relation to refrigerants and the move towards natural refrigerants. Then, looking more locally, Margaret Molefe, Department of Environmental Affairs (DEFF), spoke about South Africa’s progress with regards to phasing out HFCs and implementing the Kigali Amendment. Specifically honing in on Cape Town and its wider Western Cape region, Sally Benson of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, looked at the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) Project the agency is doing with the German development cooperation GIZ.

During the Q&A there were specific questions about progress on the phase out of disposable refrigerant canisters. Molefe confirmed that there are ongoing economic impact assessments and there is no decision on this yet. There was also a question about an update on the regulations driving the HFC phase down in line with the Kigali Amendment, but it was confirmed that this has to be promulgated first in the Climate Change Bill, which is still out for approval by the cabinet. 

Following an end-users panel discussion, the day concluded with seven case studies showing how natural refrigerants (specifically CO2, ammonia and hydrocarbons) have improved reliability and energy efficiency. These included: 

Do you want to see photos of the event? Have a look!

Returning in 2021 

The next ATMOsphere event on the continent will be an ATMOsphere South Africa conference, taking place during the FRIGAIR 2021 trade show in Johannesburg. Watch this space for more information. To become a sponsor of this event, contact Pilar Aleu at

For an in-depth look at the end users panel discussion, check out the April issue of Accelerate Magazine, available online on April 7.

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.

You Might Also Like

Go to top