ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com, has released its 2023 Market Report, “Natural Refrigerants: State of the Industry/Refrigeration in Europe, North America and Japan, Plus Heat Pumps in Europe,” with data showing growth of low-charge ammonia systems in Europe and North America.
The report can be downloaded for free here.
The release of the annual report coincides with the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which runs from November 30 to December 12 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At the event representatives of ATMOsphere highlighted the report in supporting the global adoption of clean cooling and heating technologies with natural refrigerants alongside the launch of the Global Cooling Pledge.
“Our 2023 Market Report will contribute to the conversation in Dubai and worldwide by providing the latest insights and data on natural refrigerant-based commercial and industrial refrigeration systems in several key markets – Europe, the U.S., Canada and Japan,” said Marc Chasserot, Founder and Publisher of ATMOsphere. “We consider this report to be the world’s leading resource for information on the installations and penetration of natural refrigeration in the commercial and industrial sectors.”
The report provides installation data as of December 2023 for transcritical CO2, low-charge ammonia and hydrocarbon cabinets in Europe and North America (U.S. and Canada) and transcritical CO2 in Japan, as well as (for the first time) hydrocarbon chillers in Europe and natural refrigerant (mostly hydrocarbon)-based domestic heat pumps in Europe.
As of December 2023, ATMOsphere estimates there were 3,360 industrial sites using low-charge (below 1.3kg/kW or 10.1lbs/TR) ammonia systems in Europe, based on production numbers from leading OEMs. This represents a growth rate of 18% over a year ago, when there were an estimated 2,850 such sites.
Historically, the number of industrial facilities with low-charge ammonia systems in Europe has been increasing, from 2,200 in June 2019 to 2,450 in June 2021, a rise of 11%, and 2,850 in December 2022, a gain of 16%.
In May 2022, the European Productivity & Benchmarking Report (EPBR) of the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), based on data from the 2020 fiscal year, reported that the majority of its third-party cold-storage operators used ammonia for their refrigeration system.
In North America, ATMOsphere estimates there were 1,045 industrial sites using low-charge ammonia systems as of December 2023, an increase of 10% over a year ago, including 110 with packaged units and 935 with central systems. The 1,045 industrial sites equate to 715 sites (627 with central and 88 with packaged systems) in the U.S. and 330 (308 central and 22 packaged) in Canada.
As of December 2022, there were 950 industrial sites with installations of low-charge ammonia systems in North America, including 100 with packaged units and 850 with central systems. In the U.S., there were 650 industrial sites (570 with central and 80 with packaged systems) and in Canada, 300 (280 central and 20 packaged).
Drivers of adoption
Among the drivers of natural refrigerant- based refrigeration adoption, regulatory action has had the most to do with it. In Europe, as explained in the report, the F-gas Regulation, already a major spur to natural refrigerant adoption, has been upgraded this year, making f-gases an even less attractive option. The EU’s ongoing consideration of restrictions on PFAS, which are defined to include HFOs, only serves to further accelerate the move toward natural refrigerants.
In the U.S., the rollout of the AIM Act, especially its Technology Transitions piece, has sparked long overdue interest in natural refrigerants by large supermarket chains. The restrictions on 150+ GWP refrigerants in the AIM Act have already led to considerable adoption of CO2 and hydrocarbon equipment in California, where these limits were enacted in 2020; they are now having a similar effect on a national level. But unlike Europe, the U.S. government has yet to make the connection between PFAS and f-gases.
In Japan, the government’s natural refrigerant subsidy program has been a major driver of adoption.
In Europe, North America and Japan, changes to the charge limits for hydrocarbons are opening new opportunities for self-contained cases using propane. Europe has many other measures, including its ecodesign and labeling rules, HFC taxes, incentives and RePowerEU heat pump rollout, with the potential to support natural refrigerant adoption.
This report also delves into the many other factors impacting the uptake of natural refrigerants, both on a global and regional level. Worldwide, technological improvements continue to make transcritical CO2 applicable in all climates and in integrated HVAC&R formats while lowering the charge levels of ammonia systems and boosting the efficiency of hydrocarbon cases.
“Our 2023 Market Report will contribute to the conversation in Dubai and worldwide by providing the latest insights and data on natural refrigerant-based commercial and industrial refrigeration systems in several key markets – Europe, the U.S., Canada and Japan.”Marc Chasserot, Founder and Publisher of ATMOsphere