International keynote speach

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Maurice Young was a keynote speaker at the recent 6th IIR conference on Ammonia and CO2 Refrigeration Technologies held between April 16th and 18th at Ohrid, in the Republic of Macedonia.

140 delegates registered for this latest IIR meeting, which represents almost a 40% increase over the previous conferences.  Delegates came from about 35 countries including speakers and presenters from 23 countries, mostly from within Europe but also including speakers from the USA, Africa, India, China, New Zealand and Australia.

Summary of presentation:

IIR6_Ohrid_MJY

Ammonia has been considered to be an excellent choice of refrigerant for industrial applications for over 150 years.  However, ammonia is toxic and besides it is also flammable and requires careful safety consideration in the design and operation of refrigeration systems, even though it has a good safety record and ignition of ammonia is a very rare occurrence and is virtually unknown in systems which comply with recognised European Standards.  In the UK a recent ‘Joint Industry Project’ has sought to provide practical guidance to ensure ammonia refrigeration plants are fully compliant with the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002 as required by EU ATEX Directives.  The paper provided an overview of the current legal framework and explains the procedure to be followed in classification of hazardous areas in accordance with IEC EN 60079-10-1.  Finally an approach using new software to model potential releases and calculate the hazard range, was described.

About the conference

According to all reports, the concentrations of CO2 and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere are increasing continuously.  There are alarming projections of GHG emissions including HFCs.  In Europe, an EU Regulation 842 on F-gases have been introduced which is revised in 2014 with more adopted restrictions, including phase-down of HFCs.  More than 110 countries support the proposal for phase-down of HFCs within the Montreal Protocol, but no agreement has been reached so far.  In the meantime, new HFC refrigerants (named HFOs) with low GWPs are announced.

In the refrigeration and air-conditioning industry, confusion and uncertainties related to working fluids in many applications are continuing.  In addition, there are many groups with diverging interests: chemical companies, manufacturers of equipment, distributors, users, environmental organizations, politicians and the public.

Despite many difficulties, the global trend towards using natural refrigerants is intensifying.  There are very positive signals in Europe and some parts in the world where expanding use of ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons in various applications is occurring.  We will eliminate all uncertainties in the future regarding both Protocols and environmental regulations applying to natural refrigerants.

Of all refrigerants applied today, ammonia and CO2 are the oldest that have been used since the 19th century.  The topics of the conference are: design of modern ammonia and new CO2 systems and technological innovations, improving energy efficiency, various applications, technical guidelines and safety regulations.  It is very clear: by using more ammonia and CO2 refrigerants, we are employing environmentally friendly technologies.