Keeping our cool over future ban of HFCs

JD COOLING | General

On 15 October 2016, media reports detailed that representatives from more than 150 countries reached an ‘monumental’ agreement to phase out the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) gases by 2019.

HFCs, widely used in refrigeration and air conditioning, were introduced in 1989 to replace the use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were damaging the o-zone layer.

It has been reported that although researchers discovered that HFCs pose no threat to the o-zone, they cause much greater levels of global warming than CO2 by trapping heat radiating off the Earth.

As well as being destructive, they are also the fastest growing greenhouse gases. The increasing demand for air conditioning in developing economies has seen the use of HFCs up by 10-15% per year.

The European Union, the US and other richer economies will start to limit their use of HFCs aiming for a cut of at least 10% from 2019.

Developing countries like China, nations in Latin America and island states will stop their use of HFCs from 2024.


Future Thinking

This news has not come as a shock to JD Cooling Systems and their clients.

In the last 10 years JD Cooling Systems, have been focused on making their clients aware of the potential for such a ban and have been offering a range of options to help soften the impact to their end users’ businesses’.

John Dye, Managing Director said, “Our own business has seen a shift from a point 10 years ago when 80% of our workload was installing systems with high charges of HFC gases. This now represents less than 20% of our overall turnover.”

The remaining 80% is now made up of cooling systems which either use very low amounts of HFCs or in many cases none whatsoever.

John Dye who has seen the company grow by more than 150% in the last 10 years commented, “We have been working closely with our clients to highlight the risk of continued use of direct expansion systems that require large amounts of HFCs to operate. It was clear to us that this policy was potentially high risk, especially on larger systems where the investments can be huge.

Obviously not all systems warrant the greater capital spend associated with tackling the HFC problem, but where possible, we have tried to mitigate the risk to the end user whenever financially feasible.”


Secondary Cooling Systems

Many such solutions have been based on installing secondary cooling systems which use Food Safe Glycol (Mono Propylene) as the main refrigerant, with this being cooled by packaged chillers that contain very low levels of HFCs.

JD Group Technical Manager, Tom Marshall commented, “Glycol systems are the perfect replacement for large traditional “DX” systems that have been the main source of global warming through leakage to atmosphere.

We have engineered many glycol systems either for completely new facilities or as replacements for old R22 systems. Most clients faced with having to replace their old CFC/HCFC systems through earlier bans such as the Montreal Protocol, are understandably reluctant to turn around and replace them with another volatile substance such as HFCs.”

It is these people who have been most easily persuaded to adopt the higher level of technology such as ammonia chillers serving a secondary glycol cooling system. Combined with cascade CO2 cooling systems to serve blast freezers and other low temperature applications, JD Cooling have been involved with a number of “Gold Medal Standard” installations at factories for some of the UK’s leading food manufacturers over the last 2-3 years.

“The vision to start up a new company in the form of JD Industrial Cooling Systems, was born out of our recognition that we needed to be able to offer existing and potential clients the very best technology to suit their requirements, not just whatever technology we felt comfortable offering at the time.”, stated Dye.


JD Industrial Cooling Systems

JD Industrial Cooling Systems (JDI) carry out bespoke projects across the UK using natural refrigerants such as ammonia and CO2 to their own client base, which includes many household names.

They also support the design and servicing teams within the parent company, JD Cooling Systems, so that they can offer a range of cooling solutions to meet the varying requirements of their diverse list of clients.

JD Commercial Engineering Director, Robert Keal commented, “JDI complement our own activities perfectly. Most of our clients want a commercially effective solution to their cooling needs but now understand that they must have an eye on the future, whether it be through threats to refrigerants such as HFCs or to minimise their operational running costs.

Many of our commercial competitors cannot offer a fully natural solution and so will steer their proposals in a direction which is within their capabilities. In contrast, many of our industrial competitors are hamstrung by old habits of using the same approach to their installations which can often be slow and expensive.

We can bring our expertise in large food production cooling facilities together with JDI’s technical capabilities and combine this to allow us to offer our clients the best solution to their cooling needs.”

This combined experience across the commercial and industrial sectors is proving to be a strong selling point to a frustrated UK end user marketplace.

“Many of the larger industrial companies that offer installation and servicing of refrigeration systems in this country, are in fact off-shoots of large international refrigeration equipment manufacturers. As such, they are tied to applying their parent companies’ products. In addition, as part of major global organisations they may find it difficult to react to their own clients’ ever-changing requirements.”, observed John Dye.

The JD Group are one of, if not, the largest independent, refrigeration installation and service company operating in the UK.

Directly employing over 70 people from their offices in East Anglia, Manchester and Scotland, the Group can offer many choices of equipment manufacturers to provide the most efficient, reliable and commercially viable combination for their specific end users’ needs.

This, combined with an unrivalled depth of talent and enthusiasm offered by the diverse group of people that have come together as the JD Cooling Group, is why their clients will keep their cool despite the forthcoming ban on HFCs.

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