• ATMOsphere cofounder, Jan Dusek.
    ATMOsphere cofounder, Jan Dusek.

There are 5000 industrial sites with hydrocarbon-based chiller installations in Europe as of December 2023, according to Jan Dusek, ATMOsphere's co-founder, group COO and head of APAC.

Speaking at ARBS 2024 on the rising adoption of natural refrigerant technologies around the globe, Dusek said the past year has seen exceptional growth for transcritical CO2 (R744) installations in both stores and industrial sites throughout the world.

Referring to ATMOsphere data from a report entitled Natural Refrigerants: State of the Industry, Dusek said the number of stores using CO2 rack systems grew by 20 per cent last year while the number with CO2 condensing ballooned by 70 per cent.

“Even on the industrial side, the number of sites with CO2 systems increased by a whopping 65 per cent to 3,300,” he said.

“On the other side of the pond, there was comparable growth, albeit from a smaller base.”

The number of stores in North America using transcritical CO2 shot up 80 per cent to 2,930, while the number of industrial sites hit 498, a sizeable 71 per cent increase.

In Japan, growth was more measured, but still healthy, at 26 per cent for stores (8,385 this year) and 21 per cent for industrial sites (400).

“What is driving all this uptake of natural refrigerant-based refrigeration? Clearly, regulatory action has had the most to do with it,” Dusek said.

Concerns around the efficiency of CO2 refrigeration systems in warm climates have long been seen as a barrier to CO2 uptake worldwide, with a so-called “CO2 equator” dividing viable installations to the north from non-viable ones to the south, the report said.

However, technology developments such as adiabatic condensing, ejectors and parallel compression have increasingly made CO2 technology viable in all climates, including regions previously deemed not suitable.

At the same time Dusek said manufacturers are continuing to come up with new ways to improve the efficiency of refrigeration systems, and there are multiple solutions from different companies already available on the market today.