The Evolution of Refrigerants – Food & Drink Business
On this World Refrigeration Day (June 26), our company pays special attention to the cold chain and celebrates how far refrigeration technology has come. It is obvious that there has been a lot of progress since the first low-tech process of trucks delivering ice cream from house to house.
But even in the past 10 to 15 years, advancements have been impressive and include everything from highly improved functionality and efficiency in household refrigerators to electric vehicles for transporting goods to complex retail layouts. defined by variable temperature zones and all manner of containment for high, low temperatures. , and medium temperature refrigeration. The history of cold chain refrigeration has been a continuum of progress driven by four key influences.
1. Consumption trends
Today’s consumers want their food faster, fresher, perfectly ripe and in greater variety, wherever they are. Consumers are demanding more organic options and fewer preservatives; Additionally, they have a more sophisticated palate seeking to have each food served at its ideal temperature, which is very different from simply frozen, cold or chilled.
As food and pharmaceuticals become more and more specialized, so does the journey along the cold chain. Timing and temperature must be more accurate than ever to maintain quality and safety.
Global initiatives to protect the planet took off in 1987 with the Montreal Protocol, which led to the development and use of refrigerants with zero ozone depletion potential (ODP). In 2016, the Kigali Amendment, phasing out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), led to refrigerant solutions with significantly lower global warming potential (GWP). Regulatory compliance and a consumer base loyal to green businesses have every phase of the cold chain geared towards more sustainable refrigeration.
4. Productivity and profitability
For a product to sell, it must be safe and of high quality, look attractive, and ultimately meet the requirements of the three influences above. A refrigeration system must also support a growing business by operating reliably, economically and efficiently, meeting capacity and being easy to maintain.
As a member of The Chemours Company, I can confidently say that the chemistry behind today’s and tomorrow’s refrigerants has been developed and innovated, to reflect these influences and support the HVACR industry in making the necessary transitions. that are smart for the planet and for business. . Today, the cold chain uses zero ODPs, low GWP hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) and HFO blends that provide comparable performance and safety as replacements for HFCs in existing systems. These include R-513A and R-449A for food processing and deep freezing in manufacturing, R-513A and R-452A for chilled and frozen transport, and a range of options to help achieve ideal temperatures in warehouse, retail and home storage applications.
Additionally, as companies like Chemours and many OEMs invest in next-generation refrigeration products, the industry is beginning to see a class of A2L refrigerants at work in new systems that are set to become the norm in next 3 to 5 years. With the latest developments in refrigeration and technology, the cold chain will continue to see more of these types of solutions emerge to achieve the optimal balance of factors including energy consumption, emissions, operating costs , optimum performance, reliability, safety and durability. while providing the flexibility to meet diverse and specialized needs, from farm to fork.
Brandon Marshall, MBA, is North America Marketing Manager — Thermal and Specialty Solutions (TSS) at The Chemours Company. For more than a decade, he has gained experience and knowledge of the manufacturing contracting market and has the skills to meet today’s challenges to create a greener tomorrow. Brandon is passionate about helping the HVAC industry navigate the complex technological and regulatory landscape to further institute the use of new, intelligent systems to reduce environmental impact. With this vision, he plays a critical role in bringing the Chemours Opteon™ portfolio of zero ODP and low GWP refrigerants to market and in transitioning the industry to high performance, environmentally friendly solutions.