With the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol requiring countries around the world to put in place HFC phasedown strategies, the Asian edition of the ATMOsphere conference series—the world’s biggest conference dedicated only to natural refrigerant-based technologies, and organised by shecco—was held in Suntec Convention & Exhibition Centre in Singapore on 4 September 2018.
Jan Dusek, Business Development Manager APAC, shecco, highlighted the market progress of natural refrigerant technology around the world and its applicability to Southeast Asia. “A lot is happening with natural refrigerants in every Southeast Asian country. That is why we have organised this conference. To show that progress is happening here,” he told participants in his opening address.
“The pressure on HFCs is now having an impact not just in Europe and America, but in Southeast Asia as well,” added shecco COO Alvaro De Oña.
Southeast Asia opportunity to leapfrog HFCs
ATMOsphere Asia 2018 saw over 160 registered attendees from 82 organisations, including 27 end users, 23 speakers as well as 14 sponsors and partners gathering to discuss the market prospects for natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R; solutions in industry sectors such as hospitality, cold storage and food retail. Nearly 30% of the delegates were joining an ATMO conference for the first time.
Demand for HVAC&R; solutions in Southeast Asia’s warm climate is increasing as its population grows and development continues apace. This presents the HVAC&R; sector with an opportunity to bypass HFCs, leapfrogging from highly potent HCFCs to environmentally friendly natural refrigerant technologies.
“We request from you as private companies to provide us with alternative technologies at a time when developing countries are ready to implement the Kigali Amendment,” said Bitul Zulhasni from the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, calling on industry to provide natural refrigerant-based HVAC&R; solutions.
Dr. Victor Nian from the Energy Studies Institute in the National University of Singapore said that, “the licensing regime for HFCs [in Singapore] is expected to commence on 1 January 2019” – providing further market opportunities for alternative technologies.
Yet a lack of knowledge of natural refrigerant systems, a lack of trained personnel and strict government action (inspired by the EU’s F-Gas Regulation) is pushing end users to invest in environmentally friendly alternatives to HCFCs. The industry’s need for training was also highlighted by other speakers including Amy Charlene Wong of Department of Environment of Malaysia, Herlin Herlianika of Green Chillers NAMA Project, and Abhijit Acharekar of Godrej.
“In terms of training, from my perspective, hydrocarbons for us are not the future, they are the present because we already have 600,000 units sold. So our focus now is on training technicians,” said Acharekar.
Wide range of HVAC&R; sectors interested in natural refrigerants
The unprecedented number of attendees not only revealed the region’s interest in natural refrigerant technology, but that interest in energy efficiency and sustainability spans all sectors of some of the region’s biggest economies. Stakeholders from various industry sectors attended the conference, including cold storage, food processing and retail, hospitality, building operation and maintenance, and urban development.
Representing this diversity, the End User Panel of the conference had Kiat Ananda Cold Storage (Indonesia’s largest cold store operator); MClean Technologies (a Singaporean precision cleaning and surface treatment service provider); Phapros (an Indonesian pharmaceutical company) and hotel firm Fairmont Singapore & Swissôtel the Stamford. These end users presented their businesses’ HVAC&R; needs and future plans.
“Basically we do our business while taking care of humanity, the environment and taking care of the business all together in one. Some say it is not easy, but believe me, it can be done,” said Ray Soraya, CEO of Kiat Ananda Cold Storage.
For the last 17 years, market accelerator shecco has been active in helping bring climate-friendly technologies faster to market. shecco supports over 100 partners worldwide in the HVAC&R; sector, where the focus is on sustainable refrigeration, heating & cooling technologies using natural refrigerants. shecco offers a variety of services in three areas: 1) media, including online industry platforms, magazines and a catalog of dedicated research reports; 2) market development, including market research, consultancy and public affairs services, as well as special international projects; and 3) events, including international conferences and national workshops.
Business Development Manager