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Danfoss Industry Poll Reveals Drivers and Barriers of CO2 Refrigeration Systems

18 October 2012
Survey respondents see CO2 as a viable refrigerant alternative for transcritical and subcritical applications
Danfoss, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency electronic and mechanical components and controls for air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration and motion systems, recently conducted a preliminary online opinion poll to gauge industry’s readiness for CO2 in subcritical and transcritical refrigeration systems.

The preliminary poll, “CO2 Industry Indicator,” gathered input from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), consultants, contractors and end users to estimate the level and rate at which CO2 systems are already being deployed in the United States. Final respondent data comprised 36 percent contractors, 30 percent end users, 21 percent OEMs and 13 percent consultants.

Energy Efficiency, HFC Phasedown Drive CO2
According to the results of the survey, the deployment of CO2 systems is motivated by a variety of factors, including the demand for greater energy efficiency (25 percent) and the potential for HFC phasedown and other regulations (24 percent). Consultants and end users also noted the importance of CO2 as a means by which to meet and employ corporate sustainability initiatives, with the improvement of public image a key concern. Contractors, on the other hand, find the safety of CO2 to be highly desirable.

Costs, Education Hamper Deployment
Respondents to the survey also identified the perceived barriers to implementing CO2 systems. The most frequently cited challenges included initial system costs (32 percent) and contractors’ lack of familiarity with the technology (40 percent). Consultants and end users also acknowledged a concern about platform stability, including operation at higher ambient temperatures.

A Viable Alternative to HFCs
Despite these challenges, the study revealed an increasing acceptance of CO2 as an alternative to HFC refrigerants in certain applications, such as supermarkets, industrial refrigeration, transport refrigeration and vending. In fact, among those OEMs polled, 84 percent affirmed CO2 as a viable alternative refrigerant. Overall, the number of projects that incorporate CO2 is increasing, with new construction applications outpacing retrofits.

“This study provided valuable information regarding U.S. industry experience with and perceptions of CO2, as well as those things that motivate and/or challenge the use of CO2,” said Marc Chasserot, editor-in-chief of R744.com. “We’ve witnessed a growing popularity of CO2 refrigeration systems throughout Europe in recent years. However, the results of this survey clearly indicate that the U.S. refrigeration industry needs to improve awareness of CO2 system designs and provide education on specific system requirements, if CO2 is going to gain increasing acceptance as a viable alternative to HFC refrigerants.”