Winter Roundtable 2023
10th January 2024
Our Managing Director, Brian Churchyard, and Technical Manager, Chris Griffiths, were delighted to attend the annual winter roundtable in London. With special thanks to Chemours, a host of esteemed industry experts participated in the event.
The key topic encompassed the new F-Gas proposals and their impact on the industry. The panel of experts concluded that training, safety, and efficiency are the biggest concerns the industry faces due to the proposals.
One salient point from the day was that while the industry has reacted positively in the past decade to finding alternative low GWP refrigeration system solutions, training and safety concerns remain prevalent. From an academic perspective, it was noted that the current HNC in Building Services is no more complex than a Level 2 refrigeration qualification. From a practical standpoint, the fact was raised that an F-Gas handling qualification serves to be a means to an end within the regulation itself, and this does not necessarily mean that it would qualify an engineer as competent.
From an efficiency perspective, it was noted that a reduction in GWP often results in higher energy consumption on a kW v kW comparison of high to low GWP refrigerants. Whilst the industry has innovated when it comes to the efficiency of low GWP systems via heat recovery and doors on chilled display cases as two examples, thermodynamic inefficiencies must be considered – layered in with an inherent need to keep technology as simple as possible for the end user and the contractor base.
Aside from these concerns, the biggest one facing end users is the quota reduction phasedown of F-Gases, and this will come more to the fore throughout 2024 and beyond. As less high GWP refrigerant is placed on the market, costs will spiral, and it will be crucial that low GWP solutions are selected by application and careful consideration.
A comprehensive review of the roundtable discussions can be found on pages 12 – 17 of January’s RAC Magazine.