F-gas phase-down driving ammonia market growth in France

France’s HFC phase-down obligations under the EU’s F-Gas Regulation are helping to increase uptake of ammonia refrigeration technologies in industrial applications.

The “Salon Interprofessionnel du Froid et de ses Applications” is taking place in the Breton city from 14-15 September. It brings together over 100 companies active in the French cold chain to exhibit their newest HVAC&R technologies and to participate in a series of panel discussions on the future of refrigeration in France.

“The market for ammonia technology in France is picking up, particularly due to the influence of the EU F-Gas Regulation,” Jean-Pierre Lissandre, market manager (refrigeration) at Alfa Laval France.

Lissandre said Alfa Laval is looking forward to installing two big ammonia systems in France this autumn. The first is in a logistics centre in Paris for supermarket giant Carrefour, and the second is in a frozen food distribution centre in Brittany.

As a natural refrigerant, ammonia will have a key role to play in the context of the HFC phase-down taking place in Europe under the EU’s F-Gas Regulation, which since 2015 has been reducing the total amount of HFCs that can be sold in Europe. In 2020, a ban on using certain HFCs in new equipment comes into effect, accompanied by bans on servicing and maintaining existing equipment.

Regulation remains a barrier to wider uptake

“Ammonia has impressive refrigeration capacity and a great coefficient of performance for industrial applications compared to other refrigerants, but it is still too constrained by regulation, especially in France,” said Pierrick Lucas of Axima Refrigeration.

Lucas identified overly stringent regulation as a barrier to wider uptake of ammonia in France. Lucas believes these regulatory constraints make little sense. “Ammonia has a superb safety record in France,” he said.

Patrice Guignet, sales manager at GEA Refrigeration France – the French arm of German equipment manufacturer GEA – told a similar story. “The French ammonia market is well-established in industrial refrigeration applications such as food processing or cold storage. But the safety regulations in France are more strict than in other EU countries, which can dissuade customers from investing in ammonia technology,” Guignet said.

Alva Laval is in Nantes to exhibit two of six new products to be displayed in October at Chillventa, one of the world’s premier HVAC&R trade shows. At its Sifa booth, the company is showcasing two new additions to the Arctigo series of industrial air coolers. One is a single discharge industrial air cooler, the Alfa Laval Arctigo ID; and the second is a dual discharge industrial air cooler, the Alfa Laval Arctigo IS.

They are designed to keep fresh and frozen goods refrigerated from +20 to -35°C for the double discharge system, and +10 to -40°C for the single discharge system. They are capable of cooling large distribution centres.