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Which HVAC/R news will 2019 bring?

The new year has just started and all of us have in mind some upcoming news in HVAC/R. From the approval of the new version of the IEC 60335-2-89 standard after several months of hard work by the IEC working group, to the publication of the Ecodesign Lot 12 regulation years after the first draft, 2019 could be a key year for the future of our sector. The great variety of events around the world will be a good occasion to discuss these and other interesting topics that influence the way we design our products.

To get off on the right foot, let’s celebrate the fact that as of 1 January 2019, the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol has come into force. This represents a new starting point in the phase-down of fluorinated substances. 

Then, we’ll take a step back and remember the conclusions we made from the events we were lucky to attend in 2018. After that, we will be ready to start thinking about our next meetings, conferences and trade fairs around the world! 

2018: from humidification in Chicago to refrigerants in Lago di Garda

In 2018 we started in Chicago at the 2018 ASHRAE Winter Conference, where the importance of humidification was highlighted. Particularly interesting was the statement that hospital-acquired infections drop dramatically above a relative humidity of 40%. Without leaving Chicago, during AHR EXPO Chicago, the necessity was perceived to make the growing technological content provided in the HVAC/R industry more readily accessible and usable, both at a unit and system level.

The road to get the latest news in HVAC/R in March was a much shorter one for us. During the four days of MCE in Milan, we could sense the difficult situation for air-conditioning applications, in particular small and medium capacity reverse-cycle heat pumps with scroll or rotary compressors, in which a replacement for R-410A had not been clearly identified.

In April, DCW London was a good event to learn about one of the trends that clearly emerged this year: the focus on IoT (Internet of Things). We took away the idea that “Edge Data Centres” are spreading and will potentially lead to more widespread architecture, “fog computing”.

A long trip to Sydney at the beginning of May was worthwhile, to participate in Atmosphere Australia and ARBS exhibition, where the interest in natural refrigerants is growing and the need for training technicians is an important concern. Natural refrigerants was also one of the three main topics at China Refrigeration Expo 2018, together with “coal to electric” and energy efficiency. Even though the start of HFC phase down is more than 10 years away, it was clear at the exhibition that more and more Chinese companies have started to invest in natural refrigerants.

The protagonists of the Gustav Lorentzen conference in Valencia in June were CO2 technologies to increase efficiency, such as parallel compression, ejectors and flooded evaporators, demonstrating that the main drawbacks of CO2 are being solved. The same week, ASHRAE Summer Conference in Houston started, where some methods to understand and predict system behaviour by extrapolating useful information from so-called “big data” were discussed. 

Without leaving the US, but driving almost 16 hours, it was possible to attend the conference organised at Purdue University in July. Topics ranged from new lubricant testing with low-GWP refrigerants, to new compressor design, equipment improvements and building system efficiency optimisation results. For instance, a compressor manufacturer shared with the market for the first time a new larger twin-rotary with countless improvements to boost capacity and improve efficiency.

Moving to Spain in September, at Atmosphere Iberica we heard that the current objective is to facilitate the use of natural refrigerants in A/C. The illegal market for refrigerants, subsidies for the implementation of alternative refrigeration installations and the need for training were some of the main topics at the intensive one-day conference. Some days later, the Eurovent Summit in Seville gave us an overview of the future of regulations and certifications for a wide variety of appliances, such as Ecodesign Lot 12 and Energy Labelling.

At DCW Singapore in October, many important players in the data centre cooling industry presented solutions for micro data centres. In line with this are the so-called mini data centres that represent modules with multiple racks, multiple air-conditioning units and power distribution systems. One week later and thousands of km away, the much-awaited biennial exhibition Chillventa was a meeting point for HVAC/R stakeholders, where a number of solutions using R-32, R-452B and R-454B for A/C systems were presented. The interest in natural refrigerants for transport, process, active heat recovery and residential heat pumps was also evident.

In November, during Atmosphere Europe in Lago di Garda (Italy), it was again highlighted that the main solution for space air-conditioning in the future will involve natural refrigerants. In particular, the combination of refrigeration and air-conditioning applications to increase efficiency is the subject of study.

2019: are all these events in your HVAC/R calendar?

Once again, the first stop in 2019 is the ASHRAE Winter Conference, held from 12 to 16 January in Atlanta (USA). The technical program comprises eight tracks, including refrigeration, HVAC/R fundamentals and applications, systems and equipment, common system misapplications and achieving high performance building operation after design. In parallel, during AHR Expo, thousands of products in categories such as heating systems, air conditioning units, refrigerating equipment, ventilators and ducts will be presented. The exhibition will take place from 14 to 16 January.

At the NAFEM show in Orlando (USA), 7-9 February, more than 500 equipment and supply manufacturers are expected to explore the innovations in a wide range of related food-topics, from food preparation and primary cooking equipment to storage, serving and décor. From the USA to Italy, scheduled for a few days later is REFRIGERA, the first event dedicated exclusively to the entire production chain of the industrial, commercial and logistic refrigeration industry. The show offers the chance to meet the most important suppliers of technology, services, equipment components and services for professionals in the sector. It will be held from 20 to 22 February in Piacenza (Italy). Another good opportunity to learn about the latest solutions for air conditioning, heating, ventilation and industrial and commercial cooling will be the biennial exhibition in Madrid, Climatización y Refrigeración, from 26 February to 1 March

From 11 to 13 April there will be an event in Ohrid (Macedonia) to discuss the design of modern ammonia and CO2 systems and technological innovations, improving energy efficiency, various applications, technical guidelines and safety regulations: 8th IIR Ammonia and CO2 Refrigeration Conference.   

The XVIII European Conference that is organised every two years in Milan (Italy) will be held on 6 and 7 June. The objective will be to share knowledge on the latest technology in refrigeration and air-conditioning, with particular reference to new refrigerants and new European and international regulations. Some days later, on 11 and 12 June, the Eureka event will be held in Bruges (Belgium). The Eureka project is a highly original concept dedicated to the role of the HVAC/R sector for society and future generations. A very busy month of June will end with the ASHRAE Summer Conference, 22-26 June, in Kansas City (USA), where the track focus areas will include HVAC&R fundamentals and applications, systems and equipment, professional development, research, occupant health and safety.

Febrava, 10-13 September, in São Paulo (Brazil) will be a good show to understand the status of the HVAC/R market in Brazil and Latin America.
On 22 and 23 October, the European Heat Pump Summit will be held in Nuremberg (Germany), where the European heat pump market, technology and application trends will be analysed.

During Interclima, 5-8 November in Paris (France), there will be the opportunity to learn about different solutions which combine energy efficiency, use of renewables and comfort in the home and buildings. One of the last events of the year will be ChinaShop, from 7 to 9 November in Qingdao (China), which will present cutting-edge technologies and brand-new solutions to the retail industry.

Last but not least, Atmosphere events around the world will be an opportunity to discuss different solutions with natural refrigerants. Some of the appointments are: Japan (12 February, Tokyo), China (11-12 April, Shanghai), Australia (8-9 May, Melbourne) and the USA (17-18 June, Atlanta).

These and other events I have not been informed of yet will be a chance to learn more about our sector in 2019. Looking forward to finding out all the news, it is now time to mark the events worth attending in our calendars! 



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