INCORPORATING COLD CHAIN
VOL. 04 - NO. 08 | JULY/AUGUST 2019
Farewell to refrigerant landmark
In memory of Jock Badenoch (1933 – 2019)
Request for HFC import/export data from government
Improved access to Eurocool Cape Town branch
Air Products invests R100m in upgrade
Global Cold Chain Alliance sets foot in Africa
INTERNATIONAL NEWS FEATURES
Refrigerated warehousing and storage –
Functional effectiveness and energy efficiency:
ripening to perfection!
Future legislation on HCs – who is responsible?
Avoiding refrigeration injuries
Reciprocating vs. screw compressors – how do you
ASHRAE’s refrigeration page now online
Imperial Logistics’ healthcare business invests in its cold
EVENTS AND EXHIBITIONS
Less than two years to FRIGAIR – book your spot!
Metraclark puts customers first
Six new ammonia graduates for OTTC
Phase-out or phase-in?
once received a call from a reader complaining that he
was tired of reading about refrigerants. My first reaction
was to laugh but he was serious. And he wasn’t the only
one who was struggling with the constantly changing
regulations and seemingly endless new alternatives hitting
the market. It was (is) confusing, to say the least.
But this is one of those adapt-or-die situations; we
really don’t have a choice when it comes to chucking
out the old, harmful refrigerants and building more
environmentally-friendly refrigeration plants instead. The
clients (and the planet) demand it. It doesn’t really make it
easier for the industry though – especially not when clients
don’t really want to pay more for their system.
Another contractor told me that it used to be much
easier when charging an HVAC&R plant with refrigerants
in days gone by – you really had a few options. Now
only the experts and manufacturers can really keep up
with the new R-something-somethings hitting the market.
How many times have we heard the line “there is no
one-size fits all anymore” or “there is no silver bullet for
replacing X, Y, or Z”?
As we are forced to phase out HCFCs and are
constantly reminded that an HFC phasedown is
imminent, it seems “going natural” is our only option. It
seems like the perfect solution – efficient, green, cheap
to manufacture (some of them)… But we all know how
expensive those systems really are and the lack of skills
argument and the dangers this results in, sounds almost
like a broken record by now.
Lack of skills is generally a problem in our industry and
when it comes to natural refrigerants, the risk is much
higher. Now that the charge limit for hydrocarbons has
been increased to 500g, we’re going to see a great
increase in commercial systems charged with refrigerants
such as propane and isobutane. As you (should) know,
these are highly flammable and could potentially be
very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Ammonia has been around since the beginning of time
and everyone is aware of the dangers of this potentially
poisonous gas. CO 2 is on the rise and the dangers of
unskilled workmanship could also be potentially fatal.
So, what do we do? Wait out the HFC phase–down
deadline in 2024 and make this someone else’s problem?
The number of times I’ve heard guys say that the plant
they’re building will last until the phase–down and then
the next person can worry about working with the
more environmentally friendly refrigerants… If we don’t
futureproof our systems, this is going to bite us in the you-
Shouldn’t we rather look at working on the skills problem
that the whole industry likes complaining about? (By the
way, it’s not just us – this is a global issue.) Doesn’t it make
more sense to increase our training and capabilities, rather
than pretend that this problem doesn’t affect us?
It’s not like the training isn’t available. I recently
attended an ammonia technician graduation
ceremony at OTTC where they’ve trained hundreds of
students over the years to a world-class standard. CRS
recently got their accreditation for CO 2 training. ACRA
has expanded to KZN as well. Techniskills has been
reaccredited. The list goes on. The private sector training
providers are more than equipped to train industry and
take us to the next level.
But we don’t want to send people for training because
of the age-old argument I hear so often: “If I train them,
they will just leave and go work somewhere else.. It reminds
me of that post I always see shared on LinkedIn: “Would
you rather train them and lose them than not train them
and have them stay?” If everyone trained their staff, we’d
have a pool of skilled labour to choose from and the new
refrigerants wouldn’t scare anyone. With so many subsidies
and grants available, there really is no excuse.
That all being said, it’s exciting to see so many new
ammonia and CO 2 plants going up in commercial and
industrial applications around the country. When I was
doing my feature on cold storage do’s and don’ts,
refrigerants were the main focal point in terms of trends
(read more on page 25).
There is no escaping refrigerants in this industry (even
if you’re tired of hearing it). The only question is whether
you’re going to adapt to the times, or inevitably admit
defeat as the rest of the world phases out the gas you’re
still putting in.
The time has come. CLA
Editor | [email protected]
COLD LINK AFRICA • July/August 2019