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Cover Story

Cutting Costs Down Under In Australia and New Zealand, HVAC&R industry leaders began to experiment with CO 2 systems in the 1990s and early 2000s, following Europe’s lead. Australia’s first transcritical CO 2 installation took place in 2007 at a Drakes Foodmarkets store in North Adeliade.

In New Zealand, the government has amended its Emission Trading Scheme to accelerate an HFC phase down. HFC importers and manufacturers are this year facing increased levies and must apply for permits.

Engaging with overseas suppliers was crucial in reducing costs in the early days. "There was a perception that if we piggybacked on bulk suppliers and leading manufacturers globally, then we could drive costs down and benefit from their high-volume supplies," Toulson said.

Since then, natural refrigerants progressed from pilot projects to HFC alternatives in these nations’ commercial and industrial sectors.

For 2019 the emission unit price under the New Zealand Emission Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) increased by 17% for HFC impor ters and manufacturers compared to last year. Since January 2019, businesses must pay NZ $25 (approximately $16 US) per emission unit.

That is what City Holdings did for Coles, which installed its first transcritical CO 2 system in 2015. “We went over to see overseas manufacturers in their home countries, and sought commitments from them to bring staff over to help training and commissioning,” Toulson said. “It worked really well."

As in other parts of the world, policy helps give companies in Australia and New Zealand an incentive to phase down f-gases and find alternatives. In October 2017, Australia ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which commits it to phasing down HFC imports. (No HFCs are manufactured in Australia itself.) Australia had prepared itself for the Kigali commitment in June 2017, when it passed a bill amending its Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management (OPSGGM) Act by adding an HFC phase-down plan. Under the bill, Australia would begin to phase down imports of HFCs in January 2018. The phase down is being managed through an annual import quota that will gradually be reduced over 18 years. The end point, 15% of the baseline level, will be reached in January 2036. Accelerate Magazine // June 2019

Participation in the NZ ETS is mandator y for impor ters and manufacturers of HFCs operating as of January 2013. Regulatory change has helped to intensify the search for marketready alternatives to HFCs. But from the beginning, it was clear that the higher cost of natural refrigerantbased systems was a barrier to their adoption. "What's enabled progress is that we saw from the first project that we needed to drive costs down," said Brian Toulson of City Holdings, which takes care of facilities management for Australian retailer Coles.

On the other hand, Woolworths – another leading Australian retailer – took a more local approach. The company fully engaged local stakeholders in designing, installing and commissioning systems, which reduced installation time and standardized equipment. Woolwor ths installed its f irst CO 2 transcritical system in July 2017, in a store in Colebee, New South Wales (NSW). As training of local industr y picked up, familiarity and confidence with transcritical CO 2 systems began to grow (See “Woolworths building NatRef momentum in Australia,” Accelerate Australia & NZ, winter 2017).

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