Asia-Pacific // Technology
THE COOL SEES R290 AS THE FUTURE With support from the Thailand RAC NAMA project, the Thai OEM is working to achieve full adoption over the next few years for its commercial refrigerators and freezers.
A GLOBAL SHIFT For The Cool, transitioning to R290 was not a recent decision. The company has been manufacturing R290 equipment on a limited scale for its large multinational clients since 2009. "It has been a global trend over the past 10 years for our clients such as Nestlé and Unilever to use R290 for their smaller sized freezers," said Sirirat. "All mobile vending ice cream cabinets and display freezers had to be 100% R290."
— By Devin Yoshimoto
the ATMOsphere Asia 2019 conference, a representative from Thai OEM The Cool made a strong statement during his presentation in the "Innovative Refrigeration Solutions" session.
In Thailand, The Cool's leadership team recognized that this technology shift from its largest multinational clients was a signal of things to come. But the decision to invest in making the shift as well was not without its risks. "We had to invest in brand new [production] machines as well as in additional safety [measures] for our staff and in our facilities," said Sirirat. "And it was not immediately clear how many years it would take for us to get a return on our investment."
"In the near future, we are going to be 100% R290 and environmentally friendly," said Phurinat Sirirat, Assistant Chief Operating Officer, The Cool, at the conference, held in September in Bangkok, Thailand.
There were certain benefits, however. One of these was the fact that compared to R22 and R134a, using R290 resulted "in a 40% reduction in refrigerant charge," said Sirirat.
During Sirirat 's presentation, he explained why The Cool sees R290based technology as the future of its business, and outlined the steps it is taking now to achieve full adoption over the next few years.
Although interest in the technology domestically was still low, Sirirat said that this has also been changing. "In the past three years, compared to five years ago, [interest] has been getting better and better," said Sirirat.
Headquartered in Bangkok, The Cool manufactures, sells and services commercial plug-in and mobile vending refrigerators and freezers. It was founded in 2001 and is now active in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Myanmar.
Ultimately, the benefits combined with the shifting global landscape outweighed the risks, and The Cool decided to pursue this direction seriously. "Our top management saw that this was a global trend and that we had to be leaders," said Sirirat.
Accelerate Magazine // November - December 2019
Phurinat Sirirat, The Cool, at ATMOsphere Asia 2019.
THE RAC NAMA BOOST Beginning in 2016, The Cool began participating in Thailand’s RAC NAMA (Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action) project, an international initiative to help initiate a complete sector-wide transformation in Thailand towards more energy efficient and green cooling based on natural refrigerants. (See page 74.) The Cool, with its significant experience with R290, seemed to be a good match. With the help of RAC NAMA, R290 production lines were enhanced, equipment was improved, and safety standards were refreshed, according to Sirirat. With RAC NAMA's support going forward, The Cool seems set to significantly ramp up its sales activities for R290 in Thailand. DY