Green Refrigerants Market – Insights
Green refrigerants are the refrigerants which have lower global warming potential and ozone depleting properties as compared to the synthetic refrigerants, which possess a major threat to the ozone layer. The collaborative efforts by countries worldwide is contributing in the process of suppressing the consumption of the widely used group of synthetic refrigerants such as Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which resulted in depletion of the ozone layer and brought climatic changes due to global warming. Moreover, Montreal Protocol, an international treaty finalized in 1987 by nations to protect the ozone layer from depletion, restricted the usage of these synthetic refrigerants and encouraged development of refrigerants with minimal global warming potential (GWP) and ozone depleting potential (ODP).
Among product type, Carbon dioxide-based equipment observed a rise in demand as major companies in Commercial refrigeration sector are encouraging the development of efficient CO2 based refrigeration technology. Owing to its properties such as odorless, non-toxic, and non-flammable, CO2 is used in transcritical refrigeration systems especially in large supermarkets and energy-efficient buildings. For instance, in Oct 2019, Huurre Group Oy, a manufacturer of CO2 based refrigeration systems, was acquired by Caverion, a Finland-based refrigeration business firm involved in providing sustainable and energy-efficient building solutions.
Among application, transport refrigeration is projected to increase in demand due to rise in trading of perishable commodities, food, and medical supplies. Green refrigerants being cheap and efficient solutions for transportation across countries is one of the leading factors for growth of refrigerated transport industry. Technological developments in green refrigerants-based systems aid in avoiding harmful effects of synthetic refrigerants. The main aim of these refrigerated transport carriers is to maintain the product quality and minimalize losses due to food spoilage. According to an International Institute of Refrigeration (IIR) report, around four million refrigerated vehicles function across the globe. However, lack of infrastructure in emerging economies, expensive product maintenance, and inflation in fuel costs are expected to hamper the segment growth over the forecast period.
Among regions, Europe has been a key center for research and development of natural refrigerants used in Heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) sector. The main driving factor behind this was the F-gas regulation, which was implemented by European Union in 2015 with an aim to reduce emissions of Fluorinated greenhouse gases due to refrigerant leaks and degradation of refrigeration and cooling appliances. Moreover, over 150 F-gases with GWPs were banned in the domestic refrigeration and air conditioning sector of Europe to achieve 21% reduction in use of F-gases by 2030.
Figure 1. Global Green Refrigerants Market Share (%), By Region, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2018-19
Large supermarkets and hypermarkets play a significant role in the growth of green refrigerants market over the forecast period. Leading players are switching their preferences towards manufacturing green refrigerant-based cooling systems. For instance, Carrefour, Europe-headquartered multinational stores, almost shifted its HFC-based refrigeration systems to CO2 based refrigeration systems. By 2017, they had 170 transcritical CO2 based systems functioning across 7 different countries and a total of 418 stores operating with natural refrigerants. Furthermore, key challenge for smaller companies in Commercial refrigeration sector is the difficulty to implement a natural refrigerant based technology especially in regions with warm and humid climate such as South Asia, Middle East, and parts of Latin America due to the higher cost and lower energy efficiencies of green refrigerant-based technologies.
The global green refrigerants market was valued at US$ 15.00 Billion in 2018 and is expected to double by the end of 2027, growing substantially over the forecast period (2019-2027).
Figure 2. Global Green Refrigerants Market Share (%), By Application, 2018
Source: Coherent Market Insights, 2018-19
Natural existing refrigerants such as CO2, hydrocarbon, ammonia, hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), and water are preferred in refrigeration industry especially for residential and commercial cooling and refrigeration purposes in buildings, owing to their low-GWP, minimum ODP, ease of availability, and low cost. The market is expected to record substantial growth over the forecast period (2019 to 2027), owing to rising demand for refrigeration, cooling, and heating systems.
Key companies operating in the global green refrigeration market are focused on expanding their businesses by acquisition of companies involved in green refrigerant- based technologies. For instance, in June 2019, M&M Refrigeration, LLC (M&M), a global leader in industrial refrigeration based in U.S. acquired Carnot Refrigeration (Carnot), a Canada-based company, which specializes in CO2-based transcritical refrigeration for industrial and commercial applications.
Moreover, in April 2019, research teams from Polytechnic University of Catalonia and Chinese Academy of Sciences entered into a collaboration for a research on developing a new variety of refrigerant, which uses colossal ‘baro-caloric effects’, where a solid material is made to undergo temperature changes during the process of compression and expansion. The main aim of the research is to develop cooling systems, which do not use hydrofluorocarbons, as it possess a significant threat to environment for its extremely high GWP equivalent to 2T of carbon dioxide.
Key companies operating in the global green refrigerants market include AGC Inc., Arkema SA, ASPEN Refrigerants Inc., Daikin Industries Ltd, Global Refrigerants, Harp International Ltd., Honeywell International Inc., The Linde Group, SRF Limited, Tazzetti S.p.A., and The Chemours Company.