Tecumseh Products Company will join other industry experts in discussing the benefits and challenges in transitioning commercial refrigeration equipment from today’s chlorine-based refrigerants to more environmentally-friendly hydrocarbon solutions at ATMOsphere America 2013, Natural Refrigerants event in Washington, D.C. June 18-19.

Tecumseh will present a case study, in addition to contributing as one of the event’s sponsors. Sidnei Oliveira, Tecumseh global manager of computer aided analysis, will show early performance results of retrofitting beer and bottle coolers with smaller, more energy efficient compressors and condensing units operating on R290 (propane) as compared to HFC R134a refrigerant.

ATMOsphere America is an annual conference and workshop in its second year, where the latest technologies, trends, and regulatory issues in regards to water, carbon dioxide (CO2), ammonia, hydrocarbons and air as refrigerants are discussed.

“The North American market remains one of largely untapped potential when it comes to natural refrigerant technologies,” event organizer Shecco reported in a recent press release. “Serving as a forum where industry experts and stakeholders can meet, ATMOsphere America 2013 seeks to provide informative presentations and networking opportunities that will help spur the uptake and spread of these energy saving and long run cost efficient technologies in North America.”

North America has potential to become a world leader in natural refrigerant technologies. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the use of hydrocarbons in small commercial refrigeration applications in late-2011, wider adoption still depends on a number of factors. Safe handling of refrigerant and equipment has been a factor in all prior refrigerant transitions.  However, the “A3” classification assigned to HC refrigerants presents a unique challenge, as many building codes currently prevent the use of these refrigerants.  Laws prohibiting refrigerant venting are also a factor when considering the safe handling of HC refrigerants.

“Our customers see the transition to hydrocarbon refrigerants as inevitable and we are supporting them globally through the use of our application expertise and certified labs,” said Jeff Fordeck, Tecumseh North America vice president, sales and marketing.  “Our presence in Europe, where hydrocarbon refrigerants have been used for 10+ years in household refrigerator and freezer applications, has given us a tremendous knowledge base.“

Tecumseh is a global leader in the design and development of compressors and condensing units that are optimized for use with hydrocarbon refrigerants. Tecumseh has a large presence in Europe and South America, where the transition to hydrocarbon refrigerants is at an accelerated pace.  R290 is being increasingly applied to commercial refrigeration applications such as beverage coolers, reach-in refrigerators and freezers and self-contained display cases.