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French transport refrigeration rental company aims for UAE market-share

DUBAI, UAE, 7 March 2022: French transport refrigeration rental company, Petit Forestier, announced its intention of garnering market share in the UAE’s food cold chain sector.

Speaking to Climate Control Middle East, Petit Forestier, which also manufactures its refrigerated boxes, pointed out that its entire fleet of vehicles is ATP-certified, which enhances food safety, and ensures a low carbon footprint and cost-savings for the customer. ATP stands for “Accord Transport Perissable” (Agreement on the International Carriage of Perishable Foodstuffs and on the Special Equipment to be Used for such Carriage). It comes under the purview of the Transport Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

Stanislas Przyklang du Chassin

Stanislas Przyklang du Chassin, its Managing Director for UAE operations, highlighted that the company is the first to supply ATP-certified boxes in the UAE. “We are trying to push everybody and explain to everybody that it is really important for food safety that we install these here,” he said. “These boxes are between 900 kilograms and one ton lighter than locally available boxes.

Imagine how green they are. Lighter means they consume less petrol – the fuel consumption is 20-30% less than locally available boxes – which means lower CO2 emissions. So, we are working on the cold safety and the green side of the vehicle.”

Przyklang du Chassin admitted that ATP-certified boxes are 25-30% more expensive that locally available boxes. However, when all aspects are considered, they would guarantee greater cost savings for clients. “Yes, the cost of purchasing is higher, but at the end, the vehicle is one ton lighter, which means we can save 20-30% on fuel costs,” he said. “We have customers who are doing one petrol tank per day, which means they get their money back in one year. Also, a lighter vehicle means you don’t have to replace your brakes that often, which will mean a reduced cost of maintenance.”

Dimitri Doinet

Petit Forestier, which has factories in France and Poland, manufactures 7,000 insulated boxes a year. It said it is the only rental company that has an innovation department, working every day to find solutions related to green transportation and food safety. Dimitri Doinet, its Sales Director, said innovation is a key strength of the company.

Pointing to the vehicles, he highlighted the use of fewer metallic parts in the chassis, which make them lighter and, hence, more fuel efficient. He also highlighted that the insulation of the boxes is six centimetres in thickness, as compared to 10 centimetres in boxes available in the country. This, he said, allows for carrying more foodstuffs per load. He further highlighted the use of door sensors, which cut off the cold units on opening the doors of the truck, thus preventing exposure to hot ambient conditions.

From a food safety perspective, Doinet pointed to the use of unique antimicrobial air strips for preventing the ingress of hot ambient air to the vehicle. This, he said, was only the beginning, though. Adding to this, Przyklang du Chassin said the company offers vehicles fitted with mechanical air curtains, They are currently available only in Europe, though. He said customers are happy with the innovation, for they do not have an obstruction while entering the vehicle.

Przyklang du Chassin said the company would eventually offer air curtains in vehicles in the UAE. “This is something we have to test,” he said. “We have plans of bringing them here in the next five years.”

Speaking on the rental model of the business, Przyklang du Chassin said the company was proposing renting its vehicles for 5-6 years, during which it would offer commitment to the customer to manage every aspect of the assets. That way, he said, the customer would know that cold safety is respected. Petit Forestier, he said, offers a full complement of aftermarket services, including maintenance, repair and replacement.

Speaking on the speed of service and reaction time, Przyklang du Chassin said the company has the ability to give a replacement vehicle within a short duration. “If the client has any issue on the road, we can give a replacement vehicle in 20-30 minutes, so as to be able to continue delivering perishable foodstuffs,” he said. “With refrigerated vehicles, if you have a breakdown, you can lose everything, especially here. So, we have developed a full service to replace vehicles very quickly.”

ASHRAE wraps up first hybrid Winter Conference

ATLANTA, Georgia, 4 February 2022: More than 2,800 HVACR industry professionals, building systems engineers, architects, contractors and students gathered in Las Vegas and virtually from January 29 to February 2 for the 2022 ASHRAE Winter Conference, ASHRAE said through a Press release. Registered conference attendees received entry to the co-sponsored AHR Expo, held from January 31 to February 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, ASHRAE added.

“This year’s Conference and Expo marked the first time that the Society has been together for our Winter Conference in two years and the return to the AHR Expo after last year’s cancellation,” said Mick Schwedler, 2021-22 ASHRAE President. “While the numbers are expectedly lower than past conferences, in-person attendance still exceeded our expectations, and our virtual attendees added a welcomed dynamic to our sessions. We are grateful to everyone involved in establishing a comprehensive health and safety plan for our attendees, which included guidance provided by the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force.”

According to ASHRAE, the Winter Conference featured over 50 technical sessions, updates from Society leaders, tours, social events and livestreamed sessions for virtual attendees. Top sessions included Introduction of Building Decarbonization, HVAC Design, Control and Operation of Hospitals After COVID-19 Fiasco and CPS 21: Refining ASHRAE COVID Guidelines and Standard 100, ASHRAE said.

According to ASHRAE, the AHR Expo offered a total of 1,573 exhibitors, with 281 international exhibitors, occupying 443,769 square feet of exhibit space in the Las Vegas Convention Center. More than 43,000 people pre-registered to attend the show, including 130 media representatives, ASHRAE said.

At the Winter Conference, Schwedler provided updates related to the Society’s current theme, “Personal Growth. Global Impact. Feed the Roots”, ASHRAE said. He focused on personal development and how the Society’s extraordinary global growth and impact to the built environment has nourished the roots of the global HVACR industry, ASHRAE added.

“When we concentrate on our mission and vision and talk about our impacts – we make the world more sustainable and resilient to future changes,” Schwedler said. “We reduce both energy utilization intensity and environmental emissions. We helped mitigate a global pandemic by keeping vaccines cold – and their efficacy high – 40% of the world’s food spoils between the field and consumption. We reduce that. And most importantly, we keep students and staff in schools, and occupants of the built environment safe and healthy.”

During the plenary session of the Conference, Jeff Littleton, Executive Vice President and Secretary, ASHRAE, reported on the Society’s current initiatives, as well as the dedication of ASHRAE volunteers during the pandemic. “A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board subcommittee is focused on proactively driving diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the Society,” Littleton said. “Task groups have been formed to drive Society strategies on decarbonization and on international standards. We’ve released 14 new and 24 revised publications and standards.

Examples of new publications include the ASHRAE Design Guide for Natural Ventilation and the ASHRAE Guide for HVAC in Hazardous Spaces. We’ve even released the children’s book, Lucy’s Engineering Adventure. The commitment of ASHRAE’s entire global membership to the Society’s work has never wavered during the pandemic. I find that truly remarkable. When so much of our professional and personal lives has been disrupted, some 7,000 ASHRAE volunteers at the society, regional and chapter levels continue to drive ASHRAE forward.”

ASHRAE said an honors and awards ceremony, tied to the Conference, was an occasion for recognizing experienced and emerging leaders in the industry. Record-breaking polar explorer, Ann Daniels, closed the plenary session with an inspiring presentation on good leadership, teamwork and self-belief.

The ASHRAE Learning Institute (ALI) offered 17 courses. According to ASHRAE, new courses were as follows: Advanced High-Performance Building Designs: Key Concepts for Lifelong Building Sustainability; V in HVAC – What, Why, Where, How, and How Much (includes Basic Requirements of Standard 62.1-2019); Best Practices for Installing DDC Systems; Save 40% by Complying with Standard 90.1-2019; Principles of Building Commissioning: ASHRAE Guideline 0 and Standard 202; Guideline 36: Best in Class HVAC Control Sequences; Changing Environments and Loads for Data Centers (High Density, Liquid Cooling, Edge Computing); and Health Impacts of Indoor Air Extraction, Ventilation, and Filtration – Same or Different.

ASHRAE said all registered attendees, both in-person and virtual, would have access to the virtual conference environment for 12 months, post-conference. Registration, the Society said, is still open for access to the virtual conference until January 2023 at ashrae.org/2022winter.

ASHRAE said the 2022 ASHRAE Annual Conference will take place from June 25 to June 29 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The 2023 Winter Conference will take place from February 4 to 8, and the AHR Expo, from February 6 to 8, in Atlanta, Georgia.  

Maurizio Orlandi is new Chairman of Eurovent PG: Commercial Refrigeration Equipment

BRUSSELS, Belgium, 28 January 2022: The Eurovent Product Group, ‘Commercial Refrigeration Equipment’ (PD-RDC) has elected its new Chairman and Vice-Chairman. Maurizio Orlandi has become the Group Chairman. Making the announcement through a Press release, Eurovent added that he will be supported by the re-elected Vice-Chairman, Jesus Beraza.

L-R: Maurizio Orlandi (PG-RDC Chairman), Jesus Beraza (PG-RDC Vice-Chairman)

Orlandi, who is Technical Compliance & Intellectual Property Manager, Epta, was elected as the new Chairman of the Product Group during its online meeting on January 14, 2022, Eurovent said. He has extensive experience in Eurovent and within the refrigeration industry. He will succeed Pierluigi Schiesaro, R&D Director, Arneg, who served in the industry as the Eurovent PG-RDC Chairman continuously since January 2005, Eurovent said, adding that the Product Group participants thank Schiesaro for his long-term commitment in supporting Eurovent and accomplishing great work throughout the past years. Beraza, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer, Koxka, was re-elected for the position of Vice-Chairman, following his previous election on September 28, 2016.

Speaking on the occasion, Orlandi said, “Starting with a personal thanks to Pierluigi for his contribution to this Product Group, it is a great honour for the trust you bestowed upon me, and I look forward to working in the direction of strengthening Eurovent and our industry in the European and global landscape.”

Beraza added, “I would like to show my appreciation to the group participants for having the confidence in me to continue supporting this group as the Vice-Chairman, and to stress my commitment to definitively boost fair competition, one of the main guiding principles of Eurovent.”

According to Eurovent, the next meeting of the group will take place on February 2, online. The group covers refrigerated display cabinets (remote and integral units), walk-in cold rooms, commercial beverage coolers, ice-cream freezers and refrigeration packs. According to Eurovent, it is the largest European working group of commercial refrigeration equipment manufacturers, and the group is supported by the Eurovent Member Associations on a national level.

LU-VE GROUP delivers 500 unit coolers for China logistics centre

UBOLDO, Varese, Italy, 12 July 2021: LU-VE Group said that it has completed the delivery of 500 unit coolers for the expansion of the Nansha International Logistics Centre, one of the largest logistics centres in the world, at the port of Nansha, which serves the Guangzhou (formerly Canton) area in the Pearl River Delta.

Thomas Stiller and the LU-VE Tianmen Team

LU-VE said that after about two years of work, the Centre raised a mega complex, consisting of six buildings for the storage of refrigerated goods, with a capacity of about 500,000 tons, which will expand the Port of Nansha, one of the five largest infrastructure projects in the world for container traffic. The complex will serve the cold chain (inspection, storage, processing, packaging and distribution) of the Jiangnan Fruit Market in Guangzhou and all major urban conurbations from Shenzen to Hong Kong and Macao, in the Zhū Jiāng (or Pearl River) Delta, LU-VE said. It will be used for fresh fruit and vegetables imported into China from all over the world, especially from North America and South America, and for frozen products destined for export (mostly fish products), it added.

“In January 2020, our Tianmen plant was the first of our Group to suffer the negative effects of the pandemic,” said Iginio Liberali, President, LU-VE Group. “It reopened in March, and since then our production has continued to accelerate in order to serve a rapidly and steadily growing market. Our presence in China is central to LU-VE’s internationalization strategy, due to its great potential for expansion. This new contract provides excellent support for our operations in the country. My applause goes to the whole Chinese team who managed to overcome difficulties, returning stronger and more performing than before.”

Most of the unit coolers – numbering 450 – that the LU-VE Tianmen plant, in Hubei Province, supplied belong to the LHS (Large Hitech Surface) industrial range, LU-VE said. The units use glycol water as refrigerant and are intended for cold rooms for storing products with high moisture content and for freezing (temperatures between -10 degrees C and -30 degrees C, the company said. Other compact unit coolers from the FHC commercial range, which the company claimed are characterised by quiet operation and low energy consumption, are instead installed in the cold rooms for fresh products (positive temperatures) or frozen products (temperatures below or equal to -18 degrees C.

Danfoss Press Release – Fresh food, with minimum energy

NORDBORG, Denmark, 21, January 2021: Danfoss said it has strengthened its Alsense IoT services with a holistic store-level software suite, moving store maintenance from reactive to proactive. Making the announcement through a Press release, the company said the technology enables food retailers to prioritise and reduce their maintenance efforts across stores and critical events. It added that the software solution was originally developed by Honeywell.

“We are thrilled to welcome the Smart Refrigeration Solution and incorporate it into our Alsense cloud-based services,” said Jürgen Fischer, President, Danfoss Cooling Segment. “We are now putting predictive maintenance into action, allowing the food retail industry to prevent unplanned cooling system downtime and inefficiencies in energy consumption.”

Natalie Schnippering, Head, Product Management Digital Services, Danfoss, said: “Combining the Smart Refrigeration Solution with our existing Alsense portfolio accelerates our ambition of meeting food retail customers’ needs for optimizing and proactively maintaining a high store performance. The solution goes beyond the traditional monitoring systems that are primarily providing alarms and data overviews. It identifies operating issues, such as compressor failure or coil icing, and provides hands-on guidance to fix them.”

According to Danfoss, Alsense provides food retail professionals with transparency and executive overviews of refrigeration assets and energy efficiency at chain level. Going forward, the combined Alsense offering will enable managers to easily benchmark and prioritise efforts across stores to save time and optimise the impact of their maintenance spend, Danfoss said. Further, Alsense will provide service technicians with a prioritised action plan, empowering them to immediately address equipment performance and operating concerns upon arrival at a store, Danfoss added.

Chris LaPietra, Vice President and General Manager, Honeywell Stationary Refrigerants, said, “The Smart Refrigeration Solution software was developed based on customer requirements gathered from leading food retailers, who were looking to save money by reducing energy spend and improving performance of their refrigeration system.”

According to Danfoss, the step follows the launch of its Alsense IoT platform in October 2020 and will accelerate its efforts in providing food retail professionals with intuitive software tools and data-driven, expert-enabled insights to optimise operational efficiency, refrigeration asset performance and energy efficiency.

Islington and Clapham

As we bid goodbye to 2020 and gingerly step into 2021, the feeling is not of relief, because the virus is still on the prowl. It must be added, though, that we have reached an inflexion point with the early promise being shown by some of the vaccines that have been deployed.

Now, amidst the carnage of 2020, we have been witness to heartwarming instances of human endeavour – of the medical fraternity putting their lives at risk to save others, of boffins hard at work harnessing the power of science and engineering to provide relief to not only healthcare workers but also numerous other sectors.

Away from the COVID scene, there are other instances that have stood out. Like the Bunhill Heat and Power Network project, in central London, which uses waste heat from the London Underground network to supply heat and hot water to nearly 1,500 homes and other facilities in the Borough of Islington, in a bid to lower indirect carbon emissions and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Human ingenuity repurposed the former City Road London Underground station into an underground air extraction system. It draws warm air from the tunnels, still in use by the London Underground’s Northern Line.

Not only will the project reportedly lower indirect emissions but also cut heating costs by 10%, benefitting the residents connected to the network – a case of district energy providing succour to tenants by passing on the savings.

What is even more heartwarming, according to the company that supplied the technology to the project (see story on page XX) is that it can be replicated in underground networks the world over.

As if by coincidence, the subterranean labyrinthine depths of London constitute the theatre for yet another instance of human ingenuity and resourcefulness. Growing Underground is a farming enterprise that is using long-forgotten World War 2 tunnels used as shelter during air raids conducted by the Luftwaffe. About 100 feet beneath London’s Clapham, growers working for the enterprise are busy harvesting micro-greens using hydroponic technology, which uses 70% less water, when compared to traditional farming practices. The produce is pesticide-free and provides an opportunity to Londoners to eat fresh and without the guilt from knowledge that the greens on their plate are the result of burning copious volumes of climate-threatening fossil fuels in transporting them to their doorstep. The project is redefining food supply chains for the better and lowering food wastage by increasing shelf life.

Such examples as the Islington district energy scheme and Growing Underground serve as inspiration for us to consider abandoning some of the hackneyed approaches that are not taking us far in our quest for a better planet. They are about courage and speak of a certain frontier spirit that we ought to consider embracing.

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