With the implementation date for changes to the F-gas regulations almost upon us, it is perhaps not surprising that at the major industry show just two months before the event this should be the hot topic of conversation.

That was certainly the case yesterday, from compressor manufacturer Bitzer’s opening press conference to refrigerant supplier Dehon’s close of show 140th birthday celebrations.

Although boasting 18 new products at the show, the German compressor giant used it’s opening-day press conference to emphasise its research and development philosophy. Predictably, a major part of this is the development of compressors and products to use with the new low GWP refrigerants. Tied with this is the simultaneous desire to increase efficiency at both full and part load, while looking to improve reliability by looking at the user-friendliness of its equipment in both design and service.

The compressor manufacturers are faced with a large number of new HFO-based refrigerant blends coming to the market and Rainer Große-Kracht, Bitzer’s chief technology officer, revealed that they were showing good compatibility and efficiency and said they had not experienced any major issues with these new gases.

There is also the possibility that these blends will provide a “drop-in” replacement for R134a for those wishing to make a switch in the future. It was also revealed that Bitzer was in contact with a lot of oems testing R32, the new potential alternative to R410A.

On the subject of R32, it might have been expected that the major air conditioning manufacturers may have made more of their pending equipment introductions running on this gas. Daikin had one of its R32 Ururu Sarara splits on the stand but only Fujitsu, with a similar split, there purely for demonstration purposes, showed any overt display of R32 intentions.

Refrigerant manufacturer DuPont revealed that it currently has more than a dozen HFO-based blends in its radar. These include R407A and R407F, that it sees as interim solutions for retrofitting R404A systems.

As first revealed by the Cooling Post in June, Trane has produced the first centrifugal chiller running on the pure HFO 1233zd(E). The introduction of its Series E CenTraVac was the result of a long collaboration with refrigerant manufacturer Honeywell and, as an alternative to current R123 chillers, could open up new potential for this highly efficient technology in Europe.

Tecumseh also majored on the developments it has made to incorporate the move to lower GWP gases with a complete line of fully hermetic compressors running on R290, condensing units, evaporator coils and heat pumps.

Finally, celebrations on the Climalife Dehon stand where the French chemical company celebrated its 140th anniversary. Also announced was a new smartphone app which will provide quick and easy answers to the calculations that engineers will need to make now that the new F-gas regulations are based on CO2 equivalents rather than charge sizes. More on that shortly.