When it comes to the HVACR industry, few topics have stirred up as much interest as alternative refrigerants. Beyond CFCs, HCFCs, and HFCs, everyone wants to know what may be out there. But, when acronyms like CO2, HCs, HFOs, and DRs are tossed about, it can lead to a bit of head scratching. Add in the idea of low global warming potential (GWP) HFCs and the situation becomes even more complex.

Enter Rajan Rajendran, who has garnered recognition as one of the leading experts on the use of alternate refrigerants in air conditioning, heat pumps, and refrigeration systems in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. His knowledge and ability has gained him recognition as one of The NEWS’ 2012 NEWSMakers.

Industry Presenter

Rajendran, vice president of engineering services and sustainability at Emerson Climate Technologies, has drawn upon the expertise and research capabilities of Emerson and, along with his colleagues, has been sweeping through the industry with PowerPoint presentations and papers at numerous conferences, seminars, and meetings.

In 2012, Rajendran has been a featured presenter at the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Conference in Bangkok; the Purdue Conferences at the university’s school of mechanical engineering in West Lafayette, Ind.; Carrier’s 11th Global Engineering Conference in Las Vegas; the Food Marketing Institute Energy and Store Development Conference in Phoenix; and more.

Rajendran and his colleagues are gaining respect for their willingness to share ongoing findings that will help the industry weave its way through the complexities of the changing refrigerant landscape.

The tenured Emerson engineer has shared information on numerous topics, including lower GWP refrigerants that are becoming available for air conditioning and heat pump applications and how choosing a refrigerant should center on minimizing its life cycle environmental impact. He’s also discussed the pros and cons of refrigerants being considered by the industry today and shared how these choices affect direct emissions and energy consumption.

“It is this concern for the climate impact of HFCs, particularly R-404A, that has led to the interest in alternatives like R-407A, R-407F, CO2, propane, and others,” Rajendran said. “The increasing global activity in investigating alternatives that are less harmful from a climate impact point of view is the reason why we need to be aware of the various choices that are developing.”

Within Emerson, Rajendran coordinates the efforts of the energy regulation working groups and serves on committees focused on air conditioning and refrigeration. He also keeps himself in the loop well beyond the research being done at Emerson by serving on the Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute’s (AHRI) Low GWP Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program Task Force and as chair of the Compressor and Condensing Unit Section. He also operates on Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) Working Groups for A2L Refrigerants.

Rajendran earned his undergraduate mechanical engineering degree from the University of Madras (India). He earned his master’s degree and a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He also has a master’s in business administration in finance from Wright State University in Fairborn, Ohio.

He has worked at Emerson since 1990 in various capacities as a research engineer and as manager and director of the scroll compressor product development group. He was also responsible, as global engineering large program leader, for helping establish Emerson Climate’s global engineering presence in India and China.

2012 NEWSmaker

Name: Rajan Rajendran

Title: Vice president of engineering services and sustainability

Company: Emerson Climate Technologies

Location: Sidney, Ohio

Notable quote: “The increasing global activity in investigating alternatives that are less harmful from a climate impact point of view is the reason why we need to be aware of the various choices that are developing.”

Publication date: 12/17/2012