NUREMBERG, Germany — The International Trade Fair for Refrigerating and Air Condition-ing (IKK) remains a showplace for refrigeration technology. But the air conditioning aspect of its name is gaining in importance.

“In the last few years, IKK has developed from an exhibition concentrating on ‘refrigeration’ to an important worldwide exhibition for refrigeration and air conditioning,” said Hans Joachim Socher, managing director of Axair, which makes air conditioning systems.

He quoted a study that said the size of the European market for air conditioning was $2.9 billion U.S. dollars in 1999, and it is expected to increase to $4.36 billion by 2006. He added that he thought the market was already much bigger than the 1999 numbers given.

During a press briefing here, another speaker gave air conditioning its due. “The term ‘air conditioning’ has a widely differing meaning in the international sector,” said Fritz Steimle, president of Fachinstitut Gebaude-Klima, a research facility.

“Whereas the Americans understand it as their ‘air conditioning’ and therefore attend to only air cooling and possibly dehumidification, air conditioning in the German-speaking regions is to a large extent regarded as air treatment and air distribution.”

He looked at energy savings and noted, “Partial-load performance becomes very important. But there are still great possibilities for saving energy in terms of better matching of the components to each other and of the whole system.”

One method he described is based on an air conditioning system needing 6°/12°C water systems to dehumidify the air, while temperatures of 18°/22°C are required for supplying ceiling-mounted air conditioners.

“Separate provision of refrigeration with a correspondingly higher evaporation temperature is practical for this application, as up to 30% of the drive energy can be saved in this way.”

A second approach, he said, is to “Design the ducts and equipment of the air systems with the aim of drastically reducing the speed and thus the pressure drop by means of larger cross sections.”

He said that fan power could be reduced by 50%. “But using an air quality controller, the amount of external air to be delivered can be reduced over many operating hours, which means large savings if fans with good partial-load performance are used.”

Publication date: 11/13/2000