BALTIMORE - It seems that most every time a general news story comes out expressing concerns over global warming or climate change, some in the general public consciously or subconsciously place at least a portion of the blame on the refrigeration industry.

One of the most recent efforts to debunk such linkage comes from Danfoss, which issued a statement in late May saying, "The refrigeration industry has long been blamed as a culprit of environmental pollution, but leaders in the industry contend otherwise."

On the contrary, "Top manufacturers represented by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute, including Danfoss, have been working on solutions in refrigeration that do not contribute to global warming or climate change and that conserve energy."

Kjeld Staerk, senior vice president for Danfoss Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning, said, "Contrary to its reputation as a culprit of pollution, our industry is dedicated to developing technologies that meet environmental regulations - nationally and globally - for today and tomorrow." Staerk said the industry "has pioneered commercially viable solutions to environmental problems including climate change." He cited such innovations as natural refrigerants, energy-efficient equipment, and in-system refrigerant recycling.

A number of diversified worldwide factors are motivating this effort, the report said, including international calls to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency (such as the Kyoto Protocol), marketplaces embracing environmental technologies, stricter state and federal regulations, and growing public awareness.

The report also cited some of the technologies that a number of manufacturers including Danfoss have been working on. These include using CO2 as a refrigerant, using energy-efficient oil-free compressors (such as the Danfoss Turbocor), compressors for home appliance systems that use HFC-134a, solar compressors, and hydrocarbon compressors. The report also noted that the cooperative effort between the refrigeration industry and food service-related companies, such as MacDonald's, Unilever, and Coca-Cola, "has resulted in several innovations in environmentally friendly refrigeration."

Another recent development took place in May with the Environmental Protection Agency's ClimateTech 2005, a half-day seminar sponsored by Danfoss. At that event, Jonathan Pershing, atmospheric scientist with the World Resources Institute, said the search for solutions comes amidst rising global demand, expanding economic and industrial development driving conditions of greater uncertainty, cost, and risk to climate stability.

Noted Joe Orosz, president of Danfoss Turbocor, "Technology is the common thread that runs through this issue. It is technology that creates many of the problems we face in climate change, but it is also technology that will help us solve the problem."

Publication date: 07/11/2005