Peter Powell

Any time a press release calls what is being offered as the ‘world’s first’ it still does catch the eyes of us world-weary journalists. After all, whatever it is might actually be the ‘world’s first.’

And if the ‘first’ involves a major hot topic in the industry, it more than catches attention.

Such was the case with a press release passed along to me a month or so ago with the heading “World’s First CO2 Refrigeration Interactive Course.”

It is being offered by Star Refrigeration Ltd. from Glasgow, Scotland, but because it is being offered through the Internet, is seems to be available to anyone.

Part of the terminology in the press release says: “The course covers design, installation, and maintenance considerations, including advantages in using CO2, and functionality of the different refrigeration systems, including volatile secondary, volatile secondary with DX, volatile secondary/cascade, transcritical and direct expansion.”

There is significance throughout that statement. As I’ve been writing about for several years, the demise of CFCs and HCFCs has led the industry to embrace HFC refrigerants. But because of global warming issues with some HFCs, there remains those in the industry, especially in Europe, who want to look beyond HFCs - and are looking to CO2 as the next refrigerant.

That’s not to say that CO2 is a refrigerant that can easily be adapted to the needs of stationary air conditioning and refrigeration. There are major equipment redesigns, cost questions, efficiency issues, and the fact that CO2 is created in a completely different way than HFCs.


All those technical terms noted in the earlier quote relate to methods that are currently being tried to make CO2 work. Secondary with DX and secondary/cascade are being used in a large number of applications, with transcritical being tried primarily in Europe.

The NEWShas run numerous stories over the past year regarding CO2. Most of them have been case histories with some technical details.

But understanding CO2 from a back to the basics to the most recent developments is something that can only be done in a more formalized study approach. And that appears to what is being offered in the Star Refrigeration program.

One point in terms of full disclosure. The folks at Star Refrigeration are knowledgeable and well-respected, but they are strong, strong advocates of so-called natural refrigerants, like CO2, more so than they are with HFCs. Some of their top people have for a number of years predicted the eventual demise of HFCs because of the global warming issues. Industry-wide that has not been a widespread prediction. So the Star course could have a bit of a bias, but I’m sure the technical information will be quite good.


The company and its personnel have a long and solid understanding of CO2.

The company noted it had “played a leading role in the development of carbon dioxide refrigeration in the UK and overseas.” It noted that one of its key people, Andy Pearson, is co-founder and chairman of The Carbon Dioxide Interest Group (c-dig). “This group was formed in Europe in July 2000 to provide a platform for the exchange of news, ideas, information, and experiences between refrigeration engineers in industry and research/teaching organizations.”

The Website for information is I suggest contractors and technicians take a look at it and consider investing some time in the course. I realize there is still a learning curve among many in the industry over working with HFCs. So the thought of dealing with CO2 may seem a bit much. But it might prove to be a good investment in time.

Publication date:02/04/2008