News Details
Richard Buckley
07 July 2015

Richard Buckley is Director, Industrial Refrigeration, Johnson Controls, Asia. He visited Navi Mumbai on January 31 to deliver a talk on ‘Design Checks for a Safe Ammonia Refrigeration System’ during ARCON 2015. Cold Chain interviewed him on the sidelines of the seminar.

Cold Chain (CC): What are the current global trends in the industrial refrigeration/ cold chain industry?

Richard Buckley (RB): Move towards adoption of natural refrigerants – We have observed a shift towards the use of natural refrigerants globally and in Asia. Increasing awareness of environment issues has prompted major suppliers to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in favor of environmentally-friendly refrigerants. This is also in part due to countries such as China, Japan and Australia taking active measures to reduce the use of HCFCs. Natural refrigerants such as ammonia and carbon dioxide (CO2) are being more widely used in refrigeration systems. Besides natural refrigerants, the industry continues to seek out refrigerants with low Ozone Depleting Potential and low Global Warming Potential. Johnson Controls, through its Frick®, YORK® and Sabroe brands, each with over a hundred years of experience in natural refrigerants, is an advocate for the adoption of environmentally-friendly refrigerants and has developed a broad range of products and solutions with natural refrigerants. We have introduced refrigeration systems using propane, propylene, i-butane, hydrogen, ammonia and CO2 for foods and beverage as well as oil, gas and petrochemical process cooling. Increased focus on COP (energy-saving) regulations – The Coefficient of Performance (COP) is becoming a key consideration as an increasing number of end-users globally and across Asia are paying attention to operating costs, and not just initial capital investment. For example, China initiated an energy-labeling system in March 2005, starting with air conditioning and refrigeration products as they consume a lot of electricity. As design parameters vary from one refrigeration system to another, it is not easy to evaluate the energy efficiency of the system. This is where industry associations and relevant government agencies can work together to define a common evaluation criteria and apply the appropriate energy labeling system on large refrigeration equipment.

CC: What kind of growth do you see for the Indian industrial refrigeration/ cold chain industry in the next 2-3 years? In the next 10 years? What factors are currently helping the growth of the industry in India?

RB: There are growth opportunities in the industry despite weak macro-economic indicators globally. Two key worldwide drivers are energy efficiency and environmental protection. With intensifying environmental problems including climate change, many countries are enacting legislation and providing incentives to modernize and retrofit existing facilities. In Asia, increasing living standards, urbanization and industrialization are also driving growth. Demand for higher quality food and public concern over food safety, as well as urban lifestyles resulting in more people consuming frozen prepared food instead of fresh food, are fuelling growth in F&B IR market. For example, India has a food processing industry valued at about US$120 billion, and is estimated to continue to grow at a robust 13 percent per annum. Another factor to consider is that much of the cold chain industry in India currently utilizes outdated and obsolete technologies, which are due for renovation or complete replacement. This presents opportunities for companies such as Johnson Controls to help modernize the existing infrastructure and facilities through the introduction of new products and technologies to the market. T h e a b o ve -mentioned conditions will continue to help drive growth in India’s industrial refrigeration and cold chain industry. The cold chain market is anticipated to grow at a rapid pace on account of rising food exports, private investments and favorable initiatives undertaken by the Indian government to boost cold chain infrastructure in the country. A recent report, by the research-based global management consulting firm TechSci Research, projects the Indian cold chain market to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 23.88 per cent between 2014 and 2019, in revenue terms.

CC: What factors are hindering the growth?

RB: The Indian cold chain market is highly fragmented with more than 3500 players. The market is largely unorganized with only a handful of domestic players offering complete food storage and logistics services in the country, and this has resulted in inefficiencies within the system. However, the Indian government’s move to allow 100% FDI in the cold chain sector, along with several financial incentives and relaxations, is a huge step in the right direction. We anticipate that the cold chain market will become more organized with the entry of large foreign private companies. 

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