Cold Hard Facts 2019

Industry snapshot: the latest figures

The Department of the Environment and Energy has released an updated version of Cold Hard Facts, the definitive inventory of Australia’s HVAC&R industry.

The 2019 edition updates the version released last year (which contained data up to 2016) with data collected during 2017 and 2018.

Key points from this year’s report include:

  • The bank of high-GWP refrigerants in Australia increased by 5 per cent from 2016 to 2018, from about 50,800 tonnes in 2016 to an estimated 53,300 tonnes in 2018. This was driven mainly by stationary air conditioning, particularly in smaller split systems and small commercial systems.
  • Small air conditioning systems are rapidly transitioning to R32. In 2018, R32 systems made up 53 per cent of all pre-charged small air conditioning units imported, an increase from 39 per cent in 2016 and up from effectively zero in 2012.
  • Sales of small single split systems have softened for the first time since the Cold Hard Facts series began in 2006. The split system market experienced solid annual growth rates of around 5 per cent from 2012 to 2018. In 2017 a record number of 1,258,000 single split systems were sold in Australia. Sales reduced noticeably in 2018 with total sales around 1,158,000 – a year-on-year decline of nearly eight per cent.
  • HFO refrigerants have begun to be employed in some stationary equipment Every major global chiller manufacturer now offers chiller models employing HFO-1234ze. Notably the HFO refrigerant of choice for large centrifugal chillers has become HFO-1233zd, which can provide meaningful financial benefits to equipment owners due to energy efficiency gains. However, HFOs are not being used in vehicles, as was initially expected. Sales of vehicles employing HFOs were statistically irrelevant in 2018.
  • Leading supermarket chains continue active programs reducing leaks of high-GWP (HFC) refrigerants, and lead the way with concerted moves to HFC alternatives. The emergence of carbon dioxide (CO2) cascade and trans-critical systems in commercial refrigeration saw rapid growth of CO2 systems employed in the cold food chain, although from a low base. Innovation in the use of low-charge ammonia systems added to the highly energy efficient options for new build commercial refrigeration systems with a cooling capacity greater than 50kWr.
  • Adoption of hydrocarbons in other parts of the cold food chain continued with the introduction of numerous small, self-contained commercial refrigeration models employing hydrocarbons. These trends with CO2, ammonia and hydrocarbon refrigerants resulted in the share (in metric tonnes) of the HCFC and HFC refrigerant bank used in the refrigerated cold food chain falling again from 14 per cent in 2016 to 13 per cent in 2018, even though the absolute mass of HCFCs and HFCs employed in the cold food chain increased slightly to around 7,100 metric tonnes.
  • The portion of total electricity consumed by RAC in 2018 was around 24 per cent of all Australian electricity generated. Electricity price increases of more than 30 per cent from 2016 to 2018 have placed significant emphasis on energy saving initiatives, particularly with large air conditioning systems in commercial buildings, and refrigeration equipment and plant in the supermarket and cold storage industries.

Click here to access the full report.

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