Reporter: Deng Yajing from CHEAA-run China Appliance Magazine

At the past China Refrigeration Show 2018, Huayi showcased its NUS series of R290-based compressors for light commercial refrigeration, which outdistanced other products on the market with a COP up to 1.9, approaching the highest of household refrigeration at 2.09. Not long after the show, China Appliance reporter interviewed Vicente Guilabert, Vice General Manager of R&D and Quality Control of Huayi Compressor Barcelona, at ATMOsphere on April 12th , inviting him to shed light on the current landscape of R290-based compressors for light commercial refrigeration globally, Huayi’s achievements as well as future plans in this field. From the interview, we could see that, Huayi’s strategy of stepping up the application of R290-based compressors in light commercial refrigeration is assertive. This category has already been listed as a focal point of the company’s work in the upcoming 5 years.

Starting off early, Huayi has achieved a lot

R290-based products take a share of 25% in light commercial refrigeration market globally, and this figure is expected to rise fast before the Kigali Amendment officially takes effect and kicks in. According to Vicente Guilabert, Huayi has three brands under its umbrella-Huayi, Cubigel and Jiaxipera. Jiaxipera offers compressors for household refrigerators, Cubigel light commercial refrigeration and Huayi both. Talking about the proportion of R290-based products in the company’s compressors for light commercial refrigeration, Vicente used Cubigel as an example, saying: “On European market, 80%-90% of Cubigel’s compressors (all R290-based) go to OEMs, and the remaining (mainly based on HFCs) to retailers for after sale maintenance.”

Compared to the share of 25% of R290 products in global light commercial refrigeration market, Huayi is way ahead of the industry. Vicente attributed this to Huayi’s long commitment in this sector. He said, “20 years ago, we put our R290-based compressors for light commercial refrigeration on the market, and long before that, our research had started.” He believed that, Huayi’s years of building up of technology allowed it to stand strong on the market. Using COP as an example, he said, “the efficiency of Huayi’s new generation products improves by 6% compared to the last generation, reaching 1.9, the No.1 of the industry currently.”

Taking the lead in the application of R290-based compressors for light commercial refrigeration, this company also stands out in the R&D and sales of variable speed R290 compressors used in the same sector, which is widely regarded as a challenge of the industry because of the high cost. Huayi, with established experience, has made the cost under control.

What’s more, the company’s Jiaxing-based R&D center lays the ground for its innovation and breakthroughs. Boasting high rate of technology application and fast product development pace, this center is supporting the group in different development projects including some ones for light commercial refrigeration segment. It has been developed the ND series of superefficient compressors with a COP of 2.10, Mini series of small-size compressors as well as the company’s variable speed compressors. Huayi not only stands strong as the largest household refrigeration compressor maker, but more importantly, takes the lead in R&D of the light commercial refrigeration market, which makes Vicente very proud of.

China’s light commercial refrigeration market grows fast

Vicente shared his view on China’s light commercial refrigeration market with us during the interview. He said, “Originally used in Europe, R290-based light commercial refrigeration now enters a period of fast growth in China faster than what is required by Kigali Amendment timelines. Currently, the market size of China’s light commercial refrigeration ranges at about 10 million units, with R290-based products at around 300,000 units. The market potential is huge.”

“Huayi is poised to seize this opportunity to step up our efforts in R290-based compressors used for light commercial refrigeration, with plans of expanding applications.” Vicente Guilabert said, “Huayi will go all out on it. With total R&D fund unchanged, other projects will have to make way for R290.” According to Vicente , Huayi will not change its strategy until a new non-flammable refrigerant with same performance comes out. He said, “In fact, we’ve had communications with leading refrigerant makers including Honeywell and Chemours and learned that there’s no such refrigerant by the moment. Some enterprises mix natural refrigerants with other refrigerants to reduce flammability. But the mixtures are still flammable. And they’re priced higher than natural refrigerants, with performances are not as good. Thus we believe that the trend of using R290 in light commercial refrigeration will not change.”