Cool comforts: A perfect fit for Linde’s portfolio
According to Vellios, HFOs, combined with so-called Natural Refrigerants like CO2 and Ammonia are promising to be energy-efficient alternatives. The demand for both groups is expected to rise throughout the next decades. As societies move towards more diversified use cases in chilling applications, diversifying one’s portfolio of cooling agents is imperative. “We’ll be the only company in Europe to provide a full product portfolio of HFCs, HFOs and Naturals,” Vellios says. A recent EU energy study backs the notion that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, as the alternatives also have different chemical properties. Unlike previous refrigerants, the new generation of HFOs is flammable, while CO2 can only be kept under pressure.
To stay in the vanguard of change, Linde is actively updating its refrigerant filling plants, blending stations and packaging facilities throughout the world. As of now, the company has invested more than 5.5 million euros in new infrastructure across Europe: an upgraded plant in Poland is already in operation, one in Greece is to be opened in May 2019.
Smuggling: Undermining safety and sustainability
As Linde is working to deliver a secure filling network, unbidden guests have shown up at the party. “We’ve seen a rise in bootleggers who make a fortune by smuggling fake, unlicensed or adulterated products into the EU,” Vellios explains. In 2018 alone, according to Vellios, 30.000 tons of illegal products have trickled into the economic area – about one third of the total demand. While Linde follows strict rules when transfilling HFCs and HFOs, as well as chooses partners with safety records and flammable products know-how, gas gangs often sell their batches for 50% of the market value. They also use disposable instead of refillable cylinders. Experts detect the crooked cargo through wrong or missing certifications, too-good-to-be-true prices or deals on dubious websites.