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Setting the Standard - Cooling and freezing techniques in Saudi ArabiaNovember 2014

Written by Hugh Brenchley, Market Research Consultant, BSRIA Worldwide Market Intelligence

BSRIA and Saudi research agency, AMAD, have been awarded a joint contract by the Saudi Ministry of Water and Electricity to carry out an in depth study on the consumption of energy within the refrigeration market in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Each year the KSA imports huge quantities of refrigeration and freezing products from all over the world. Many imports are not subject to performance checks, additionally some products manufactured locally are being sold directly into the market without satisfying any standards.

The Ministry of Water and Electricity is tasked with achieving optimal use of energy.

Therefore it wants to eliminate the bad influence of low efficiency appliances in the refrigeration sector to help avoid the load increasing in the electric network throughout the year.

The Ministry has commissioned BSRIA and AMAD to carry out a study to explore the feasibility of applying new technologies for refrigerators and freezers in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors in the KSA. Having established the most appropriate technologies, BSRIA/AMAD will assess their technical and economic suitability for use in the KSA. To achieve this, comparison reports will be made between techniques applied universally for refrigerating and freezing systems, with particular focus on which gases are used in these systems and what methods are used to raise their efficiency and reduce the adverse environmental impact of each.

BSRIA's unique market intelligence and technical engineering expertise will help identify the best global products to suit the Saudi market

BSRIA will not only be drawing on its own experience but will take views from international trade bodies and associations in the refrigeration sector. It has also set up a panel of experts from major global players especially in Europe and the USA. The aim is to develop criteria to identify the best global products and solutions to achieve the best result for Saudi. BSRIA/ AMAD will also be filtering global and local legislations to get the best for the KSA,where there is always a high level of importance placed on safety and environmental issues with particular emphasis on the reduction of water and electricity.

The project is set to run for 18 months and will cover domestic refrigeration, remote and integral cabinets, vending machines and industrial freezers. The industrial sector will include cold rooms and cold stores.

One of the primary issues is to clarify the extent of products being considered so that the techniques being used can be quantified and assessed accordingly. BSRIA envisage spreading the net as wide as possible initially and then progressively filtering down to the prime candidates. This process will be well documented to justify the recommendations and explain why certain solutions have been discarded from the final analysis.

Key areas include; but individual products may change following the initial evaluation:

  1. Domestic refrigeration: Fridges, freezers and fridge freezers
  2. Commercial refrigeration: Integral cabinets, remote cabinets, medical cabinets, vending machines and water coolers, walk in cold rooms and cold stores
  3. Industrial refrigeration: Distribution warehouses, process chillers (including for oil and gas).

The second task is to establish a database for the KSA, and is being carried out by AMAD, the co-agency in Saudi Arabia.

Subsequent stages will assess the applicability of both new technologies and new legislation in Saudi. A whole host of questions will have to be addressed. What are the benefits over existing technologies? Are they available now, or will their development take 5 years or more? Is further development needed before the technology can be used? Are the costs justified in terms of improved performance? Does the product make sense in terms of environmental benefits? Who owns the IP (intellectual property) and is this a constraint on implementation? Is the local Saudi industry able to take advantage i.e. what promotion, training, change of design philosophy etc. would be needed?

Prior to making its final recommendations, there will be a technical and economic feasibility assessment including the environmental impact of products.

Areas include:

Technical and economic evaluation

Technical and economic evaluation carried out to compare the new technologies with existing systems based on a whole life cost methodology under test conditions. Clearly this is difficult with innovative technologies where reliable data has not been established but BSRIA would make reasonable assumptions by considering reliability at a component level (most new technologies rely to a large extent on existing components). BSRIA may also need to consider the potential role of government led initiatives and incentives to stimulate the market.

Environmental impact assessment

BSRIA will consider factors such as the carbon emissions rate for electricity consumption being different in the KSA than the UK because of the different mix of generation, but there will also be different impact factors associated with different materials because of transport and supply issues. BSRIA will consider a wide range of strategic resource factors, not just carbon and other global warming emissions. It also needs to account for the impact of displacing the existing technology.

The issues that need to be considered in implementation of new technologies include:

  • Proof of performance and reliability under local conditions
  • Informing the design community
  • Integration of new technologies with existing/ future systems and infrastructure
  • Developing the supply chain with lifetime availability of spare parts
  • Developing the installation and maintenance skills

This is a challenging project but will result in a new standard and a more sustainable future, we will review the recommendations and conclusions of the report in a future edition.

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