As happened in many productive sectors, the industrial refrigeration market also suffered the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Mainly due to the restrictions and closures that the manufacturing industry had to face, as well as transport and logistics companies. Despite this, the market is in a process of frank recovery after the lifting of the confinement measures.

Industrial refrigeration systems for organizations that produce mass consumer goods are the main architects of this recovery. This is due to the increase in the market for packaged and processed foods and beverages in developing countries and the need to preserve the quality of these products and prevent their deterioration. Likewise, the increase in the tendency to improve cold storage infrastructures in the field of emerging economies has an influence.

We will dedicate the next few lines to briefly reviewing the current panorama of the industrial refrigeration sector, its prospects and challenges in the medium and long term.

Global Industrial Refrigeration Market Value in Context

Essentially, industrial refrigeration encompasses processes that employ refrigeration and cooling systems to extract heat from a low-temperature medium and transfer it to another high-temperature medium. These systems are deployed in large freezing and refrigeration plants that are essential in various industrial applications. For example in food and beverage processing companies and in general for the cold storage of these products.

In 2020, with the pandemic in between, the size of the industrial refrigeration market reached 19,307.3 million dollars. We must consider that during the most critical months of COVID-19, sectors such as construction, manufacturing, hospitality and tourism faced critical moments. Activities at these companies ceased or were largely restricted. The same happened with construction and transport, which, along with their supply chains, experienced a global stagnation. Consequently, there was a decrease in the manufacture of refrigeration systems, which directly affected this market.

Fortunately, food and beverage companies, wastewater treatment companies, and pharmaceutical companies were fully operational. This allowed industrial refrigeration to maintain certain stability and value its global market at 20,234.1 million dollars in 2021. Even so, an increase in the capacity of companies in the sector is expected to significantly increase this value.

The industrial refrigeration market from 2020 to 2030

Next, we will refer to a recently made market projection for 2030, based on the situation of the sector that concerns us in 2020. It will allow us to know an initial situation of the industrial refrigeration industry, in the absence of specific figures regarding to the achievements of 2021 and 2022.

First, the study found that evaporative cooling was the leading technology in 2020, accounting for nearly two-fifths of the global market for industrial cooling systems. Its high level of efficiency and its cost compared to refrigerated systems were the reasons that have kept it in this position. However, the research predicts that air cooling will be the segment that will register the highest growth at a compound rate (6%) by 2030. This forecast is based on the increase in demand for this type of mechanism and the state initiatives that favour it in developing countries, such as India.

While, in the functionality segment, stationary refrigeration accounted for more than two-thirds of the world market in 2020. This result is attributed to the increase in the purchasing power of the middle-class population and the expansion of the Internet in countries Developing. But refrigerated transport will be the segment that will experience the highest compound annual growth percentage with 5.9% in the period considered. This boom will boost the strengthening of the food industry and the regulations on temperature control for the transport of drugs and biopharmaceuticals.

LAMEA, the market of the future

Regarding market share by region, the Asia-Pacific and North America regions had the highest percentages. Between the two, they accounted for more than two-fifths, thanks to their low manufacturing costs and the availability of labour. Despite this, it will be the LAMEA (Latin America, Middle East and Africa) market that will experience the highest compound growth in the referred decade. No less than 6.7%. The study indicates that the increase in commercial activities and the boom in the manufacturing industry in Africa will be behind this rise.

In general, the forecast is that the sector we are talking about will increase its global revenues to 27.21 billion dollars in the said period, which is equivalent to a compound annual growth rate of 5%. According to the aforementioned research, refrigeration revenues for industries worldwide reached 16.62 billion dollars in 2020.

The challenges of industrial refrigeration

Aside from just getting over the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturers and installers of industrial refrigeration systems face other demanding challenges. On the one hand, those are derived from the current regulations on the use of refrigerants. Especially the European regulation F-Gas 517/2014. And on the other, the high energy consumption to operate and maintain the units and infrastructures.

In fact, from the year 2022, the use of refrigerants 404A and 134A is prohibited. This class of fluorinated compounds must be completely replaced by natural refrigerants, which are chemical products made based on biochemical processes in nature. In other words, they are made up of natural substances present in the biosphere that do not damage the ozone layer and have little or no value for atmospheric warming potential. Among these, we find R290 (propane), R717 (ammonia), R718 (water), R729 (air) and R744 (carbon dioxide). At this same point, manufacturers must continue to make improvements to their systems, such as reducing the charge of refrigerants.

With regard to energy efficiency, manufacturers are also beginning to incorporate more and more devices such as variable speed drives in motors, with algorithms and systems appropriate to this type of control. Just as others apply, such as electronic expansion valves.

On the other hand, these same companies have the challenge of continuing to invest in R&D to incorporate more IT elements into their systems. It should be noted that industrial refrigeration technologies enabled by the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence will represent a great market opportunity.

At Intersam we are at the forefront of refrigeration

At Intersam we have been designing and developing customized refrigeration and air conditioning systems for various sectors of industry and commerce since 1995. This extensive experience allows us to provide our customers with high-quality products that ensure the best treatment of air flows, which are so relevant currently. Our flagship products, adiabatic condensers and air coolers control 100% of water consumption. Likewise, they have a low energy consumption ventilation system to reduce costs and guarantee a minimum impact on the environment.

As if that were not enough, we can meet the industrial refrigeration requirements of your project and install our solutions anywhere in Spain or the world where your business is. Contact us now!