This post summarizes opening remarks made by John Rhodes, Emerson’s group president, cold chain, at our latest E360 event, which was held in Chicago on October 5. To learn more, watch the full video.
The refrigeration industry is facing the most significant regulatory changes in half a century, and they’re all starting to hit now. The first new Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations began coming into effect a little more than a year ago. Many more — about 90 percent of the total — are scheduled to be implemented in the next three years or so.
Even as the first targets have or soon will be taking effect, the EPA’s core rule was tentatively struck down in August. The U.S. Court of Appeals DC Circuit ruled that the EPA did not have the authority to phase down HFCs under its Clean Air Act, because HFCs are not an ozone-depleting substance.
This ruling suggests HFCs such as R-404A and R-507 might get a new lease on life, but I would caution that the ruling has not yet gone into effect and may not be upheld. Presently, several refrigerant manufacturers are appealing the ruling.
Meanwhile, the industry will continue to build on the significant progress we’ve made in the last several years. We’re in mid-stride on a lot of changes and can’t afford to stop and wait. The risks of falling behind are great, especially if this ruling is appealed. Even if it stands, the global phase-down of HFCs is underway, and may make a strong business case for the changes the industry has already set in motion.
During the past three and a half years, Emerson has worked to help you understand the changes you’re facing and achieve the best possible outcomes. These unprecedented environmental, energy and food safety regulations have created a labyrinth of challenges for our customers. Through our breadth of product offerings, stewardship efforts and focus on innovation, we’re committed to helping you successfully navigate today’s cold chain complexities.
Internally, we’ve expanded our own role in safeguarding the cold chain to confront these and other big challenges, including the amount of food wasted, revenues lost and energy consumed globally. From compressors, electronics and controls to monitoring solutions and cargo tracking, we provide holistic control of cold chain operations. Our cold chain solutions ensure food quality, food-life extension and waste reduction from farm to fork.
We anticipate more complexity will continue to be added to regulations, refrigerants and applications. At the same time, a technician shortage is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry. With that in mind, we think the time is right for more standardization. In the next quarter and beyond, we intend to work toward reducing that complexity, both for total systems and subsystems. We believe “plug and play” is an approach whose time has come in the refrigeration industry.
As the refrigeration landscape evolves, our E360 initiative will continue to serve as a platform where our customers, partners and the larger industry can turn — not only for timely, straightforward information, but for a measured evaluation and expert guidance. To register for upcoming webinars, retrieve information from past presentations, and otherwise stay informed, please keep these E360 resources close at hand: