Daikin MEA’s Paolo Nascetti, vice-president-applied and Paras Adhvaryu, general manager-applied talk to Technical Review Middle East about impact of COVID-19 on the HVACR sector, technology trends and market developments.
Technical Review Middle East (TRME): Can you give an overview of current trends, and developments shaping the Middle East HVACR System market in the COVID19 era?
Paolo Nascetti, vice‐president – applied, Daikin MEA: COVID-19 pandemic has not only created a global health crisis but also posed a very big challenge to the global economy. The HVAC industry is already playing a major role in fighting against the pandemic by supporting the healthcare sector in deploying cooling and air treatment solutions in upcoming new facilities.
The pandemic has also brought intense focus on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) not only in healthcare applications industry, but also in hospitality and service sectors. The industry will see stringent implementation of IAQ standards as well as introductions of innovative technologies beside the traditional filter technology. We strongly believe that new HVAC construction technologies such as modular and offsite manufacturing (OSM) will become more popular and will bring in speed, quality, and cost competitiveness.
However, retrofit and replacement markets will see their share increase in the total HVAC market. Till now the focus on HVAC energy savings from ESCO projects was mainly on chillers. This focus will also expand to include energy efficiency targets on air side systems while enhancing IAQ.
TRME: Can you elaborate on Daikin’s new innovative technologies in development?
Paras Adhvaryu, general manager – applied, Daikin MEA: Daikin has been always pushing boundaries in terms of innovations in Chilled Water HVAC technologies with special focus on designing products for Middle East’s specific climate conditions and market needs.
In 2012, we launched the Premium Efficiency 3000TR Centrifugal specifically for Middle East District Cooling and Large Capacity Chiller Plants.
In 2017, we introduced the first and only Premium Efficiency Air-Cooled Screw Chiller with Refrigerant Cooled Inverter + Variable Volume Ratio (VVR), designed specifically for Middle East’s high ambient conditions. While Inverter + VVR technology gave the highest efficiency, refrigerant cooled design ensured reliability of the Inverter, even while operating in high ambient temperatures up to 55 degree Celsius and extremely sandy environments. Recently, we have also introduced the High Ambient Scroll Chiller and Heat Pumps with low GWP R-32 refrigerant along with Daikin’s inhouse manufactured refrigerant-cooled Inverters for Water-Cooled Centrifugal range.
Daikin continues to increase investments in R&D centres located in Europe, USA, and Japan. Our Technology and Innovation Center (TIC) in Japan is currently working to release cutting edge elemental technologies related to individual components of chillers and airside equipment and are being adopted by Applied Development Centres in all product development projects, both in air-cooled and water-cooled chiller ranges, that will be also available for Middle East customers. We will be introducing new IAQ solution on our fan coil units, which will be targeted mainly for hotels, healthcare, and residential applications.
Daikin is now an industry leader in offsite manufacturing and modular chilled water solutions, and a Centre of Excellence for Modular Solutions across EMEA region.
Soon we will be promoting new water heating solutions using heat recovery and heat pumps solutions in conjunction with traditional chillers.
Daikin also has introduced new controls solutions such as iCM (Intelligent Chiller Manager) and Remote Monitoring Services – DOS (Daikin On Site) as well as the factory fitted controls for air handling units.
TRME: How will energy-saving technologies provide new value and make people and air comfortable and healthy in the years ahead?
Paras Adhvaryu: Customers are no longer satisfied with the best AED/TR product but are choosing products and solutions with best ROI and life-cycle operational costs. The ESCO business model and district cooling have helped customers to make their buildings more energy efficient by reducing pressure on the initial investment.
Usually IAQ improvement is associated with the increase of filtration stages and efficiency, which means increased static pressure in the system or increased fresh air intake. We can overcome this ‘Catch-22’ situation only through the innovation in filter technology (better filtration efficiency with lower pressure drop), especially non-traditional filtration technologies such as photocatalytic oxidation and electrostatic filters; new methods of heat recovery to reduce fresh air Load; and new ways of construction for air handlers to ensure better cleanability and special coatings on coils while incorporating new energy saving fan technologies like EC fans.
TRME: How is Daikin planning to maintain itself as the regional market leader with regards to introducing climate friendly refrigerants?
Paras Adhvaryu: Daikin has remained true to its commitment to reduce the environmental impact of cooling, heating, and refrigeration systems. In support of this, we are now providing free access to the patents covering HVAC equipment using the low GWP R-32 refrigerant. On a regional level, we have been supporting the UN program to help regional manufacturers in their evaluation of low GWP alternative refrigerants.
As Middle East countries had signed on the Montreal Protocol including the latest Kigali amendment, we continue to follow this while making our offerings of premium efficiency chillers. Daikin is the only HVAC manufacturer in the world who also has its own refrigerant company as well, Daikin Chemicals.
TRME: What makes the company unique in comparison to regional and international competitors?
Paolo Nascetti: Daikin manufactures a diverse portfolio of HVAC-R products, from the smallest 1-ton split system to the largest 3000-ton chiller series, including other solutions such as controls, refrigerants, compressors, and off-site modular solutions.
In 2014, we established the local production facility in Jebel Ali, Dubai, for Eurovent certified air handling units. Recently, we had doubled the production facility after the strategic reallocation to our new HQ facility in Jebel Ali, to cater to the increased demand from Middle East and African regions. Moreover, Daikin had recently acquired Zanotti and AHT, which helped expand to extend our refrigeration product offerings to cover commercial and industrial needs, from cold rooms, transportation, retail showcases and other applications.
We continue to increase visibility and presence in the region as part of our Fusion 20 management plan. These efforts have been quite successful, with key affiliates in Saudi, Egypt, Nigeria and Qatar, which had prompted further our sales expansion, strengthened our visibility, and ensured our competitive advantage supported by our sales partners from distributors and dealers across the region.