ATMOsphere Japan 2019

Last updated on 6 March, 12:00 GMT.



METRO Cash & Carry Japan discusses sustainable refrigeration

Ivan Petrov and Kenji Funamori of METRO speak about how the company is looking into natural refrigerant systems to help achieve its sustainability goals.

SMTS 2019: Hydrocarbon waterloop systems for Japanese food retail

Freor and Nihon Netsugen Systems talk to shecco about how the partnership began and the potential for these systems as a key alternative solution for the Japanese market.



Follow along our social media coverage from ATMOsphere Japan 2019 with the newest updates on top of the page.


Last session of this year’s ATMOsphere Japan conference is an informal discussion session where leading international and domestic suppliers speak about their role in contributing to Japan’s leadership in natural refrigerant technology.

Market and Technology Panel Discussion chaired by Marc Chasserot, shecco

“Self contained units very easy to handle. Energy saving 50% for the island freezers. Saving a lot of energy for people. This is how we are looking at this problem globally.” — Sumitra Eksithichai, AHT Cooling Systems Asia

Sumitra Eksithichai, AHT Cooling Systems Asia

Lily Li of Nidec said: Propane will be the best solution as a natural refrigerant that provides benefits for the end users and the OEM.”

“We are also one of the leaders for natural refrigerant compressors.”

Lily Li, Nidec

Our third speaker, Ferdinand Spannan of Bitzer Japan said: “Bitzer is one of the leading companies globally for CO2 compressors. We started with CO2 compressor technology in 1990’s. Ammonia as well — 35 years experience. We also have a large range for hydrocarbons.”

“The big driver is CO2 more than ammonia. What we have seen in Europe, the growth has come from the commercial sector. Our main market has been in the commercial side globally, but recent developments in South Africa, Europe and the Americas, this is also pushing CO2 and low charge ammonia in industrial refrigeration,” Spannan added.

“Incentives have their drawbacks as well. In the end technology has to convince the customer especially seasonal energy efficiency and user friendliness,” he concluded.

Ferdinand Spannan, Bitzer Japan

“For the Japan market, we are almost all focused on CO2. 90% of our products sold in Japan are CO2 heat exchangers,” shared Guentner’s Guo Wei.

When asked ‘Why are you in Japan? Why is it strategically important?’ Wei said: “I think CO2 is the reason for us to be here. Because its natural and not explosive. The challenges might be how to improve the COP of CO2 in hot cities, and how to do the defrost for the coolers and the size of the CO2 system.”

“Each solution have certain benefits and and disadvantages. No perfect solution,” Wei concluded.

Guo Wei, Guentner

When asked ‘What is needed for hydrocarbons to become more widespread in Japan?’, Katsunori Shibata of Shibata Welding Construction Co. said: “As for hydrocarbons, this year we started a small size hydrocarbon ice maker. We are going to start selling that this year.”

“The biggest difference between Japan and other countries are the earthquake risks. Therefore we have to take the risk hedge so this is a big challenge. That means the testing overseas cannot be directly applied in Japan.”

Katsunori Shibata, Shibata Welding Construction Co.

Our last panel speaker, Hisao Mizuno of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems, a manufacturer of the CO2 condensing unit, shared: “Last fiscal year 10HP and this year 15 HP are selling, and going forward we will be focusing on that natural refrigerant.”

Mizuno also pointed out: “Policy for natural refrigerant is of course necessary but only if the solution is clear.”

“For example, refrigeration is very clear so CO2 or hydrocarbons makes sense, but on the other hand, in air conditioning (AC), for the AC sector we are really having the powerful incentive to be introduced because we really have to ensure the security first for the air conditioner. First the government has to fund the technical development and then the subsidy,” Mizuno concluded.

Hisao Mizuno, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Thermal Systems


This session features innovative technology case studies by leading companies active in the Japanese market.

Our first speaker Manabu Ohnishi from conference’s Platinum Sponsor, Panasonic, presented onDevelopment of a new CO2 system with heat reclaim and an 80HP booster system for cold stores’.

“So far 250 stores have introduced our CO2 systems in Europe.”

Ohnishi also shared the observation that “in recent years small format stores (>1000sqm) have been increasing.”

“This year 50 and 80 HP transcritical CO2 rack systems have arrived in Japan for field testing domestically. Now it is under testing and based upon those test results, we would like to further expand this rack system business in Japan.”

At the end of presentation, Ohnishi concluded: “Training for the installer is very important.”

Manabu Ohnishi, Panasonic

Next up is Katsuhiko Harada, of conference’s Gold Sposor, Nihon Netsugen Systems, who presented on ‘Performance of a CO2 booster system in different applications’.

“Can CO2 units survive hot summers, some people wonder? Yes, we didn’t have any problem under record hot summer in 2018, even when ambient temperature was almost 40 degrees Celsius, the unit kept constant cooling,” Harada said.

Harada also reported: “Overall 6–39% energy saving monthly in Hiroshima.”

“That’s not theoretical data, that’s real data.”

Katsuhiko Harada, Nihon Netsugen Systems

Andre Paz de Rosa of Embraco, ATMOsphere Japan’s Gold Sponsor, presented onIncreasing efficiency with R290 — ice cream freezer case study’.

A compressor was approached in the Brazilian market for the first time “with a request to be more efficient in the first place for ice cream freezers.”

It has “higher cooling capacity, energy saving, environmental impact and short return on investment.”

The R290 case study also showed that “energy consumption reduction is 21%”.

“This is already a reality for us in the European market. We see the growth very strong in North and South America. We strongly believe this is a suitable solutions for the Japanese market,” argued Paz de Rosa.

“We really hope in three years from now a mainstream application of hydrocarbons in light commercial applications,” Paz de Rosa concluded.

Andre Paz de Rosa, Embraco

Next up is Hidehiro Kitayama of conference’s Gold Sponsor, Mayekawa, on Addressing needs in new applications with a CO2 ice chiller’.

The system reports “about 50% of the emission reduction and increasing cooling efficiency by 11%.”

Hidehiro Kitayama, Mayekawa

Last speaker of Technology Case Studies panel, Eason Cheng of Carel, presented on Energy efficiency and performance of transcritical CO2 systems with Carel controls in Japan’.

“From a system control point of view, CO2 is a high pressure system which is not easy to manage and it needs the high pressure component,” Cheng explained.

“Carel helps their partners overcome those issues with control systems.”

Cheng reported: “By the end of last year, we had 122 natural refrigerant units with Carel control systems installed in Japan.”

When asked about future plans, Cheng said: “We are making this plan to work with natural refrigerants, like CO2 and propane.”

“We just set up our new office in Tokyo. In the future I wish to work more with our potential customer,” Cheng concluded.

Eason Cheng, Carel


Leading Japanese end users shared their experiences in industrial refrigeration using different types of natural refrigerant technologies, including benefits, challenges and future plans.

Rena Okabe, shecco, chairing the Panel

Our first speaker Tomomitsu Yamasaki of Ajinomoto Frozen Foods stressed the importance of the subsidy for natural refrigerant-based equipment. “If it becomes more flexible, the use of this subsidy will spread out.”

“For AJINOMOTO Group as a whole, to mitigate global warming and our environmental issues, we’d like to promote the use of natural refrigerants in collaboration with all of you,” Yamasaki concluded.

Tomomitsu Yamasaki, Executive Officer, Ajinomoto Frozen Foods

Next up was Kokubu Group’s Akio Motohashi who is in charge of logistics. Motohashi shared the growth of the company, “going from single function centers to multi function centers. The size of the centers are much bigger than before” as well as the importance of efficient cooling. The company opted for natural refrigerants.

“As a company policy, we would like to harmonize with society and we have our environmental policy.”

“The eventual goal is to reduce global warming and the natural refrigerant was our final decision.”

When asked about the subsidies for natural refrigerant-based equipment, Motohashi said: “We can recover the investment in 10 years. Without the subsidy it would be at least 16 or 17 years.”

Akio Motohashi, General Manager of Logistics Group, Kokubu Group

Hiroyuki Mifune of Daisen Nyugyo Agricultural Cooperative Association pointed out they have four manufacturing plants (Milk and Yogurt, Milk powder, Ice Cream, Confectionary) and therefore, they have four big refrigeration systems.

“We are obliged to reduce the energy consumption year by year.”

“In selecting the systems, we chose the central system, NH3/CO2,” Mifune highlighted along with the calculation that the power consumption was reduced by 23.4%.

When asked about the specific plan for replacements with natural refrigerants, Mifune said: “This year for the chilled equipment if we can utilize the subsidy we would like to replace that with the natural refrigerant equipment.”

“We hope that the equipment manufacturers and engineering firms will develop even more efficient machinery and systems,” Mifune concluded.

Hiroyuki Mifune, Production Director, Daisen Nyugyo Agricultural Cooperative Association

Lastly Shigekatsu Koganemaru, Environment and Safety Committee Vice Chairman of Japan Association of Refrigerated Warehouses said they “provide the training course for the refrigerant freon and utilizing subsidies.”

With the support of the Association, technology seminars are provided to educate the member companies.

According to the survey in 2017, Koganemaru said there has been an increase from 15% to 30% in use of natural refrigerant technologies.

Shigekatsu Koganemaru, Environment and Safety Committee Vice Chairman, Japan Association of Refrigerated Warehouses


The Accelerate Japan awards are being held for the first time in Japan this year! The awards aim to recognise the thought leaders of commercial and industrial refrigeration that are doing the most with natural refrigerant solutions in Japan.

shecco’s Marc Chasserot and Rena Okabe presenting the Awards

Here are the results.

  • Best in Sector: Food Retail End User — Lawson
  • Best in Sector: Light Commercial End User — Coca Cola
  • Best in Sector: Industrial End User — Ajinomoto
From left to right: Coca Cola, Lawson, Ajinomoto and Mayekawa

Voting for ‘Innovation of the Year’ award was open to public for one month. The award recognises Japanese companies that have developed a particular natural refrigerant-based product with a significant impact on the market, with existing installations in the field already.

Find the nominees for ‘Innovation of the Year’ award on this link:

‘Innovation of the Year’ award went to MAYEKAWA.

‘Innovation of the Year’ award winner, Mayekawa / Marc Chasserot, shecco with Shoji Miyajima, Mayekawa

“We were so surprised and honored to receive this award. Thank you so much. The point is how we can stop global warming. That is our mission we believe. The refrigerant issue is of course important, but more than that, it has to be used to reduce energy consumption, so we would like to continue our effort towards that.” — Shoji Miyajima of Mayekawa


Leading end users will share their experiences using different types of natural refrigerant technologies, including benefits, challenges and future plans.

Shinichiro Uto of Lawson points out that this is the last year of the HFC phase down and that “We really have to have a long term perspective and at the same time more proactively introduce natural refrigerants.”

Uto draws attention to the importance of long-term investments, saying “We would like to use the equipment for at least 15 years. […] I don’t think that low-GWP equipment will be a smart choice, considering the years that we will be able to use it [with the HFC phase-down].”

Uto proudly shared that Lawson is working with multiple companies on the CO2 equipment.

“Now is the time to strictly consider and collect the right equipment, and the right technology at the right timing,” highlighted Uto.

Shinichiro Uto, Architect, Energy Management, Lawson

Second speaker, Hiroyuki Oonishi from Japanese Consumer’s Co-Operative Union, shared that their vision for 2030 is around 2016 several COOPs getting together to set the road map for 2030.

Oonishi points out that “As of February 2018, there are a total of 75 locations where COOP members have installed natural refrigerants in Japan.”

“The biggest issue for our local COOP members with natural refrigerant installations is the intial cost.”

Hiroyuki Oonishi, Sustainability Promotion Department, Japanese Consumer’s Co-Operative Union (JCCU)

Final speaker of this panel, Kenji Funamori of Metro Cash & Carry Japan, shared that for new stores they are already introducing natural refrigerants.

Funamori pointed out that previously they had problems with leakage, hot summers, and the price of electricity going up (with 60% of the electricity coming from refrigeration).

Luckily, last year they were able to find a solution to these three problems. “That is the introduction of propane plug in freezers,” Funamori says.

The company noticed less repairs and maintenance as well as reduction of energy usage.

“The cost saving can pay for the installation costs. I happen to know the subsidy system by the ministry of the environment.”

Kenji Funamori, Manager Asset Management Department Management Divison, Metro Cash & Carry Japan


Looking at strategic and visionary presentations, this session is reviewing market trends and developments from leading national and international companies.

Jan Dusek, Business Development Manager for APAC and Managing Director of shecco Japan is opening this session.

Jan Dusek, shecco Japan

Starting off the discussion is Platinum Sponsor Panasonic, represented by Atsuki Tsutsumi: “We see small format supermarket and convenience stores expanding in China as well as other regions around the world. In Japan, we have installed more than 10 thousand CO2 units at 3,700 stores so far.”

“We [also] want to import CO2 racks from China to Japan for industrial applications [and] in 2019, we should be able to introduce waterloop and heat recovery options into the market.”

Atsuki Tsutsumi, Director of Cold Chain Business Division, Panasonic Appliances Company

The second speaker, President of Nihon Netsugen Systems Katsuhiko Harada explains: “We have sold more than 120 units nationwide of our CO2 booster super green system in Japan.”

“Hydrocarbon waterloop systems are increasing their penetration around the world. We would like to introduce this technology to Japan.”

Katsuhiko Harada, President, Nihon Netsugen Systems

Next up is Esequias Pereira Junior from Embraco: “We are working hard to have condensing units and sealed units in the country.”

“We see that the US is migrating to R290. My feeling, maybe in three years, everything will be R290 in the US. Europe has converted to R290 as well.”

“With variable speed we can reduce the size of the compressor.The smaller the compressor the more refrigerant you can have in the refrigeration system.”

Esequias Pereira Junior, Sales Manager Asia-Pacific Region, Embraco

The next speaker Makoto Ehara, General Manager, Solution Business Division, Mayekawa is highlighting the total picture of natural refrigerants potential: “What is most important is to understand the properties of natural refrigerants and to use them in the most effective ways.”

Extract from Mayekawa’s presentation — Different applications for natural refrigerants

Further he explained: “We at Mayekawa want to maximise the best use of the natural refrigerants. So the first important point is energy efficiency. Second is eliminating Freon. And then matching the temperature refrigerant to the application.”

Jan Dusek from shecco asks: “Apart from transcritical CO2 what is your strategy for CO2 transcritical systems?”

Mayekawa answered: “We have developed various plans with transcritical CO2 and size of the equipment we have”.

Makoto Ehara, General Manager, Solution Business Div, Mayekawa

Lastly, Norishige Sato, Food Techno Engineering presenting about their FTE Academy, which was opened in 2017:

“The hydrocarbons large size development is taking place over here”, making the company aware of the industry’s needs for suitable technology and training for such.

For the company it is essential to offer training for their units since they “are doing the development of the application”.

“There was a request for the combined unit. Using the spiral layer, we decided to do the development of such application.”

Norishige Sato, Food Techno Engineering
Technology Leadership Round Table


Discussing with two leading Japanese companies the challenges and opportunities for and in the Japanese HVAC&R market, shecco Group CEO Marc Chasserot is in an on-stage discussion with Shigeru Dohno, Managing Director, Food Retail Equipment Business Division from Panasonic Appliances Company and Ichiji Ishizu, Executive Managing Director of Mayekawa.

“We have been able to introduce 10 thousand CO2 products cumulatively since 2010. “— Shigeru Dohno, Panasonic Appliances Company.

“At a certain degree we have to be selective, of course natrefs are the way forward.” — Ichiji Ishizu, Mayekawa

On other technology options, Mayekawa also commented: “Ammonia refrigerator is the low price and very safe. I think that’s one of the reason why it has penetrated so much.”

Did subsidies [from the Japanese government] help your business?

“Subsidies are important but for us, but there are also many companies who want to buy our natural refrigerant products because they are energy efficient.” — Ichiji Ishizu, Mayekawa

“After the end of the subsidy period in Japan, it important that F-gas regulations become more strict.” — Shigeru Dohno, Managing Director, Food Retail Equipment Business Division, Panasonic Appliances Company

Marc Chasserot, Group CEO, shecco, interviewing Shigeru Dohno, Managing Director, Food Retail Equipment Business Division from Panasonic Appliances Company and Ichiji Ishizu, Executive Managing Director of Mayekawa.

How is your experience so far with natural refrigerations outside Japan? Panasonic confirms that in Europe natural refrigerations are drastically expanding.

Mayekawa also mentioned that Korea and China offer great opportunties: “When we do business R404 is the battle. But ammonia CO2 are gradually being adopted.”

Shigeru Dohno from Panasonic further commenting: “For our company, the most exciting opportunity is in China, where we have several facilities which are introducing CO2 rack systems to the commercial food retail sector.”

To round up the discussion, Marc Chasserot from shecco said: “If the legislation here is as ambitious it will create opportunities for Japanese companies internationally to help you compete.”

Shigeru Dohno, Managing Director, Food Retail Equipment Business Division from Panasonic Appliances Company (left) and Ichiji Ishizu, Executive Managing Director of Mayekawa (right).
Exclusive Interview with Panasonic and Mayekawa


Discussing natural refrigerant different developments around the globe, shecco’s Group CEO Marc Chasserot explains: “As you know in Europe we have the EU F-gas regulation. The market has adjusted very quickly to this. The prices of high GWP HFCs have skyrocketed 1000%.”

“If you compare Japan to Europe for F-Gas regulation, its not ambitious enough. There’s opportunity to improve it.”

“This map of CO2 transcritical stores, if you look at 2008, we found 140 supermarkets in Europe. Ten years later, big change. There’s over 16,000 in Europe alone and 20,000 globally.”

“I think that in the future, in the next few years, there will be a big trend for natural refrigerants to offer solutions in air conditioning.” — Marc Chasserot, shecco Group CEO.

World Map of CO2 transcritical refrigeration stores from 140 in 2008 to almost 20,000 in 2018
Policy and Regulations updates from Ministry of Environment Japan, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the IEC SC61C Subcommitee and shecco.

The first speaker, Yasuhiro Baba, from the Ministry of the Environment of Japan, explains the impact of HFC phase-down on Japan: “The reduction by 2029 will be difficult, so METI is working especially in the commercial air conditioning area.”

“In 2030 we’d like to increase our HFC recovery rate to 70%.”

To put this in place a more involvement from the end users will be required: “The user is obliged to recover the freon, so we need to communicate this to the end user. We will introduce a direct penalty. That’s led by the local government.”

“Through the strengthening of this HFC recovery law, indirectly, the conversion to natural refrigerants should be accelerated.” — Yasuhiro Baba, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan.

Yasuhiro Baba, Director, Ministry of the Environment, Government of Japan

The second speaker, Hideyuki Naoi, Deputy Director of F-gas management office, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, is commenting: “HCFC will be abolished completely by 2019 in Japan.”

“In Japan we have the ozone layer protection law which controls F-gas.”

“After 2029 the Freon regulations will become stricter. In order to achieve this target, we have to further promote the development of green refrigerants and the designated products.”

“METI will directly provide a subsidy to the private sector so they will be able to engage more intensively in the development of green refrigerant technology.” — Hideyuki Naoi, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Hideyuki Naoi, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry

Lastly, Marek Zgliczynski, speaking on behalf of the IEC SC61C Subcommittee, is explaining the current status on the expected new IEC limit for flammable refrigerants, which is currently in the final stages of approval.

Also commenting: “Standards without enforcement of authorities is just a standard. It is not mandatory. It is only mandatory until the governments say this is what you have to use for your product development.”

“The contribution of Japanese colleagues is very important as experts in the working group.”

“This final vote [for the IEC standard] will happen probably around April this year because we are completing the editing of the new standard. If positive, we expect to have the standard published in the middle of this year.” — Marek Zgliczynski.

Marek Zgliczynski, on behalf of IEC SC61C Subcommittee


Marc Chasserot, shecco Group CEO and Rena Okabe, Sales & Marketing Coordinator, shecco Japan, welcome the audience of almost 200 delegates to Tokyo’s Shinagawa Conference Centre for the 3rd annual ATMO Japan conference on natural refrigerants.

Marc Chasserot, shecco Group CEO
Rena Okabe, shecco Japan

“This is the first time that we are going to be giving out [Accelerate Japan] awards here in Japan.”

“We have six candidates, six different solutions that we’ve looked at that are in the competition for this award. And it is open, meaning that you can still vote [until 1pm local time].” — Marc Chasserot, shecco Group CEO.

To vote, go to and use #AJAwards19 to participate.

First delegates arriving for ATMOsphere Japan 2019

About ATMO Japan 2019

The 3rd ATMOsphere Japan conference is set to take place in two weeks in beautiful Tokyo, Japan on 12 February.

Right after ATMO, Tokyo will also host the Supermarket Trade Show — Japan’s largest retail exhibition.

The event is set to continue the growing discussion on opportunities for natural refrigerants in Japan, bringing together government representatives, end users, domestic and foreign manufacturers, and other experts, offering great networking opportunities with key industry leaders.

In addition, as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics nears closer, the demand for eco-friendly technology is heating up, adding to the importance of the discussion of natural refrigerant technology in the country.

Key topics of ATMO Japan 2019 include:

  • Reinstatement of subsidies for natural refrigerants in the cold storage, food processing and retail sectors in FY2018
  • Expected changes to HFC regulation and adoption of the Kigali Amendment in 2019
  • Results of risk assessment for A3 refrigerants
  • NEW:The very first Accelerate Japan Awards, recognising thought leaders of commercial and industrial refrigeration that are doing the most with natural refrigerant solutions in Japan. To vote, please click here.

Click here to see the full programme. To register to attend, click here.