Advancing Technology at International Congress of Refrigeration 2023

Date: 24 August 2023

We present an exclusive interview with Didier Coulomb, General Director of International Institute of Refrigeration,  at the International Congress of Refrigeration 2023 in Paris.

See pictures from the event.

Didier Coulomb

Refrigeration industry: Could you tell our readers briefly why and who founded the First International Congress of Refrigeration?

Didier Coulomb: Well, more than a century ago, in 1908, an international congress was organized in Paris by the French government. This event aimed to foster international cooperation in the field of refrigeration. At that time, significant advancements were being made in scientific and technical aspects, such as liquefying gases and improving food preservation through refrigeration.

The congress saw participation from various countries, including Russia, the USA, Australia, Brazil, and European nations. As a result of this congress, national associations were formed, leading to the creation of the International Association of Refrigeration. Following World War I, this association transformed into the International Institute of Refrigeration, which remains active to this day. 

One of its primary tasks was organizing congresses and conferences, along with publishing scientific and technical articles. These missions continue to guide the institute's activities, albeit with evolving methods.

RI: Could you share what sets apart this congress in Paris from previous ones?

Didier Coulomb: Certainly. The Paris congress has a unique focus on efficient, controlled, and smart refrigeration. The significance lies in the evolving technologies and the changing landscape of refrigerants. For instance, due to climate change concerns, there's a push to reduce the global warming potential of refrigerants. 

This congress delves into the challenges posed by these new refrigerants and the advancements in related technologies. Another critical topic is energy consumption, as the growing use of equipment, especially air conditioning, contributes significantly to electricity consumption. 

This congress emphasizes improving energy efficiency and establishing better cold chains, particularly in developing regions. Moreover, as the demand for refrigeration in various sectors, including healthcare, increases, the congress focuses on enhancing systems for preserving food and health products. Lastly, the congress explores the growing use of heat pumps as an alternative to fossil fuel-based boilers, driven by their potential impact on climate change.

RI: Could you explain the goals of the congress with the theme "Efficient, Controlled, and Smart Refrigeration"?

Didier Coulomb: Certainly. The congress theme encompasses three main aspects: efficiency, control, and smart technology. Efficiency is crucial due to the rising energy consumption associated with refrigeration and air conditioning. Advancements are being pursued to make systems more energy-efficient, especially given the increasing global demand for these technologies. 

Control refers to optimizing the use of equipment through strategies like the Internet of Things (IoT). This allows for better management of energy usage, reducing the ecological impact. Smart technology is pivotal in adapting to climate change challenges, as it aids in monitoring and optimizing energy consumption and environmental impact. These aspects combined create a roadmap for the future of refrigeration technology.

RI: Thank you for sharing your insights!

See pictures from the event.

Read the interview with Gérald Cavalier, the 2023 ICR President

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