Star Refrigeration co-founder, Dr Forbes Pearson, dies at 92

Date: 19 March 2024
Star Refrigeration co-founder, Dr Forbes Pearson, dies at 92
Star Refrigeration co-founder, Dr Forbes Pearson, dies at 92
In 1970, Forbes Pearson co-founded Star Refrigeration following the closure of the industrial division at L Sterne and Co.

Star Refrigeration quickly gained a reputation for innovative but robust and reliable engineering, mainly founded on the technical developments led by Forbes in his role as Technical Director.  The range of his novel ideas matched the breadth of his scientific interests and included new system configurations such as the low pressure receiver, new control methods, new components including ball valves, tube ice makers, evaporative condensers, electronic logic controllers, high efficiency water chillers and novel freezing techniques.

In the late 1980s the phaseout of CFCs under the Montreal Protocol prompted him to combine his knowledge of organic chemistry with his understanding of how compressors worked to create a range of refrigerant fluids suited to the rigours of extreme temperature operation.  The intention was to provide Star with suitable fluids to replace the R-12 and R-502 that they had been using for industrial systems since 1970 but his new refrigerants were much more widely used in commercial refrigeration and so were licenced to major suppliers and were marketed all over the world. 

He was one of the first people in the world to recognise the possibilities of blending organic chemicals to create a refrigerant fluid mixture with particularly favourable properties for unusual or extreme operating conditions.  This pioneering work led to the award by the International Institute of Refrigeration of their Gustav Lorentzen medal in 2003, only the second time that this international accolade, “the Nobel prize for Refrigeration”, was presented. 

Forbes Pearson significantly contributed to the development of environmentally friendly refrigerants and designed innovative refrigeration systems using traditional substances like ammonia and CO2. He was recognized for his contributions with over 100 patents and multiple awards from prestigious institutions, reflecting his dedication to advancing refrigeration technology and safety standards on a global scale.

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