Michael Freiherr has been the new Chairman of the Board of eurammon e.V. since November 2020
Michael Freiherr has been the new Chairman of the Board of eurammon e.V. since November 2020. In the following interview, he provides details on the goals and topics he feels will be relevant in the coming years:
What are your goals for eurammon for the next few years?
Together with our international network of experts, we intend to expand the global use of natural refrigerants and thus also focus more attention on the topics of energy and resource efficiency in the future. In particular, we plan to focus on the increased use of social media channels to reach trainees, students and young professionals.
eurammon has established three additional technical committees so far this year. Can you explain the idea and objective behind these committees and what role the eurammon members will be playing?
The work in technical committees is essential for an association like eurammon. The knowledge gathered by our members in the committees is made available to the general public in the form of technical papers and is thus intended to promote the use of natural refrigerants. In addition, the TCs provide a platform for technical exchange between members, which means they are also a source of knowledge enhancement. This is a major benefit that most members greatly appreciate.
The three topics "energy efficiency", "industrial heat pumps" and "secondary loop systems" are essential pillars that will help to achieve the EU’s energy efficiency goals, but also on a global level. For this reason, we as an association are working on these topics at a very early stage and across the entire spectrum of our members.
eurammon works closely with the European Academy for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (ESaK) in Maintal, Germany. How is eurammon contributing to the topic of professionals and training as well as further education?
The task of supporting future generations of refrigeration technicians and engineers is indeed very close to our hearts. It will ultimately be up to them to pave the way for better, more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly refrigeration and air conditioning technology with the knowledge gained during their studies. The annual ESaK Day has therefore become an important fixture in the eurammon calendar, where "old hands" from the industry provide young students with a wealth of knowledge from the world of technology relating to natural refrigerants. Since this format has been so successful and so well received, consideration is currently being given to the idea of organizing similar events with other universities.
What is the importance of the Natural Refrigeration Award 2022 for you and eurammon in this context (ESaK)?
The Natural Refrigeration Award is a special expression of our claim to promote young engineers by rewarding outstanding achievements in the field of natural refrigerants. Next year, we will again look forward to receiving numerous exciting submissions and to awarding the three best among them!
How do you assess the topic of innovation in relation to the topic of natural refrigerants?
Innovation and natural refrigerants have gone hand in hand for more than a century. After all, the first refrigeration systems were designed and implemented with natural refrigerants and have been undergoing refinement ever since. Innovations in the field of refrigeration technology will continue to be necessary in the future in order to bring ambitious energy efficiency targets within reach. In this context, special attention will have to be paid to how natural refrigerants can be used globally in as many applications as possible. This will also require innovations in the area of training to ensure that there are sufficient qualified personnel available for the construction and maintenance of these systems.
What (new) opportunities does a digital symposium offer when participants are unable to just meet face to face? What possibilities do you see in this respect and what do you expect from this year’s event?
In these very busy times, we hope to reach many more interested people with the first digital edition of our "Schaffhausen Event" than would be possible with a physical event. Thus, the program is divided up over several days to ensure participation in the best way possible. There were 19 lectures on a total of 4 topics on 5 days. There was certainly something for everyone in the topics. In addition, we provided (virtual) space for discussions, to make sure that our annual main event keeps its special ambience.
As much as each of us would like to return to being in direct contact with long-time friends from the industry, we must admit that the carbon footprint of online events has also been a positive effect of the pandemic. Nevertheless, I personally look forward to welcoming all our members back in person when the opportunity arises.
What is your vision for eurammon in the next three to five years?
Eurammon already combines the knowledge of the most important players in the market for refrigeration and air conditioning technology with the know-how of young, up-and-coming companies and the special expertise of professors and students. This legacy must be strengthened and further expanded. A key aspect for me will even be to intensify cooperation with universities and researchers in the field of natural refrigerants. Our activities will focus on the support and knowledge transfer to students.
In addition, we are working to strengthen links at a global level in order to gain visibility. The potential and expertise that eurammon members make available is of great interest outside Europe and often meets with an eager audience.
In general, we must continue to encourage the use of natural refrigerants – by enabling knowledge transfer and providing optimal support as an association, but also by joining forces with other associations. Especially for the benefit of our members!