Decarbonisation in industrial refrigeration

The energy transition towards a greener future.

Refrigeration is a fundamental element for industry, especially today when the increase in temperatures increasingly involves the need to produce cold constantly and for an increasingly large period during the year.

The greater need to produce cold, both at an industrial and private level, necessarily entails a greater impact from the point of view of emissions.


For this reason, more and more companies are tackling the process of decarbonisation in industrial refrigeration, an innovative approach that reduces CO2 emissions and promotes a more sustainable future.

But let’s take a step back and start by understanding what the decarbonisation process consists of.

Decarbonisation is the process that aims to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the atmosphere. This process can only be achieved by gradually replacing CO2-producing energy sources with cleaner and more renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind or hydroelectric energy.

Scope 1, Scope 2, Scope 3

To achieve these objectives, companies find themselves accounting for their emissions and thanks to the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) Protocol we can divide the emissions generated into three macro-families: Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3.

The emissions defined as “Scope 1” are the direct emissions generated by the company (e.g. fossil fuels used for heating buildings, heating oil), “Scope 2” emissions, on the other hand, are those produced indirectly by the company (e.g. fuels used for the energy purchased).

Finally, the most difficult to report, the emissions defined as “Scope 3”, which concerns all those indirect emissions generated by the company’s value chain (e.g. business travel by employees, extraction and production of materials used by the organization).

Therefore, refrigeration would generally be within “Scope 2” if the organization purchases electricity to power its refrigeration systems, or, where the organization uses greenhouse gas refrigerants (such as fluorocarbons or hydrofluorocarbons) in its refrigeration facilities, there may also be a “Scope 1” emissions component associated with the handling and release of those gases.

On 14 July 2021, the European Commission officially launched the Green Deal, a pact involving all EU member states and which has set itself two main goals.

  • reduce CO2 emissions by 55% by 2030
  • achieve carbon neutrality by 2050

This pact aims to guarantee difficult but desirable goals, such as zero greenhouse gas emissions and economic growth unrelated to the use of energy deriving from fossil sources. The collateral objectives are also important because it will be possible to create new jobs, reduce energy dependence on non-EU countries and increase biodiversity.

With this in mind, the refrigeration sector will also have to adapt its solutions so that they do not contribute to the pollution of the planet. Traditional refrigeration units have been using HFCs as refrigerants for years, which are known for their high GWP (Global Warming Potential). These gases, if released into the atmosphere, contribute significantly to the greenhouse effect and climate change. The industrial and non-industrial refrigeration sector is responsible for a considerable share of greenhouse gas emissions, making it a priority for everyone to produce sustainable solutions with low carbon emissions.

To reduce their impact, more and more companies are adopting innovative solutions that promote decarbonisation. One of the main strategies is to phase out HFCs and replace them with natural or environmentally friendly refrigerants. For example, natural refrigerants such as ammonia (NH3), CO2 and hydrocarbons are virtually zero-impact solutions with very low carbon emissions.


At Zudek, right from the start, we decided to use only natural refrigerants for our systems, specifically we specialized in the use of ammonia.

Ammonia is a natural refrigerant that has a GWP (Global Warming Potential) and ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) equal to zero, while maintaining high energy efficiency. Ammonia has been used for decades in the refrigeration industry, but is now attracting more and more interest as a low-carbon alternative, in fact its thermodynamic properties make it suitable for different applications, combining efficiency and a reduced environmental impact.


The adoption of low-carbon solutions and the use of natural refrigerants has many advantages. Firstly, it allows companies to reduce their CO2 emissions and consequently to be able to actively contribute to the mitigation of climate change, secondly, it allows them to improve their energy efficiency, thus also achieving significant economic savings in the medium-long term.

Decarbonisation in refrigeration represents a fundamental step towards a sustainable and emission-free future. The adoption of low-carbon solutions, such as the use of natural refrigerants such as ammonia, offers a number of significant benefits. Through the collective efforts of businesses, governments and society, we can lead the way for a transition that is green, efficient and eco-friendly, helping to create a better future for us and the planet.

Zudek è un’azienda in continua evoluzione, specializzata nella progettazione e realizzazione di impianti all’avanguardia. Utilizzando la ricerca e l’innovazione, fornisce soluzioni ecologiche e ad alta efficienza energetica.