Recently the Bitzer International Refrigeration Seminar (IRS) Symposium took place at the Schaufler Academy in Rottenburg, near Stuttgart, Germany. Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker, former director of the UNO centre for science and technology, gave a lecture about energy efficiency and the use of resources.
At the end of June, over 60 experts in refrigeration and air conditioning from more than 25 countries came to the first Bitzer International Refrigeration Seminar (IRS) Symposium. The event took place from 28 June to 1 July with the agenda including the general situation on the market, digitalization and refrigerants together as well as many more subjects. Right at the start of the IRS symposium, the lecture by Professor Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker was a real highlight. This internationally renowned scientist, current co-president of the Club of Rome and former director of the UNO centre for science and technology, summarised the results of his decades of research with some astonishing examples in his lecture entitled ‘Good technology requires good politics’. ‘We have to make it clear to ourselves how much potential there is in just one kilowatt-hour. Even a quarter provides enough energy to transport ten kilos from sea level up to the summit of Mount Everest. The number of possible uses is enormous – but the efficiency of our use is abysmal.’ According to Professor von Weizsäcker, just 25 per cent of the energy available today is theoretically sufficient to completely meet our needs, if we used it efficiently.
There are technological solutions
He showed the connection to environmental protection and was optimistic, as far as Germany is concerned. He then went into the so-called Kuznets curve for local pollution of our environment. This curve shows that, during industrialisation, the environmental pollution in states initially increases. ‘However, at some point, countries become so rich that they can afford expensive environmental protection, and then they become cleaner. In Germany, we have already passed the pollution peak. Technical progress is almost always driven by politics and society,’ emphasised von Weizsäcker. ‘If, as a society, we really want something, then technology is able to offer solutions incredibly quickly. After all, experts already have very good approaches on the shelf for many problems.’ For example, Bitzer`s service and maintenance network is outstanding. This has the effect of extending the service life of technically outstanding products, while simultaneously increasing the efficiency of the use of resources.
A varied programme
Apart from other interesting lectures, the presentations by Hermann Renz, Technical Programs Manager at Bitzer, and by Philippe Maratuech, Director Services and After-Sales for Bitzer were well received. Hermann Renz spoke about ‘Energy efficiency improvement of RAC systems – a global challenge’ and Philippe Maratuech put the focus onto ‘Digitalization and smart services for efficient solutions’. In their presentation called ‘Bitzer facts and figures – market situation and development’, Erik Bucher, Director Sales Refrigeration, and Mathias Layher, Director Sales AC, Marine and Process at Bitzer, spoke about the company’s global presence as well as about the worldwide trends in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector. Barbara Bergmann, Director of the Schauwerk museum in Sindelfingen, dedicated her talk to cultural questions and then finished up with ‘Contemporary art at Bitzer and Schauwerk’.
Tours through Bitzer’s production and the Schaufler Academy
Between the presentations, the visitors had time to discuss what they had heard and their impressions. The visitors showed a lot of interest in the factory tour around the Bitzer sites at Rottenburg-Ergenzingen and Hailfingen led by Michael Schwarz, Technical Coordinator, as well as in the interactive ‘Tabtivity tour’ led by Volker Stamer, Director Schaufler Academy, through the Bitzer training centre. The Schaufler Academy impressed the guests with its equipment which has won prizes for its energy efficiency. In a QR code quiz, the participants could take a look behind the scenes at ice storage, heat pumps, etc.
This three-day symposium was rounded off by a varied accompanying programme with tours through the Sindelfingen Schauwerk art museum, evening meals together, a guided tour in English through picturesque Tübingen, a barbecue, trips in a punt as well as an outdoor ‘Olympics’ with a Segway tour and an e-obstacle course.
Picture: First Bitzer IRS symposium: 60 participants from more than 25 countries (Image: Bitzer)