The IIR Rankine 2020 – Advances in Heating, Cooling and Power Generation conference was organized by the Institute of Refrigeration as a 5 day online event running across 27-31st July. It incorporated over 90 speaker presentations, organized in 20 chaired sessions and 14 hosted cross topic debates sessions. The virtual event attracted nearly 200 delegates in total, actively sharing the latest research in refrigerants and system design, and innovation compressors and components. Speakers and delegates discussed the challenges and opportunities of linking the worlds of Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning and Heat Pumps (RACHP) and Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) to address the need for more sustainable heating and cooling.
The conference attracted three world renowned key note speakers: Eckhard Groll of Purdue University on next-generation cooling and heating, Mark McLinden of NIST on r-evolution in refrigerants and Vincent Lemort of University of Liege on trends and future prospects for ORC. Each gave an exceptional overview of their topic – running out of time to answer all of the questions that flooded in from across the globe. The achievements of young researchers were also recognized at the event with a high level of student attendance and the presentation of prizes.
In his closing session, Conference Chair Andy Pearson highlighted some of the challenges the conference identified included the slow adoption of new technologies by end users, the need for greater systems integration thinking and skill shortages experienced in both fields. For the RACHP community of researchers and innovators it was clear that it is environmental concerns that are driving developments. Whilst it is more the rapid development of technology and need to understand the requirements of different refrigerant fluids that present some of the biggest challenges for specialists in ORC.
Inspite of this being a virtual event, delegates from many different countries and time zones were able to connect in many ways and encouraged to exchange ideas with some of the leading experts in their field. The coffee lounge debates became the stage for lively discussion and interactive polling on key issues. A 3-minute-Thesis session gave five researchers the chance to present on-going research to a global audience and get valuable feedback to inspire their next steps.