The 21st International Congress of Refrigeration


A Successful Venture!

Reinhard Radermacher


Professor and Director, CEEE

Department of Mechanical Engineering

University of Maryland


It had been over 30 years since the International Congress of Refrigeration was held in the United States.  During that intervening time, the energy crisis loomed, refrigerants began to be phased out, and HVAC&R technology changed significantly.  The 21st IIR Congress, held in Washington, DC this past August, gave us an opportunity to work with our colleagues from around the world and share ideas that may shape products for the next thirty years.  With eServing the Needs of Mankindf as its theme, over 750 people from 58 countries attended this important event.

Each morningfs plenary session included a noted speaker.  Nobel Laureate William Phillips of NIST opened the Congress, speaking about breakthroughs in low temperature physics while entertaining the crowd with some fascinating demonstrations.  USDA Undersecretary Elsa Murano spoke of new federal initiatives in food safety.  During these plenary sessions, the audience also heard about the history of refrigerants and how the IIR has served the needs of mankind for almost 100 years.  On the final day, David Herbek from NASA spoke about comfort conditioning for the International Space Station.

The attendees also viewed a five-part video called gServing the Needs of Mankindh.  This video traces the history of refrigeration and air conditioning.  (The congress organizers are currently assessing whether there is widespread  interest in making the video available.)

Approximately 440 papers, by 1031 authors from 46 countries, were presented at the Congress.  Many of them had to do with new technology; e.g. CO2 systems, advanced heat exchange techniques, absorption systems, and the cold chain.  All papers are included on the Congress Proceedings CD ROM, which will be made available for purchase at  In addition, thirteen short courses were held ranging from technician certification to handling cryogenic fluids.

In addition to the variety of Washington tours offered to the delegates and those accompanying them, there was also a wide selection of technical tours, including visits to two ARI membersf facilities, viewing bio-cryogenics at the National Zoo, and visiting the retrofitted cooling system at the National Cathedral.

The social highlight of the week was the IIR Awards Banquet.  ARI President Woody Sutton addressed the banquet. Several IIR awards were presented, including seven to outstanding young researchers in the refrigeration field.  USA researchers captured two of the main awards and two of the young researcher awards.

Many people worked for several years to make the Congress a success.  Your support is especially appreciated.

The Congress was an opportunity for American industry to act as hosts to the world, to highlight American technology and to highlight the International Institute of Refrigeration, while learning from our colleagues abroad.  From all accounts, these objectives were met with flying colors!

IIR Director Francois Billiard presenting his plenary speech on the contibutions of IIR in serving the needs of mankind

Attendees enjoyin a bountiful repast at the Reagan Building reception

Dave Herbek of NASA describing challenges in air conditioning the International Space Station

Congress attendees at one of the many technical sessions

Boarding a bus for a technical tour

Woody Sutton, ARI President presenting remarks at the Congress Banquet