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Former Star Refrigeration apprentice receives Kenneth Lightfoot Medal

The Kenneth Lightfoot Medal, an annual prize awarded by the Institute of Refrigeration for the best research paper of the past 12 months, has been presented to Star Refrigeration’s Oxford branch service manager – and former apprentice – Chris Druce.

Mr Druce’s paper, entitled The Impact of Refrigerant Charge on the Capacity and Efficiency of a System Containing Low GWP Refrigerants, impressed the IOR membership and he was awarded an engraved medal and a £500 cash prize donated by Lightfoot Defence.

Mr Druce first joined Star as an industrial refrigeration apprentice over a decade ago, and has progressed rapidly through his career trajectory. He also picked up the IOR’s Ted Perry award for his student research while completing his degree with Star.

The award was presented at the IOR Annual Dinner on 22 February, and Mr Druce also led a networking event to encourage engineers to share ideas and get more involved in the industry.

IOR president Kevin Glass presented Mr Druce with the award and remarked: “This paper explores a topic that is very current, the importance of correct refrigerant charge and the results are relevant to a huge number of refrigeration systems. Chris provided an interesting and balanced investigation into system life cycle operation and environmental impact.”

The research topics of Star’s engineers are often centred on efficiency and sustainability, in particular the use of low GWP refrigerants. In his paper, Mr Druce notes that the acr industry costs the UK an estimated £2,500 million annually in energy bills, with cooling systems estimated to lose 20 percent of refrigerant charge each year. This has a direct impact on energy consumption, carbon emissions and service costs. The paper investigates the operational cost of refrigerant charge, comparing different refrigerants and associated carbon emissions.

This is not the first time the Kenneth Lightfoot Medal has been awarded to a Star Refrigeration employee. The award winners of the past four years – Dr Rob Lamb, Dr Andy Pearson and Maurice Young, and John Clark and Angus Gillies – all work for Star.

Dr Lamb, who is group sales and marketing director, said: “Chris has worked his way up from apprentice to refrigeration engineer to manager, and now has industry wide recognition – this is a success story for all apprentices to aspire to.”

Star is proud to be a company which promotes progression, with 23 percent of its current management team starting their engineering careers as an apprentice. The firm’s four-year apprenticeship is one of the most comprehensive offered by the engineering sector, with 99 percent of Star apprentices offered a permanent position on completing their training.


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