No stranger to tackling the impossible, with his ability to challenge traditional concepts and totally reinvent them, Ron Conry has been finding solutions and fixing problems in the air conditioning industry since the 1960’s resulting in enormous leaps forward in environmental sustainability and CO2 emission reductions.
Since its inception in the 1920’s air conditioning and refrigeration has been improving our quality of life. From prolonging the life of our food, boosting manufacturing capabilities, improving medical practices, enabling technological advancements, regulating temperatures to providing greater comfort in our indoor environments, our world had become very dependent on this, often underappreciated invention. While the benefits of air conditioning and refrigeration are enormous, and they dramatically improve our daily lives, they do not come without a significant cost to the environment. It is estimated that twenty percent of global power consumption is attributed to air conditioning resulting in billions of ton of CO2 emissions globally each year.
For over 100 years, air conditioning technology remained relatively unchanged – large, noisy, maintenance-heavy, power hungry machines churned away, cooling our environment. Due to the increase in comfort and benefits they provided, no one bothered to question “Is there a better way?” until Ron Conry, a refrigeration technician by trade who was not afraid of a challenge, having built a career around dealing with all the issues associated with traditional technology decided to tackle the issues.
Ron started the design process by literally taking a blank sheet of paper and jotting down all of the issues that plagued all the machines he had ever worked on throughout his career, which he then set about solving these with his new compressor. Having been in the industry for over 25 years, Ron was acutely aware that the Achilles heel of the industry was the compressors need for lubrication and eliminating oil became top of that list. Also on his list were efficiency, refrigerant type (for environmental sustainability), size, noise, vibration, weight, and cost but the biggest challenge was going to be the oil.
Drawing from inspiration he had seen in a turbo charger in 1984, Ron decided this new compressor, now known as the Turbocor compressor, would need to be a small micro turbine machine. Having spent most of 1993 researching, he knew that the technology he would need did not yet exist but recognised the bones for what he envisaged he would require were starting to emerge with electronics and other industries making advances. With the hopes that the other industries would catch up and be ready with the technology he had planned, in 1994 Ron gathered a team to turn his revolutionary concept into reality.
Thus began what would be one of the biggest undertakings of his career, a development process that took about 7 years, in which he invented more than a dozen new technologies to solve various problems. He was told many times by many world experts, and by their text books, that what he was doing was impossible, but fortunately his incredible problem solving skills, belief in himself and grit and determination eventually paid off and the oil-free, magnetic bearing Turbocor compressor was born. This compressor Ron developed was the first significant leap forward in the industry which is so heavily relied on in over 100 years and would set the new benchmark for efficiency that has revolutionised the HVAC industry globally.
Over the past 20 years Ron’s compressor technology has become the dominant in the HVAC market, driving building efficiencies to unprecedented levels and saving approximately a gigaton, or a billion tons of CO2 emissions. You will find it installed not only in most large buildings throughout Australia but all over the world, with well over 100,000 of these compressors now operating globally.
This project is just one of many successful, problem solving, revolutionary inventions Ron has breathed to life. However, despite Ron’s enormous contributions to making the world more sustainable, for which Ron has received this Member of the Order of Australia recognition, he is not resting on his laurels, and you will find Ron today still pursuing further advances in this field.
In the past Ron has simply focused on one component of the air conditioning system at a time. However, in his latest venture, Conry Tech, he is reinventing air-conditioning from the ground up and has once again filled a “blank piece of paper”. Ron believes that his new approach will save another gigaton (a billion tons) of CO2 emissions and he is in the process of raising funding to bring his latest technology to market.
It is a great honour for Ron to receive this member of the order of Australia award in recognition of his great contribution to humanity and the environment but he would like to assure you that he is not done yet, and believes his greatest contributions are still to come.