Masthead - Climate Control Journal

Cooling to the Green Deal with natural CO2 refrigerant systems

WELSHPOOL, United Kingdom, 17 August 2021: Invertek Drives showcased its dedicated VFD, Optidrive Coolvert, for use on CO2 refrigeration display cases used in the retail sector. The company added that its Optidrive Eco operates on larger current refrigeration compressor racks and cold rooms.

Invertek make the announcement against the backdrop of the European Commission’s Green Deal, also referred to as Fit for 55, which sets out proposals to cut EU net greenhouse emissions by at least 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. This could mean the current target of reducing fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-Gas) emissions by two-thirds by 2030, compared with 2014 levels, will be adjusted and tightened further.

The EU F-Gas Regulation brought a 44% reduction in the amount of available HFCs in the EU, compared to 2015. By 2030, the current regulation allows only 20% of HFCs being available, with stepped drops between then and now. This could change in the recast.

According to Invertek, the impact of both means there is a need to ramp up the use of natural refrigerants, such as CO2, in cooling and refrigeration systems. And this isn’t just in the EU but throughout the world as part of the existing Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, it said.

Variable frequency drives (VFDs), the company said, are playing an important role in reducing emissions and energy use in HVAC&R systems. Optidrive Coolvert, it said, is one of the smallest VFDs in its class providing OEMs with opportunities to reduce panel space and lower machine costs. It fits directly into refrigeration display cases alongside a CO2 compressor, it added.

This is in addition to end-user savings of up to 25% using CO2 refrigerant condensing systems, which it is specifically designed to work with, the company claimed. A combination of meeting EU F-Gas Regulations and cutting energy use is a significant benefit for the end-user as well as for the environment, it said.

Mike Carman, Head of Sales, Invertek Drives, said: “The recast of the F-Gas Regulation comes as the EU sets out its new and wider environmental ambitions through the Green Deal. It’s widely believed this is the precursor to a significant adjustment in the F-Gas Regulation timeframe.

“With either more cuts in the amount of HFCs available in the EU or increased limits on emissions, it’ll impact on the manufacturers and end-users of refrigeration and wider HVAC/R systems”

According to Invertek, the Optidrive Coolvert also has the widest ambient operating range of between -20 degrees C and +60 degrees C, making it ideal for use in a wide range of environments. It can be used for the control of CO2 ­­­­rotary or scroll, BLDC compressors used in supermarkets and convenience store display cases; heat pumps, and condensing units, the company said. This is in comparison to the Optidrive Eco VFD, which operates on larger-capacity semi-hermetic and screw compressors used in industrial and food retail refrigeration racks, and chillers, the company added.

According to Invertek, Coolvert is compatible with all motor types, including induction motors, permanent magnet motors, brushless DC motors, synchronous reluctance motors and Line Start PM motors ranging between Single Phase (Active PSE) 7A and 20A, and Three-Phase 14A to 24A (input of 200V to 480V).

Its open Modbus RS485 communication, the company said, ensures seamless connection to any external application controller, allowing the OEM freedom to select which components to use, which again helps lower manufacturing costs.

With an IP20-rated front and an IP55-rated rear, its panel mounting allows the drive’s power electronics to be cooled by the chilled air of the condenser, the company said, adding that this allows OEMs to select the smallest panel size for the control of the electronics, while removing heat generated by the drive and maintaining the IP rating.

Epta: ‘Possible to replace HCFC, HFC refrigerants with transcritical CO2 anywhere in the world’

MILAN, Italy, 29 June 2021: Increasingly stringent international regulations are driving a massive transformation in the world of commercial refrigeration – at a European level with the F-gas Regulation and internationally with the Kigali Amendment, commercial refrigeration manufacturer, Epta said through a Press release.

The company said it has already achieved important milestones in the technological development of HFC-free solutions. It added that its Life-C4R (Carbon 4 Retail) Refrigeration project, co-financed by the European Union, confirms the benefits of a natural approach.

Francesco Mastrapasqua, the company’s Institutional Affairs Manager, said: “The three-year Life-C4R – Carbon 4 Retail Refrigeration project was created to sensitise the scientific community, the component suppliers and the retail world’s key players in the use of increasingly efficient solutions. One of the goals is demonstrating how HCFC and HFC refrigerants can be completely replaced with transcritical CO2, anywhere in the world.”

The patented FTE 2.0 Full Transcritical Efficiency and ETE Extreme Temperature Efficiency systems, Epta said, are recognised by the EU as simple and efficient systems and are at the very core of the Life-C4R. “The Life-C4R Plan is essential in validating the FTE and ETE performance in all climatic conditions, in promoting their international diffusion and in certifying both as global and reliable solutions for the future of commercial CO2 refrigeration,” Mastrapasqua said. “The data analysis of the three Italian pilot projects and four replica prototypes in Romania and Spain, installed in collaboration with Epta Iberia and DAAS, will be presented during the Life-C4R Project digital conference, scheduled for July 1.”

The event will be an opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge on the plan’s innovations, lessons learnt and the advantages of the FTE 2.0 and ETE technologies, using the results collected in store by retailers, Epta said, adding that those interested in attending the conference could do so by registering at https://blog.eptarefrigeration.com/en/life-c4r.

FTE 2.0, Epta said, represents the evolution of its patented FTE Full Transcritical Efficiency system. It is recommended at any temperature and is, therefore, a must for obtaining maximum efficiency above 37 degrees C, it said. Simple, efficient, reliable and industrialised, FTE uses flooded evaporators, it said. They allow for the difference between the evaporation temperature and the cabinet’s internal temperature to be significantly reduced and, therefore, for an energy consumption 10% lower than a traditional CO2 system, it claimed.

This is a simple solution, the company said, where it has mechanically added only a multilevel liquid receiver to the standard configuration. On the one hand, FTE reduces the compressors’ discharge temperature, allowing for smooth functioning at high temperatures, it said. On the other hand, it guarantees their perfect lubrication, favouring a longer life cycle of the component itself, it said. FTE also guarantees up to 20% lower installation and maintenance costs, it added. Finally, the FTE 2.0 version, which is integrated into the rack, takes up less space and reduces installation and start-up times, it further added.

The ETE, Epta said, allows for 100% cooling capacity to be reached even in the hottest climates, both in industrial and commercial refrigeration applications. Recommended at temperatures between 30 degrees C and 40 degrees C, it guarantees maximum savings over 40 degrees C, also in combination with FTE, the company claimed. In this case, the transcritical CO2 system is guaranteed to work perfectly at any latitude, even on non-booster systems and in industrial refrigeration, it said. ETE’s “secret” is contained in the refrigerant temperatures’ reduction before its distribution to end users, it said. As it leaves the air exchanger at a value close to the ambient temperature, the gas is further cooled, it said. The system, it added, allows for an almost total disappearance of “flash-gas”, creating significant energy savings over time and smooth functioning even well above 40 degrees C.

AHRI applauds inclusion of HFC reduction language in Omnibus Bill

ARLINGTON, Virginia, 27 December 2020: The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) on December 22 expressed its gratitude to House and Senate negotiators who included language in the just-passed Omnibus bill to bring about a national phasedown of HFC refrigerants. Particular appreciation also is due to Senators John Kennedy (R-La.), Tom Carper (D-Del.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) as well as to Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Pete Olson (R-Tex.), and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) for their tireless efforts to see this bipartisan initiative through to completion, AHRI said.

The language included in the bill would bring about a national phase down of HFCs and allow for a market- and consumer-friendly transition to new and better performing refrigerants and related products and equipment, AHRI said.

“We are gratified that negotiators included this bipartisan, jobs-promoting language in the Omnibus bill, and we are grateful to the Senate and House champions who worked so hard to see it accomplished, and to the House and Senate for passing the bill,” said Stephen Yurek, AHRI President & CEO. “Our industry has been working toward this goal for more than 10 years, and it is very exciting to see our vision of an HFC phasedown reach the home stretch. We are hopeful that President Trump will quickly sign the bill, so we can pivot toward implementation.”

Quoting a 2018 study by Interindustry Forecasting at the University of Maryland (INFORUM), AHRI said an HFC phasedown will create 33,000 new manufacturing jobs, increase direct manufacturing output by USD 12.5 billion, and increase the US share of the global HVACR export market by 25%.

Criminal trade in climate-harming HFC refrigerants flourishes in EU

LONDON, UK, 14 April 2019: A key initiative in Europe’s strategy to fight climate change is being undermined by an escalating criminal trade in climate-harming refrigerant gases.

The European Union revised its F-gas Regulation in 2014 to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of synthetic chemicals hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide and commonly used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, fire protection, aerosols and foams.

But as supplies shrink and prices rise under the EU’s HFC quotas, illegal trade has flourished to meet demand, with non-quota HFCs entering the EU directly from China or via Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Albania.

Key EU entry points and hotspots for illegal trade are thought to be Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Malta.

Releasing the new Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) report, titled Doors Wide Open: Europe’s flourishing illegal trade in hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) today, Climate Campaigns Leader, Clare Perry, warned: “Cutting HFC use is one of the most effective tools to help prevent runaway climate change – but its impact could be significantly undermined by illegal trade.”

The report is the most comprehensive research of its kind into the criminal HFC trade and documents how, as early as 2016 and despite huge stockpiling of HFCs in 2014, reports of illegal HFCs in European markets began to emerge.

EIA campaigners have since seen an escalation in reported illegal HFC trade, with 2018 witnessing a deluge of illegal HFC use and trade throughout the EU.

A detailed analysis of customs data for 2018 suggests as much as 16.3 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent (16.3 MtCO2e) bulk HFCs were illegally placed on the market, equivalent to more than 16% of the quota. A large number of EU countries recorded significantly increased HFC imports in 2018, despite the major HFC supply cut of 37%.

EIA also compared 2017 customs data to figures reported under the F-gas Regulation. The customs data indicates an additional 14.8 MtCO2e of HFCs placed on the European market compared to reported data, equivalent to 8.7% of the 2017 quota. Significant discrepancies also exist between Chinese export figures and Europe’s import data, which could indicate fraudulent import declarations.

Sophie Geoghegan, EIA Climate Campaigner, said: “There are multiple and large discrepancies between reported and customs data. The 2018 customs data suggests HFC use exceeded the quota by more than 16% – that’s greenhouse gases equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions from more than four coal-fired power plants – and we call on the European Commission and Member States to examine this as a matter of urgency.”

In late 2018, EIA conducted two surveys, one to gauge efforts by EU Member States to comply with the F-gas Regulation and the second to get information on the illegal trade directly from key industry stakeholders.

More than 80% of the companies surveyed were aware of or suspected illegal HFC trade, and 72% had seen or been offered refrigerants in illegal disposable cylinders.

Perry added: “The EU’s doors are wide open to large-scale illegal HFC trade, driven by quick profits and low risk of punitive measures and the absence of a system allowing customs officials to determine if an HFC import is actually legal or not. A functioning licensing system is urgently needed, and Member States need to significantly and demonstrably strengthen enforcement.”

Doors Wide Open’s recommendations include:

  • Implementing a fully functional licencing system, which allows customs officials to determine the legality of HFC shipments,
  • Improving reporting and monitoring of HFC trade with exporting countries,
  • Revising the ban on non-refillable cylinders to prohibit the use of all disposable cylinders,
  • Improving transparency of the quota system by publishing names of new entrants and quota values, and
  • Setting up a system to compare reported data under the F-gas Regulation with customs data and looking into discrepancies.
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