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.

Ziehl-Abegg invests €36 mn in expanding its facilities

KÜNZELSAU, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany, 4 August 2021: “The world’s markets will continue to need high-quality electric motors and fans in the future,” said Peter Fenkl, CEO, Ziehl-Abegg, explaining why the company invested €16 million euros in the expansion of its production buildings at the Kupferzell site in the middle of the pandemic. This, he added, will be followed by a further €20 million for machinery. Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Minister of Economic Affairs, Baden-Württemberg, added: “With the new building, the company is further expanding its high degree of vertical manufacture and the resilience of the supply chains here at the site, whilst also securing valuable jobs both within and beyond the region.”

Peter Fenkl shows Dr Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut how fans for data centres and hospitals are assembled

Fenkl described how, in the early summer of 2020, many economic decision-makers were in shock due to the pandemic. “No-one knew what was coming next – and that’s when we started our current construction project,” he recalled. “The year 2020 resembled a rollercoaster ride – rapidly alternating between border closures, interruptions to material supplies, falling sales and rising orders. Thanks to the commitment of each and every one of the employees, the company still succeeded in posting an increase in sales at the end of the year – followed by an order intake that exceeded all previous records.”

Referring to the new building, he said, “So we’re now glad that we’ve already created more space for rapid growth.” New machines and systems that had already been ordered in spring 2020, will be arriving on a weekly basis, he said, adding that the building is also intended to create an additional 180 jobs.

The new building will result in an additional 8,700 square metres for manufacturing state-of-the-art generation of energy-efficient electric motors, the company said. “The durable and efficient electric motor has been our core area of expertise for more than 100 years,” Fenkl said, adding that the company is a technology leader in the design of fans based on the concept of biomimetics. “However, since many geometries offering perfect aerodynamics cannot be implemented in steel or aluminum, we are expanding the area of composite materials,” he said. “It is essential for us to have more space for additional injection-moulding machines for composite materials.”

Ziehl-Abegg, he said, is expanding its production facilities worldwide or optimising existing plants – in Schöntal-Bieringen, where the aluminium casting operation is based, and in America and Asia. “Corona,” he said, “has shown that we have to consider very carefully how we can design our production facilities in a way that enables us to satisfy the needs of the market to optimum effect.”

AMCA introduces tools to aid transition to Fan Energy Index

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Illinois, 2 August 2021: AMCA International introduced tools to aid transition to the Fan Energy Index. The body did so against the backdrop of recent developments related to energy efficiency in the United States.

On July 28, the US Department of Energy (DOE) issued determinations that the 2019 edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1, Energy Standard for Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings, and the 2021 edition of the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) “will achieve greater energy efficiency in buildings subject to the code” and “will improve energy efficiency in residential buildings,” respectively. Upon publication of these affirmative determinations, the DOE said, states in the country must review and certify their building codes relative to ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC.

As states begin to examine and update their energy codes, some are adopting an earlier edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 (2016 or 2013) or the IECC (2018 or 2015), AMCA said. In so doing, they are prolonging the use of fan efficiency grade (FEG) as the metric for efficiency provisions for commercial and industrial fans and blowers, AMCA said. FEG, which the DOE concluded in an as-yet-unfinished rulemaking is not an appropriate metric for a federal appliance/equipment regulation, was replaced by Fan Energy Index (FEI) for ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC, AMCA said, adding that it advises states adopting earlier editions of ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1 and the IECC to “leapfrog” the outdated FEG metric to take advantage of the energy-saving, compliance-easing FEI.

For example, Florida, which on December 31 became the first state to adopt FEI when the seventh (2020) edition of Florida Building Code: Energy Conservation was published, adopted the 2018 IECC, but the 2021 IECC fan-efficiency provision, AMCA pointed out.

“Florida has set the example of how to leapfrog model-energy-code provisions to avoid prolonging the use of an outdated metric,” Aaron Gunzner, Senior Manager, Advocacy, AMCA International, said. “To help other states achieve the goal of phasing in the new FEI metric, AMCA International has, with permission from ASHRAE and the International Code Council, developed templates with exact strike-out/underline language.”

Additionally, to describe the rationale for and the benefits of changing metrics, AMCA said it recently updated its Advocacy Brief: New Fan Energy Index (FEI) Metric and Scope for Energy Codes, a document for code officials and others considering proposals to transition from FEG to FEI.

Formalized in ANSI/AMCA Standard 208-18, Calculation of the Fan Energy Index, FEI considers the effects of motors and drives, not just fans, and aids the right-sizing of fan systems for the conditions they will operate in, AMCA said. In addition to ANSI/ASHRAE/IES 90.1-2019 and the 2021 IECC, it added, FEI has replaced FEG in:

  • 2021 International Green Construction Code (IgCC)
  • ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/USGBC/IES 189.1-2020, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings

AMCA recommended visiting www.amca.org/FEI, to download the templates and to view Advocacy Brief: New Fan Energy Index (FEI) Metric and Scope for Energy Codes. The microsite, AMCA said, additionally includes links to related codes and standards, technical articles and white papers, webinar recordings, and presentations.

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