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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.

ENGIE Refrigeration bets on sustainable refrigerant

LINDAU ON LAKE CONSTANCE, GERMANY, 23 February 2021: ENGIE Refrigeration has added a new refrigerant to its portfolio. R-515B is now available for QUANTUM chillers as an alternative to R-1234ze, it said. R-515B is eco-friendly, non-toxic and non-combustible and, thus, especially safe, it said. With the introduction of the new refrigerant, the company said it is setting a clear example for more sustainability.

R-515B is available for QUANTUM models as an alternative to R-1234ze. Source: ENGIE Refrigeration

ENGIE said it is one of the first manufacturers in the world to use the refrigerant R-515B. It was developed as an alternative to R-134a and can be used instead of R-1234ze in the form of a drop-in refrigerant, it added. “Refrigerant R-515B combines the positive properties of a 77% lower greenhouse potential than R-134a with a classification as safety level A1 according to EN 378-1,” Daniel Keller, Head of Product Management, ENGIE Refrigeration, said. “This means that unlike R-1234ze (A2L), it is considered a non-combustible safety refrigerant.”

R-515B is an azeotropic mixture, 91.9% R-1234ze and 8.9% R-227ea, ENGIE said. With a GWP value of 293 (IPCC-AR4*) and 299 (IPCC-AR5**), R-515B meets the requirements of the F-Gas Regulation – until at least 2030, the company said. Another important advantage for companies operating existing machines run on R-134a is that because R-515B is classified as A1, no additional safety measures need to be taken for the machine room containing the chiller or heat pump, the company said.

From February 2021, the air-cooled, water-cooled and split models of the QUANTUM series are available with R-515B as an alternative to the previous standard refrigerant, R-1234ze, ENGIE said. “With the new refrigerant, R-515B, the chiller achieves almost the same refrigeration capacity and energy efficiency as with R-1234ze,” Keller said. “This means that R-515B is suitable for customers from all industries that require optimal refrigeration capacity and also wish to switch to an eco-friendly and sustainable refrigerant.

‘A gas leak becomes evident only after the system runs out of it’

CORNAREDO, Milan, Italy, 12 February 2021: One of the weak points in a gas detection system, especially in refrigeration applications, is that it is almost impossible to detect a small leakage in the plantroom. Dr Giacomo Frigo, Founder & Managing Director, Sensitron, said this, adding that the management realises the leakage only when there is no more gas in the system.

Dr Frigo pointed out to how hotel chains have started installing fire detectors to be able to assure guests that no accidents will occur in their hotel room. Much in the same way, he said, the right step forward would be to install gas detectors that give out a warning much before an alarm does, to improve the management of a gas detection system.

Hand in hand with installation is the maintenance of the detectors, he said. In Sensitron, for instance, we have adopted the NDIR technology in all our detectors, which he said is a bit more costly than the MOS technology. The additional cost, he added, is worth it, because the alarm value from the detector is much more stable and accurate. As a result, he further added, the period of checking and recalibration of the detector practically is three time longer than that of other systems.

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