Manufacturer Carel has unveiled the ‘new frontier’ for natural refrigerants during its involvement at this week’s 6th ATMOsphere Europe in Brussels.
The hot topic at the annual meeting to discuss the latest technologies involving natural refrigerants has been the use of BLDC compressors in water loop systems, as they radically change the way commercial refrigeration systems are developed.
Diego Malimpensa, business unit manager for retail solutions at Carel, says a water loop system with BLDC compressor has positive benefits for commercial refrigeration applications.
“These are simple systems in which every cabinet has its own self-contained refrigeration unit with on-board variable-speed compressor,” he explains. “The compressor is installed in a box either on top of or underneath the cabinet. The heat of condensation generated by the compressor is not directly released into the surrounding environment, but rather is carried outside by a water loop system to a simple dry cooler.”
Malimpensa insists the biggest advantage for commercial refrigeration is the energy savings associated with the concept.
“Each compressor always operates in the best possible conditions, thus saving up to 25% in energy compared to similar on/off systems. The savings do not only involve energy consumption, however, but are also ensured by simple operation and lower installation and maintenance costs. Installation flexibility is another important benefit, as the system layout can be changed quite easily.
“These systems moreover have a lower refrigerant charge (up to 80% less) and a much lower rate of leakages (up to 96% less), a result of using small units that are built and tested in the factory. Finally, these systems can work perfectly in all types of climate, even with quite high temperatures.”
Following the positive experiences acquired with standard refrigerants (HFCs), Carel is now now studying and testing new possibilities with propane and CO2.
The main benefits of the solution remain unchanged, while the challenges regarding the use of propane mainly involve the handling and operating safety of a flammable refrigerant. With CO2, on the other hand, which is inherently affected by warm climates, the company aims to exploit its experience with tried-and-tested solutions for traditional remote systems.