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E360 Webinar Discusses the EPA’s Final Refrigerant Ruling

What’s Next, and How Will It Affect Your Business?

Dr. Rajan Rajendran, V.P. of System Innovation Center and Sustainability at Emerson Climate Technologies, Inc. recently presented an E360 Webinar that addressed the details of the EPA’s final refrigerant delisting ruling. With more than 500 industry participants in attendance, the 14th Webinar in Emerson’s E360 Webinar series explored the final rule’s short- and long-term impacts on the commercial refrigeration industry. As a nationally recognized expert in refrigerants, Rajan began by demonstrating the global trend toward lower global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants — particularly noting the European Union’s target of phasing down to sub-150 GWP refrigerants in commercial refrigeration applications by 2022.E360 Webinar EPAs Final Refrigerant Ruling

In the U.S., the EPA recently acted under the authority of the Clean Air Act and published its final rule on the delisting of commonly used refrigerants in commercial applications. Rajan compared the EPA’s original delisting proposal with its final rule, noting that even though the final version takes a slightly more moderate stance, it still presents an aggressive phase-down timeline and many inherent challenges.

R-404A, R-507A, R-410A, R-407A/F and HFC-134a are among the most common refrigerants identified for delisting in the final rule; each is addressed individually per specific end use. Retail food refrigeration applications impacted include:

  • Stand-alone refrigerators, walk-in freezers and reach-in coolers (open or with door). These units are fully charged with refrigerant at the factory and typically require only power to begin operation.
  • Remote condensing units consisting of one or two compressors, one condenser and one receiver comprised in a single unit.
  • Supermarket systems, defined as multiplex, centralized, direct or indirect systems that typically require more than two compressors.

Rajan discussed the intricacies of the final rule, including the EPA’s definitions of “new” and “retrofit” applications. He also pointed out an important clause of the rule regarding service of existing systems, as stated in the rule: “… existing systems may continue to be serviced and maintained for the useful life of that equipment using the original refrigerant.”

To help make sense of the rapidly changing refrigerant options, Rajan presented a detailed refrigerant landscape that includes likely alternatives and future, yet-to-be-approved options. Among these alternatives that were also recently EPA-approved under its significant new alternatives policy (SNAP) include:

  • R-448A and R-449A — new medium-pressure blends that may replace many R-404A applications
  • R-450A and R-513A — new lower-pressure blends with similar properties to HFC-134a
  • R-290, R-744 and R-717 (propane, CO2 and ammonia) — natural refrigerant alternatives that have proven effective in specific applications

Adding to the complexity of the refrigerant ruling is the timing of the DOE’s new energy reduction ruling on walk-ins (remote condensing units) and stand-alone equipment applications. As an example, Rajan demonstrated the confluence of DOE and EPA rulings in medium-temperature, stand-alone applications — while the EPA has scheduled R-404A for phase-out in 2019, the DOE’s energy guidelines take effect in 2017. To minimize development costs, Rajan stressed the importance of addressing compliance with both rulings into one design cycle, not separate efforts that would approach each ruling individually.

Rajan opened the floor for an extensive Q&A session at the conclusion of the Webinar, at which time he addressed most of the attendee questions. In one of his final answers, Rajan summarized by saying that the future landscape of refrigeration will likely be made up of multiple refrigerants designed for specific applications. The days of a one-size-fits-all approach to refrigerants are quickly coming to a close.

To view this Webinar in its entirety and hear more of Rajan’s insights on the EPA’s final ruling, please visit our website.

E360 Forum Session Videos: See How We’re Balancing All Facets of HVACR

The refrigeration and A/C industries are experiencing an unprecedented convergence of regulatory forces and market dynamics. This perfect storm is prompting food retailers and foodservice operators to rethink long-held preconceptions, adapt to changing consumer preferences, and prepare to comply with ever-tightening EPA and DOE rulings.

And while energy reduction has always been important, new efficiency minimums for foodservice and cold storage applications are now making it an even more critical objective. Meanwhile, many retailers are more aggressively targeting environmental goals, including the option of moving to a low-GWP refrigerant alternative. The EPA’s ruling on refrigerant delisting has prompted many to accelerate the implementation of these goals.

These energy and environmental objectives are driving the changes OEMs need to build into the next generation of HVACR equipment. But with these new technologies comes a new set of technical challenges and risks. Of course, all of these factors will have economic impacts, both from a first cost and total lifecycle basis. At this pivotal moment in our industry’s history, there are as many questions as there are answers.

That’s why we launched our E360 initiative in 2014: to give a voice to every segment of the HVACR industry and facilitate a dialogue that will shape the future of refrigeration. Comprised of four pillars — energy, environment, equipment and economics — this stewardship program has already made significant impacts through its free programs and educational resources.

To date, we have published three editions of our E360 Outlook publication and hosted three daylong E360 Forum events in the U.S. and Canada. We hope you’ve been able to attend an E360 Forum and had a chance to benefit from these important conversations. But in case you missed it, we’ve posted sessions from our Anaheim event on our website and YouTube channel.

For more information about a specific session, please feel free to download the complete session presentation decks on the E360 section of our website. Make plans now to attend our next E360 Forum, taking place on Thursday, Sept. 3 at The Westin Dallas Fort Worth Airport in Irving, Texas. Register today at EmersonClimate.com/E360-Event-Registration, and be sure to invite all of those on your team who could benefit from these important industry conversations.

iPro’s Nimble Programming Pushes System Functionality to New Limits

It’s one thing to expect reliable equipment performance; it’s another thing entirely to have extended, custom functionality that covers a range of advanced capabilities. Yet, this functionality is exactly what many end users desperately seek on a regular basis from their equipment, whether for refrigerant pressure control, ensuring supermarket energy reduction, or any one of a number of other unique requirements.

Enter iPro, a multifaceted electronics platform.

iPro gives users the ability to add complex functions to their systems — even late in the product development cycle, after the equipment’s core functionality has been fully engineered and tested. The control module can be embedded in a panel with ancillary hardware in coordination with the specific functionality defined by the software application. Combined with a series of leak sensors, for example, the iPro can help retail stores ensure there are no refrigerant leaks in any of their refrigerated zones.

iPro1

Because application engineers store customer requests in a library that developers can access, the possibilities for uses are vast and continue to grow. Just some of the advanced scenarios include:

  • Rack controller
  • Case controller
  • Supermarket energy reduction
  • CO2 high-pressure controller
  • Rooftop compressor and fan controller

This blog is a summary of “iPro Extends Functionality of HVACR Equipment” from the latest edition of Emerson Climate Technologies’ E360 Outlook. Read the story in its entirety and download the digital edition to learn how this technology helped one retail giant monitor refrigerant leaks.

Convenience Store Chain Enhances Environment and Experience With Electronic Improvements

Throughout northeast Georgia, the Golden Pantry convenience store chain is known for its warm Southern hospitality and simple charm. While this charm can often be equated with a lack of technology and even inefficiencies, for the Golden Pantry, this isn’t the case. In fact, part of their well-earned reputation for reliable convenience is due to their focus on reducing energy consumption and improving operational efficiencies.

StrikesGold1

When the chain was presented with the latest electronic store control technology that could simultaneously address both these issues, they were intrigued.

Store management implemented a pilot program to test out the technology, which should have allowed them to manage the energy consumption of HVAC and refrigeration systems. The store optimization team upgraded the HVAC system in a single store with a network of new electronic thermostats that fed into an electronic site supervisory system. This monitored energy consumption and provided managers with operational insights. They also installed electronic thermostats and refrigeration controllers on the store’s four walk-in coolers.

With this new technology in place, management was able to lock out manual changes to thermostats and establish an HVAC temperature setpoint that helped maximize energy efficiencies and eliminate unnecessary strain. The supervisory system also let store managers:

  • Schedule defrost cycles
  • Utilize case temperatures to assist with defrost on/off
  • Create a two-degree temperature setback from midnight to 4 a.m.
  • Set up notifications when walk-in doors are left ajar

While the Golden Pantry’s management team initially hoped to meet a goal of a 36-month payback, they have since revised that time frame to just 18 months after seeing nearly 10 percent energy savings in the first year.

This blog is a summary of “Convenience Store Chain Strikes Gold and Saves Some Green” from the latest edition of Emerson Climate Technologies’ E360 Outlook. Read the story in its entirety and download the digital edition to learn how this technology detected a potentially catastrophic refrigeration system fault at the store just weeks after installation.

CO2 as a Refrigerant — R-744 Advantages/Disadvantages

This is post number seven of a series.

Weighing the Advantages and Disadvantages of R744

Table 1 outlines the advantages and disadvantages of R744 as a refrigerant. The list of disadvantages appears smaller than the advantages list, but these issues should not be overlooked, as they have a significant impact on the safety and reliability of R744 systems.

Table 1: Advantages and disadvantages of R744 as a refrigerant

Table 1: Advantages and disadvantages of R744 as a refrigerant

Future articles in this series will cover additional topics concerning R744 in more detail, including the general aspects of R744 systems; more specific information about the design of R744 cascade, transcritical booster and secondary systems; and key points about their commissioning, operation and service.

Andre Patenaude
Director – CO2 Business Development, Emerson Climate Technologies

Visit our website for additional information on CO2 Solutions from Emerson. 
Excerpt from original document; Commercial CO2 Refrigeration Systems, Guide for Subcritical and Transcritical CO2 Applications.

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