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[New E360 Webinar] Top Retailer Trends for Refrigeration, Controls and Facility Optimization

Dean Landeche_Blog Dean Landeche | Vice President of Marketing , Cold Chain
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Join us for our next E360 Webinar, “Top Retailer Trends for Refrigeration, Controls and Facility Optimization” on Tuesday, March 6 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST.

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If there’s one certainty in today’s commercial refrigeration market, it’s that change is inevitable. For the past several years, we’ve witnessed a historic evolution — the beginning phases of a transition from legacy refrigeration strategies to those which promise improved energy efficiencies, environmental responsibility and integrated facility management capabilities.

As we move through 2018, there are very few indications that the pace of this evolution is slowing down. We continue to work with our OEM partners to develop viable equipment and system options that address these challenges, while easing concerns about lifecycle cost and maintenance requirements. From an end user perspective, the ever-expanding range of refrigeration options is forcing them to make difficult operational decisions about how their respective organizations will respond to the calls for change.

Our next E360 Webinar will look at some of the leading commercial refrigeration and retail trends in 2018 and what’s driving them. You’ll hear from some of the industry’s experts in alternate refrigeration architectures and distributed controls systems, and take part in an interactive discussion with a refrigeration engineer regarding what he’s actually seeing in the field.

Webinar attendees will learn:

  • Factors in evaluating and selecting refrigerants
  • What’s driving trends in control selections
  • How refrigerant and control selections are impacting system designs and engineering

We believe that staying informed of the latest facility management and refrigeration strategies is the best way to weather the continual change taking place in our industry. Make plans to join us Tuesday, March 6 at 2 p.m. EST / 11 a.m. PST for this informative E360 Webinar.

 

 

Understanding Applications for Alternative Refrigerants

jasonprenger Jason Prenger | Refrigeration Engineering Director

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Emerson’s tests* of leading alternative refrigerants suggest challenges as well as benefits. The full video details theoretical calculations and real-world tests.

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Emerson sees migration to lower-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants as inevitable. Here are some challenges leading A1 alternatives may face, and how to potentially address them.

Heat of Compression

While new HFCs for R-404A offer a lower GWP, alternatives run significantly hotter in both low- and medium-temperature conditions. Compressor cooling will be needed in many low-temperature applications. This is potentially a big deal because some freezer applications can no longer run with non-liquid injected compressors. Full operating envelope capabilities are still possible with liquid injection, but this will likely require additional plumbing and power.

For low-pressure refrigerants, potential replacements for R-134A run at lower discharge temperatures, so there is less of a temperature concern. Our tests* have found the entire operating envelope for R-134A can be achieved with either 450A or 513A.

Capacity and Size

R-404A replacements typically deliver less capacity, especially in low-temperature applications, which will require larger compressors to match existing systems.

During our tests*, traditional HFC refrigerants like R-404A also had little or no temperature glide, so they didn’t affect system sizing. Emerging A1 replacements, however, have glide values of ~5 to ~8 °F. That potentially creates issues when calculating capacity that most of our industry hasn’t had to deal with in the past. Capacity at the midpoint in a medium-temperature system with R-404A, for example, isn’t much different from its dew point compressor rating. But an R-448A system would deliver 3 percent more capacity at the same conditions.

This is even more apparent in low-temperature systems. For example, if you’re sizing an R-448A system off dew point, you might expect capacity loss of 19.4 percent compared to R-404A. In reality, the system sees a drop of about 13.9 percent. While you’ll still have to increase the size of the compressor, using the midpoint can significantly affect your calculations.

In medium-temperature applications, the weighted Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) of newer alternatives is similar to R-404A. In lower-temperature applications, there are trade-offs between efficiency and GWP. R-407A compares well with R-404A, but has a higher GWP than other alternatives. R-448A scores better on GWP, but requires more injection and power.

There’s little or no temperature glide in replacements for R-134A, but of the two main candidates, 513A meets or exceeds the capacity of R-134A, while 450A struggles in comparison.

Update on A2L/A3 Refrigerants

This presentation touched only briefly on A2L refrigerants, since they have yet to be listed as acceptable alternatives under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Significant New Alternatives Policy. However, Emerson continued testing functionality for A2Ls and the A3 R-290 throughout 2017. If you have any questions about these refrigerants, or want any evaluations done, please contact us to learn more about your options.

The full video details theoretical calculations and real-world tests.

*The results presented in this post are based on Emerson testing. Results may vary based on additional testing and application.

 

Blog 2: Regulatory climate leads to inventive uses of natural refrigerants

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, CO2 Business Development

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

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Today, more supermarkets, restaurants and convenience stores are re-evaluating natural refrigerants to comply with environmental regulations and achieve sustainability objectives. As refrigeration technology continues to improve, equipment manufacturers are working closely with these forward-thinking companies to develop innovative solutions. These efforts have resulted in several creative natural refrigerant applications that expand upon their traditional uses in commercial refrigeration.

For example, the idea of using ammonia (NH3 or refrigerant name R-717) in food retail is relatively unheard of — until recently. In 2015, the Piggly Wiggly supermarket company opened a new 36,000-square-foot store in Columbus, Ga., that utilizes an NH3/CO2 cascade system manufactured by Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration. The all-natural refrigerant system uses an ultra-low charge of ammonia (53 pounds) located on the facility’s roof — away from occupied spaces and virtually eliminating any safety concerns. The innovative system earned the retailer the highest certification level (platinum) from the EPA’s GreenChill Partnership, making it only one of 10 supermarkets in the U.S. to receive the award. It’s also the fourth supermarket in the U.S. to use this NH3/CO2 cascade architecture.

In cold storage applications, where ammonia has been the preferred refrigerant for decades, companies are increasingly looking to carbon dioxide (CO2) to proactively lower ammonia charges and avoid regulatory entanglements. So, as older ammonia systems near replacement, many operators are evaluating the best option to expand their facility’s low-temperature capabilities. They’re accomplishing this by adopting NH3/CO2 cascade systems that not only utilize very low charges of ammonia, but also keep the R-717 circuit out of occupied spaces.

Propane is also making comeback, so much so that Target recently announced their intentions to use only propane in their self-contained units. Many other retailers have followed suit, implementing R-290 units as part of their refrigeration portfolios. It’s an indication that the mainstream perceptions about the viability of R-290 are shifting. Its lower charge limits make R-290 a logical fit for Target’s smaller, stand-alone refrigerated display cases and coolers. All of this is part of the retailer’s pledge to become a sustainability leader in the food retail space.

From strictly environmental or performance perspectives, these new natural refrigerant systems are tough to beat. Of course, there are other important considerations when selecting a commercial refrigeration system — such as safety and maintenance requirements — where natural refrigerants pose unique challenges. But these newer systems are proof of how operators are making the decision to go natural and deal with these challenges. Target, for example, gave its contractor network advanced notice to seek the necessary training before deploying its self-contained, R-290 units.

Often, these new systems are also delivering energy-efficiency improvements. And in many self-contained R-290 units being installed across the country, they are also meeting the DOE’s mandate for energy efficiency. So, for true future-proof refrigeration systems, natural refrigerants are currently the best option available to meet both EPA and DOE regulatory requirements.

Read the full Accelerate America article [pg.16].

 

R-290 in U.S. Commercial Foodservice

AllenWicher Allen Wicher | Director, Foodservice Marketing

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

 

Many factors are lining up to help make the case for R-290, from demographics and sustainability to regulations. Watch the full video for more on overcoming common challenges, and to learn how one company, H&K International, successfully made the shift to focusing on R-290-based products.

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Regardless of the EPA’s current or future actions, Emerson sees a significant market dynamic toward sustainability, lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) and higher efficiency — especially in the spaces where     R-290 is acceptable for use.

R-290 is a natural, hydrocarbon-based substance. In addition to its low GWP of 3 and Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) of 0, Emerson’s compressor test labs* found that R-290 yields more than 20 percent better Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER) on average compared to R-404A and other HFCs. R-290 systems have been found by many to be highly reliable. Hydrocarbons can be used in multiple applications such as secondary systems, self-contained cases and condensing units.

The current charge limit for R-290 is only 150 grams, which can limit unit size and potentially create significant challenges for makers of stand-alone, medium-temperature reach-ins. Manufacturers of larger equipment are also understandably reluctant to take on the inefficiencies of supporting multiple refrigerants in their lineups.

Emerson is participating on the AHRI Flammable Refrigerants Research Subcommittee which will be investigating the impact of R-290 refrigerant charge limit increases. Increasing the charge limits could open up more applications in ice, commercial reach-ins, and potentially in some packaged solutions. The Subcommittee intends on submitting the results of its investigation for use in evaluating Codes and Standard revisions for IEC, UL, ASHRAE and others.

Most ultra-low-GWP refrigerants (A2L or A3 with a GWP less than 150) have some level of flammability, which may create some challenges. That said, R-290 systems tend to be reliable when proper protocols and procedures are followed. Integrated cases and packaged walk-in systems can use multiple 150g refrigeration systems in a single appliance. These have low- and medium-temperature applications that help to address today’s EPA and DOE compliance challenges, though DOE test procedures are still in development.

H&K International offers a compelling real-world example of the benefits R-290 offers to commercial foodservice. In the United States alone, the company projects its customers will save more than $769,000 in utility costs over the next three years, with additional savings each year R-290 equipment is in operation.

Watch the full video for more on overcoming common challenges, and to learn how one company, H&K International, successfully made the shift to focusing on R-290-based products.

* The results presented in this post are based on Emerson’s testing. Results may vary based on additional testing and application.

[Webinar Recap] Global HFC Phase-down, FSMA and Smart Buildings

RajanRajendran2 Rajan Rajendran | V.P., System Innovation Center and Sustainability

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

 

Note: This webinar was presented prior to the January 26, 2018 court rulings on SNAP 20 and 21.

View our most recent E360 Webinar, “Regulations 2018: What’s Set, Pending and Proposed.”

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In our most recent E360 Webinar, I had the opportunity to present, alongside two of my Emerson colleagues, a discussion about what’s predicted on the 2018 regulatory horizon. As we enter the new year, the global HFC refrigerant phase-down continues in varying degrees in different regions around the globe. Here’s a summary of the current activity:

United States — Kigali amendment and the EPA

  • Although the U.S. has not yet ratified the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the U.S. State Department issued a statement on Nov. 23 in Montreal that it had “initiated steps to ratify” the amendment.
  • Also in 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit vacated Rule 20 and sent it back to the EPA for revision, stating in its ruling that the EPA had exceeded its authority under the Clean Air Act, Section 612 to require replacements of HFCs. Petitions for a rehearing were filed by several third parties, including leading refrigerant manufacturers and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
  • Per EPA Rule 20, R-404A and R-507A are de-listed in new remote condensing units as of January 1, 2018.

Europe — F-Gas phase down

The year 2018 marks a significant drop in the F-Gas (i.e., HFCs) phase-down quota, from the previous 93% of the original baseline to 63%, where it currently resides. As a result, we are seeing an increase in HFC prices in Europe.

Canada — Kigali amendment and HFC ruling

Canada has ratified the guidelines set forth by the Kigali amendment. It has also issued a final HFC ruling that establishes a progressive phase-down schedule.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) — HFC phase-down effort

California has not only signaled its intent to adopt EPA Rules 20 and 21, its CARB initiative calls for even greater phase-down measures, making the target for future phase-downs as low as 150 GWP in certain applications.

Next, Amy Childress, vice president — marketing & planning, cargo solutions, and John Wallace, director of innovation, spoke on the topics of Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and smart buildings.

FSMA — food safety and temperature management impacts

One of the ways food retailers can help prevent food-borne illnesses and comply with FSMA’s record-keeping requirements is by using automated temperature monitoring systems. These systems are easy to implement and provide proactive alerts to help prevent conditions that threaten food safety.

Smart buildings and the smart grid

While the concept of smart buildings with advanced building management and control system technologies is not new, the idea of equipping them with the tools that allow them to transact with services which are outside the building is. This ability to transact in real time when devices are connected can bring benefits not only to local electric utilities (which operate the grid) but also to building owners. There is increasing congressional interest in the potential benefits of smart buildings and their ability to not only respond to internal facility conditions but also consider outside factors such as real-time utility pricing.

To learn more about these topics, view this webinar in its entirety.

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