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Protecting Vaccine Efficacy Throughout the Cold Chain

Chris Ashbaugh | Head of Healthcare

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

As has been widely publicized, COVID-19 vaccines come with more than a few challenges in terms of storage and distribution. When the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine became available, it was required to be stored at ultra-low temperatures between -80 to -60 °C (-112 to -76 °F). More recently, this ultra-cold storage requirement was removed from the Pfizer vaccine, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its storage and transportation at standard freezer temperatures for up to two weeks. The Moderna vaccine requires a frozen cold chain but can be refrigerated for up to 30 days before use. The Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, meanwhile, must be refrigerated but never frozen, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

To further complicate an already high-stakes process, cold chain integrity must be maintained throughout multiple hand-offs among stakeholders, including suppliers, distributors and healthcare organizations. In the process, distributors and healthcare providers need to meet varying — but nonetheless strict — temperature requirements to move and store these vaccines. Any temperature excursions, even for a short period of time, can reduce or destroy a vaccine’s potency and/or safety.

Investing in the equipment required to safeguard vaccines would be a risky bet if it were left to untested technology. The good news is the technology supporting the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is not unproven. In fact, Emerson has decades of experience providing the end-to-end temperature reliability that manufacturers, distributors and healthcare providers rely on to help protect vaccine efficacy.

Ensuring reliability in refrigeration system performance

All vaccines must be stored at precise temperature ranges. For this reason, refrigeration system reliability is essential to cold chain management. This is as true for the cold storage freezers at manufacturing sites as it is for the vaccine storage units at the points of vaccination and the refrigerated containers and reefer trucks used to transport vials. If any one of these cold storage units failed, hundreds to thousands of doses could potentially be wiped out.

Emerson’s highly reliable, energy-efficient Copeland™ compression solutions are designed to maintain more accurate setpoints and tighter control over temperatures. Our compression solutions deliver faster pull-downs to setpoint temperatures and maintain precise temperature control to provide greater energy efficiency without sacrificing system dependability. They also produce less wear and tear on system components, improving overall refrigeration system performance and lifespan.

Safeguarding efficacy through monitoring technologies

Monitoring solutions and internet of things (IoT) capabilities are proving foundational to maintaining temperature certainty.

At an enterprise level, Emerson offers technology platforms that provide nearly real-time visibility into refrigeration performance and help to protect the safety and efficacy of critical medicines. Long before the current public health crisis, our TempTrak® probes and enterprise monitoring solution have helped leading healthcare providers to achieve their patient safety and product integrity goals. In addition, Emerson’s ProAct™ Connect+ enterprise management software enables operators to monitor equipment performance and rapidly respond to equipment issues. Our Lumity™ E3 supervisory control and facility management system send alerts and notifications to provide continuous refrigeration monitoring that is essential to protecting vaccine efficacy.

For a more portable solution, we recently launched our Lumity wireless data logger to enable temperature monitoring of vaccine storage containers in accordance with the CDC’s requirements. This powerful, yet economical solution has a built-in information technology (IT) infrastructure to simplify deployment, including:

  • No Wi-Fi required for connectivity
  • No additional hardware or cloud software required for data storage and retrieval
  • Able to operate as a stand-alone solution or integrate with TempTrak software

To help ensure maximum temperature accuracy, the Lumity wireless data logger is available with different probes depending on the application, a standard temperature probe as well as a buffered ultra-low temperature (cryogenic) probe with or without a buffer sleeve. All told, it’s a quick and simple way to help healthcare providers of all sizes bring vaccine management into compliance.

Become a “Cooling Champion” for World Refrigeration Day 2021

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

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

Emerson is pleased to announce our sponsorship of the third annual World Refrigeration Day (WRD), which is celebrated globally today, June 26. The theme of this year’s WRD event, Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World, coincides with Emerson’s commitment to raise awareness of the expanding career opportunities throughout the heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) industry. For our part, we will commemorate WRD by promoting the importance of education and recruitment of HVACR technicians via an E360 Webinar, as well as on our social channels and website.

As the world’s only international event designed to increase visibility and raise awareness of the significant roles that refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACP) technologies play in modern life and society, WRD has become a special day here at Emerson. This year’s focus on career opportunities aligns with a key initiative that we have been championing for more than a decade: the growing shortage of skilled, qualified and certified HVACR technicians.

According to recent industry statistics, 80,000 HVACR technician jobs are currently unfilled — representing 39% of the total industry workforce of 260,000 professionals. At the same time, the industry is losing an estimated 20,000 technician jobs per year due to the retirement of an aging workforce or basic career attrition rates. If we continue along this pace, our industry could potentially face a deficit of 100,000 technicians within the next five years.

Solving this problem is an industry-wide obligation that will require the participation of all stakeholders — from contracting companies, manufacturers, end users, wholesalers and trade associations to educators, adjacent industries and government agencies. Addressing this challenge and proposing potential solutions will be the collective focus of our WRD-themed E360 Webinar on Wednesday, July 7 at 9 a.m. EDT (6 a.m. PDT) titled, Exploring Cool Careers and Emerging Opportunities in HVACR. This webinar will assemble a global panel of experts to discuss recruitment strategies and highlight the many positive aspects of an HVACR technician career, including:

  • Leveraging advanced technologies and modern tools
  • Equipping technicians with skills that enable a high earning potential
  • Co-op and apprenticeship opportunities to learn the trade while also earning a paycheck
  • Learning skills that support our infrastructure and make the world a better place
  • Inspiring passion in HVACR professions

Today, Emerson’s social media channels will feature a series of videos and related content from many of our global regions. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube to see information highlighting:

  • The importance of recruiting the next generation of HVACR technicians
  • Key individuals and success stories in the field
  • The value of this evergreen, in-demand career path

For Emerson, becoming a “cooling champion” for World Refrigeration Day is all part of our commitment to helping the industry address the growing HVACR technician shortage and ensure a more sustainable future for our planet. To learn more about these efforts, please register for our upcoming E360 Webinar and read our latest E360 Article.

For more information on World Refrigeration Day, visit www.worldrefrigerationday.org.

 

[New E360 Webinar] Attract the Next Generation of HVACR Technicians

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

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

Every year on June 26, Emerson pauses to recognize World Refrigeration Day (WRD) and celebrate the people and technologies responsible for creating and maintaining temperature-controlled environments. To commemorate this year’s WRD, we will be hosting an E360 Webinar on Wednesday, July 7 at 9 a.m. EDT/6 a.m. PDT that will focus on the importance of attracting and recruiting the next generation of HVACR service technicians. Our E360 Webinar will build off the theme of WRD 2021, Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World, by exploring the emerging career opportunities available in the HVACR technician profession.

For more than a decade, the commercial refrigeration industry has faced a growing challenge finding qualified service technicians to service and maintain an increasingly complex variety of refrigeration architectures. As the previous generation of technicians retire and fewer candidates enter the field, our industry faces an urgent need for a new generation of skilled technicians. Emerson has long been a champion of bridging this career gap by highlighting the abundance of opportunities for young people seeking a viable long-term career path outside of a four-year college education.

This E360 Webinar is part of our continued commitment to solving this industry-wide dilemma. We will begin by discussing related industry trends and highlight the many positive aspects of an HVACR technician career, including:

  • Leveraging advanced technologies and modern tools
  • Equipping technicians with skills that allow them to immediately earn a competitive wage
  • Providing co-op opportunities that allow technicians to earn a paycheck while learning their trade
  • Earning more money than people with higher levels of education
  • Learning skills that contribute to making the world a better place
  • Inspiring passion in HVACR professions
  • Educating, recruiting and retaining technicians

After exploring current trends and opportunities, the webinar will feature a roundtable discussion with global Emerson stakeholders about strategies for recruiting the next generation of HVACR technicians. Panelists will include:

  • Joe Healy, director, application engineering (technical support) — Asia and MEA
  • Trevor Matthews, HVACR training & development specialist (marketing/business dev) — Canada
  • Alonso Amor, director of engineering services (technical support); Carlos Obella, VP, engineering services and product management (technical support) — Latin America
  • Don Gillis, technical training specialist (education/training); Becky Hoelscher, director, aftermarket sales (outside sales); Jennifer Butsch, director, regulatory affairs (marketing/business dev); Nicholas Didier, mechanical technician (R&D/engineering) — U.S.

As a recent vocational school graduate and participant in Emerson’s pre-apprenticeship program at The Helix Innovation Center, Nicholas Didier will close out the webinar by discussing his unique vocational and career path, including his recent distinction as a “20 under 20” award winner.

To celebrate WRD with Emerson and learn about how we’re helping to recruit the next generation of HVACR technicians, register for this important webinar.

 

 

 

European Retailer Selects A2L as the Basis of Its Refrigerant Transition

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

Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

As the transition from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP) continues in the U.S., commercial refrigeration stakeholders are actively pursuing emerging low-GWP alternatives. Among these include a variety of synthetic and natural options, from A1s with a familiar footprint to mildly flammable A2Ls to the naturals A3 (R-290) and CO2 — all of which can meet very-low GWP thresholds but have varying characteristics which dictate system design architectures. In our most recent E360 Webinar, a leading European retailer provided details about how they chose an A2L refrigerant as the basis for their organization’s refrigerant transition.

Although A2L safety standards have yet to be finalized in the U.S., the case study presented by Brian Churchyard, senior manager of engineering and energy of UK-based ASDA stores, provided a useful framework for how U.S. retailers could follow a similar path to regulatory compliance and sustainable refrigeration. He detailed ASDA’s journey toward lower-GWP refrigeration, which ultimately concluded in the selection of A2L refrigerant R-454A with a GWP of 238.

Creating a new refrigeration design standard

Churchyard explained how ASDA formed a collective working group comprised of numerous agencies, private businesses and industry experts to conduct a detailed assessment of A2Ls. The group developed a design standard for the safe application of their chosen refrigerant, which was based on existing data from the use of R-290 (even though A2L flammability levels were well below those of R-290).

After comparing the performance of A2L refrigerants to other alternatives through numerous trials, the ASDA team concluded that their new design standard achieved their objectives of lowering capital investment, energy consumption, lifecycle costs and carbon emissions. It’s important to note that while R-454A does not have the lowest GWP of the available A2L alternatives, it offered performance improvements that helped to meet these sustainability goals while adhering to the EU’s F-Gas regulatory requirements.

Moving to an A2L also required a reduction in refrigerant charge, which dictated that ASDA would also need to transition from large, centralized rack systems to smaller distributed remote systems. Churchyard said that other benefits of a decentralized approach included limiting the potential for leaks while eliminating risk by having a single point of failure.

Focus on safety and leak mitigation

Of course, safety is a primary concern when using a flammable or mildly flammable refrigerant, and minimizing leaks was an essential part of ASDA’s design strategy. Churchyard stressed that leak prevention was a top priority in all their refrigeration system trials — whether it was an A1 HFC, CO2, hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) or A3 refrigerant. Preventing leaks not only minimizes the potential for emissions, but also ensures that the system is operating at full capacity and efficiency.

Churchyard said that in the event of a leak, display cases are equipped with a modular alarm system integrated into the case controller. If leakage is detected within a case, the system will activate an alarm that effectively triggers a shut-off valve that stops refrigerant flow to a particular display case. In addition, leakage thresholds are set at such a low level as to prevent the potential for A2L ignition. Quality inherent among system joints, connections and proper installation was a major collective focus of the new design standard, which included remote distributed refrigeration plants and their associated display cases.

Churchyard said case upgrades were often the first part of their refrigerant transition strategy. When store operators identified existing HFC cases that needed to be replaced, the first step was to upgrade to cases that were compatible for A2L use — even though they were still using an A1. Then, when the distributed A2L refrigeration plants were installed, these stores could safely transition over to the use of the R-454A A2L refrigerant.

ASDA has been leveraging this strategy since 2019, when it was recognized as the first retailer to adopt an all-A2L refrigerant strategy. To learn more details about ASDA’s successful refrigerant transition, please view this webinar.

Help Reduce Energy Costs by Recovering Heat From Industrial Refrigeration Systems

Mike Nielsen | Global Application Team Leader, Vilter

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solution’s Business

Heat recovery from industrial refrigeration can be an effective way for facilities to help reduce power consumption and energy costs.

Depending on a system’s setup, the heat produced from a basic screw compressor refrigeration system can be used elsewhere. How it’s recovered and redirected depends on the industry and/or application. Among the most common heat recovery applications is to heat water for purposes unrelated to refrigeration such as wash-down and cleanup in a cold storage processing facility.

Not only can compressor heat recovery help to reduce the amount of energy used to heat water elsewhere in a facility, but it also can contribute to reduced water usage when a system doesn’t have to heat as much water. This is especially relevant in areas where water costs are higher. Every system and installation is different, so it’s important to evaluate whether the potential for reduced energy consumption and costs outweigh the investment in equipment to reuse compressor heat.

Integrating water systems

Under standard operation conditions, industrial refrigeration systems produce condenser heat, super-heated vapor heat, and oil heat. There are multiple ways to integrate these refrigeration systems with a typically separate water system to employ a heat recovery strategy, but some extra equipment may be needed.

The first step is to determine the facility’s hot water requirements and whether refrigeration compressor heat can be utilized in the hot water system. In both new and existing refrigeration systems, the equipment would have to be designed for this expansion.

For instance, some type of water system would be needed, as would a storage tank and a pump to bring in water. Then, the water would need to be pumped out to the heat source and returned to the hot water storage tank.

Consider full energy cost impact

Even though more heat can be generated by elevating the refrigeration system parameters, it’s important to consider how important energy recovery is to your overall operational goals.

Raising the condensing temperature can increase discharge water temperatures. As a result, more energy can go into the compressor, so it’s important to make sure the energy recovered for heating water is worthwhile. In some regions where electricity costs more than natural gas or propane, this approach may not be a good option. In other areas where electricity costs are relatively low and the cost for natural gas or propane is the same or higher than electricity, it might make sense to generate more heat with the compressor.

Many existing systems can be retrofitted to recover refrigeration compressor heat. This can be a bigger undertaking than a new system; re-piping, new equipment or a change in condenser type and heat exchangers can be required. But the investment may be worth the effort if a facility is experiencing high energy costs.

Enabling efficiency and energy savings

Recovering heat from refrigerator compressor systems to heat water for other processes can enable facilities to reduce overall energy costs. Highly efficient equipment such as Vilter™ single-screw compressors are designed to help provide lower lifecycle costs and high reliability. They also can enable facilities to reduce the energy consumed in the refrigeration system while lowering the energy needed to heat the water within those facilities.

To learn more about deploying a heat recovery strategy in your industrial refrigeration system, read our white paper.

 

 

 

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