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Simplifying CO2 Refrigeration

Andre Patenaude | Director – Solutions Strategy

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solution’s Business

Interest in CO2 transcritical booster systems is growing rapidly within the U.S. commercial refrigeration industry. In recent years, many supermarkets have tested the waters with CO2 system trials in select stores. Others have already made CO2 the foundation of their long-term refrigeration strategy. But with sustainability goals becoming higher priorities, we expect up to 800 new CO2 transcritical booster systems to be installed in the next 3–4 years.

Although CO2 (refrigerant name R-744) offers a variety of sustainability and reliability benefits, a lack of familiarity with the nuances of CO2 technology can make it seem complex to end-users and service technicians alike. I recently spoke with R744.com about how Emerson is helping to alleviate these concerns by simplifying the applications of CO2 refrigeration systems.

Smart controls to make it easier

To help facilitate these increased adoption levels, Emerson recently launched the Lumity™ E3 supervisory control, designed specifically for CO2 applications. As the successor to our venerable E2 controller system — which is already used in CO2 transcritical booster systems globally — this next-generation refrigeration and facility control device offers native CO2 functionality to better manage a wide spectrum of CO2-specific capabilities:

  • High-pressure system and valve control
  • System start-up and shut-down protocols
  • Hot-gas and liquid injection modulation (de-superheating)
  • Adiabatic gas cooling control
  • Parallel compression management

R-744 refrigerant and CO2 refrigeration system properties are unique and need their own specific control logic and programming requirements. Within the Lumity E3 controller for CO2, we’ve integrated machine-learning algorithms and other native programming that will make CO2 systems easier to own, operate and troubleshoot — while still providing the customization options end-users need to tailor controls to their store requirements. The E3 controller platform is also web-enabled to support remote monitoring and servicing via smartphone, tablet or other web-enabled browsers.

We are also launching a new Lumity CC200 case controller, which includes a specific model for CO2 system cases. This device integrates seamlessly with the E3 supervisory control platform to provide key case-level functions, such as:

  • Demand defrost control
  • Management of up to three evaporator coils with three stepper motor or pulse width modulated (PWM) electronic expansion valves (EEVs)
  • Integrated evaporator pressure regulating (EPR) valve

The CO2 versions of these control products are currently being field-tested and will be available globally later this year. Upcoming E3-CO2 functions include mechanical subcooling and ejector control. Also, hot-gas defrost will be added to the E3-CO2 platform to support the North American trend of using hot-gas defrost — rather than traditional electric defrost — in industrial and commercial CO2 transcritical booster applications.

The upcoming E3-CO2 model is designed to enable current E2 end-users to easily replace their control device when it becomes available. End-users of the standard E3 controller will have the option to upgrade it to the CO2 version.

Expanded CO2 compression capacities

To further support increased CO2 adoption in supermarkets, Emerson will be expanding the capacity of our current Copeland™ 4MTLS transcritical CO2 semi-hermetic compressor lineup. Within months, we will be launching a new option that delivers our largest displacement in the 4MTLS product line — with 330,000 BTU at 20 °F.

In addition to our transcritical CO2 semi-hermetic lineup, we offer Copeland ZOD subcritical CO2 digital scroll compressor products designed to exploit the characteristics of CO2 refrigeration in low-temperature (LT) applications. And, since all lead and parallel compressors in CO2 transcritical booster systems require a variable frequency drive (VFD), we also leverage the new Copeland EVM/EVH Series VFDs in these CO2 system applications.

In Europe, Emerson recently launched Copeland transcritical CO2 scroll compressors for the food retail market. We expect these to be available for use in U.S. markets within the next 18 months. Later this year, we will be launching a new CO2 test lab that will enable us to fully examine the use of these scroll compressors in CO2 transcritical scenarios.

To learn more about how we’re helping to simplify the use of CO2 refrigeration, please visit our CO2 resources webpage.

 

 

Earth Day Decarbonization: Three Ways We’re Helping Customers to Reduce Carbon Footprints

         Greg Polce | Vice President of Marketing – Cold Chain

          Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

April 22 marks the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day — a day when the world pauses to reflect on the shared responsibilities of preserving our natural environment and reversing the negative impacts of climate change. This year, the Earth Day organization is calling for global governments, businesses and citizens to form partnerships and accelerate solutions focused on building more sustainable and prosperous futures. At Emerson, we’re committed to doing our part by helping our customers to achieve their short- and long-term decarbonization goals.

According to current estimates, 51 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are released annually into the Earth’s atmosphere. As the demand for energy is estimated to double over the next 30 years, climate experts are prioritizing efforts to help reduce global carbon emissions to a net-zero footprint by 2050. Hitting these decarbonization targets will require a holistic re-evaluation of everything that contributes to harmful GHG emissions.

Emerson’s commercial and residential solutions play key roles in this monumental effort. Consider that 19 percent of total carbon emissions can be attributed to feeding the world, yet roughly one-third of the global food supply is wasted. Generating, delivering and consuming electricity (by plugging things in and turning them on) accounts for 27 percent of total GHG emissions.

Three paths to net-zero

When we look at our cold chain business, we’re embarking on numerous strategies to help our customers affect positive change and provide much-needed GHG reductions. It’s important to think of these strategies as interrelated efforts that work together toward winning the race to net zero.

  1. Reducing food waste (in storage and on the move)

Reducing food waste is a core value of our cold chain business, and we help our customers to achieve this through a combination of compression technologies, tracking/monitoring devices and software, and control devices. Energy-efficient Copeland™ compressors set the industry standard in reliability and are preferred in commercial refrigeration, transport and marine applications. They serve as the cooling foundation for supermarkets, restaurants and shipping companies seeking to preserve food quality and safety and extend perishable shelf lives.

We’re also helping our customers to achieve “farm to fork” visibility to their perishable cold chains. Our GO real-time tracking and logging devices, combined with Oversight software, allow stakeholders to monitor the temperatures and locations of in-transit perishable shipments in real-time. In addition, our customers can leverage a variety of control devices to monitor coolers, freezers and cold storage facilities. The data we’re gathering from each step is delivering the deep insights our customers need to continually refine and improve their cold chain management capabilities. Once food waste reaches landfills, our Vilter™ compressors are helping operators to convert methane gas to energy.

  1. Lowering carbon emissions (from equipment and systems)

Refrigeration is among the most important technological advancements contributing to human health and well-being. Because the compressors and components that power commercial refrigeration systems consume significant amounts of electricity, Emerson has always prioritized efforts to improve equipment efficiency and reliability. From energy-efficient compression technologies with variable-capacity modulation to dedicated smart controls for low-GWP refrigerant systems, we’re innovating the tools our customers need to minimize indirect GHG emissions (from systems being powered up).

Of course, direct emissions from refrigerant leaks are also a critically important sustainability consideration. Emerson has helped lead the industry’s transition to lower-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant technologies, supporting the global phasedown of high-GWP hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-based systems. By embracing the next generation of low-GWP natural and synthetic refrigerants — and supporting advanced leak detection programs —we’re providing the guidance our customers need to help align refrigerant decisions with their sustainability objectives.

By combining low-GWP refrigerants with energy-efficient refrigerant technologies, we’re helping our customers to reduce both their direct and indirect emissions, which lowers the total equivalent warming impact (TEWI) of their refrigeration footprints.

  1. Enabling grid interactivity (leveraging our install base to reduce consumption)

We anticipate that the trend toward electrification will impact the ways in which we live and conduct business over the coming decades. At Emerson, we see this as a tremendous opportunity to move the needle toward net-zero by empowering our commercial refrigeration customers with grid-interactive facilities. As demand increases over the next 30 years, the infrastructure supporting our shared grid will need to be upgraded to integrate more renewable, alternative and distributed sources of energy. Although this strategy is essential to achieving net-zero by 2050, experts expect intermittent supply challenges, especially during peak consumption periods.

Today, our customers represent approximately 30,000 MW of electrical load. With grid-interactive building management controls — such as our new Lumity™ E3 supervisory control system — we’re helping them to manage their electrical footprints in coordination with utilities to offset grid demand constraints and reduce energy consumption. This will allow companies to leverage their facilities’ refrigeration, HVAC and lighting systems as distributed energy resources (DERs) — a connected technology that responds to grid signals and/or requirements to generate or conserve energy.

Not only is this strategy good for decarbonization, but we see it as an opportunity to grow our customers’ bottom lines. By connecting to the grid and reducing consumption upon request — or temporarily flexing their loads to other sources — companies can monetize their DER contributions. And while this may seem like the next frontier of energy management, many of our customers are already receiving incentives from utilities for making energy-efficient equipment choices or acting as a DER.

At Emerson, we know that the transition to net-zero will not be easy and can present new challenges to our customers and served industries. But we’re committed to achieving Earth Day goals every day of the year and look forward to helping our customers make the shift to more sustainable refrigeration and flexible energy management strategies. We’ll continue to explore ways to reduce energy consumption, lower GHG emissions, and enable grid interactivity — without impacting critical refrigeration, heating or lighting requirements.

To learn more about our commitment to net-zero and environmental sustainability, please visit our website.

Emerson Highlights Commitment to CO2 at ATMO World Summit 2022

Andre Patenaude | Director – Solutions Strategy

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solution’s Business

Emerson recently participated in the ATMO World Summit 2022, a 24-hour event focused on exploring developments in the uses and applications of natural refrigerants. Emily Vilardi, Emerson product marketing manager and I presented a webinar highlighting Emerson’s commitment to CO2 refrigeration via the launch of new products and our expanded research and development (R & R&D) efforts. For those unable to attend the event or our session, ATMO has made it available for free on-demand.

Corporate sustainability objectives and environmental regulations are driving the adoption of refrigerants with lower global warming potential (GWP). As food retailers evaluate emerging solutions and transition to the next generation of refrigeration technologies, CO2 transcritical booster systems offer a proven, natural alternative. Although this innovative system architecture uses CO2 (refrigerant name R-744) for both medium- (MT) and low-temperature (LT) refrigeration loads, it introduces a whole new approach to refrigeration for many end-users and technicians.

Emily and I discussed how Emerson is committed to helping facilitate this transition by simplifying the application of CO2 refrigeration through the seamless integration of system components. We focused on three primary areas: compression and variable frequency drives (VFDs), controls and software, and R&D lab investments.

CO2 compression and VFD technology

For the MT transcritical portion of a CO2 transcritical booster system, Emerson offers the Copeland™ 4MTLS transcritical CO2 semi-hermetic compressor in nine displacements from 40,000 to 300,000 BTUs at 60 Hz. These four-cylinder compressors feature onboard diagnostics and have a capacity range from 17.5 to 354 MBH at 20 °F evaporating, 95 °F gas cooler outlet at 60 Hz. In addition, they can be paired with Copeland VFDs, EVM/EVH Series to enable variable-capacity modulation. EVM/EVH drives offer the security of providing 200 percent maximum overload protection for two seconds.

On the LT side, Emerson offers the Copeland ZO(D) subcritical CO2 scroll compressors: ZO for fixed capacity and ZOD (digital) for variable-capacity modulation or their ability to unload capacity down to 10 percent. For example, the ZOD34 is rated for a 34,000 BTU displacement that can modulate (or unload) its capacity to 3,000 BTUs. These subcritical digital scrolls offer a smaller, lighter-weight footprint and don’t require VFDs for capacity modulation. In addition, Copeland MSLS subcritical semi-hermetic compressors are available in displacements from 60,000 to 180,000 BTUs, have a range of 25 to 70 Hz, and are rated for very high standstill pressures.

Integrated CO2 controls

CO2 transcritical booster systems rely heavily on electronic controls to optimize system installation, integrate with cases and high-pressure valves (HPVs), and manage system pressures. Emily explained Emerson’s integrated approach to CO2 controls that enables seamless communication and enhanced visibility to all aspects of system operation.

The soon-to-be-released Lumity™ supervisory control for CO2 applications will expand upon the legacy E2e control to offer enhanced CO2 capabilities, reduce programming complexities, and simplify system management via:

  • Centralized CO2 suction group control for transcritical booster and parallel compression
  • Advanced compressor superheat management for liquid or hot gas injection
  • Precise load management and automatic recovery from out-of-range conditions
  • Enhanced CO2 system monitoring for system insights
  • Oil management for long compressor life

The Lumity E3-CO2 will also leverage the many benefits of the new E3 platform, including a built-in touchscreen, remote mobile access, and a greatly improved user interface (UI) that brings all critical CO2 system monitoring into one unified view. The control will integrate seamlessly with Emerson’s high-pressure controller and valve driver (XEV20), the soon-to-be-released Lumity CC200 case controller, the XM600 series case controllers, and leak detection devices (RLDS and MRLDS).

Investing in the future of CO2

In the ATMO webinar, I also elaborated on how Emerson is helping our customers to prepare for the future of CO2 refrigeration through continued lab investments and R&D efforts. In addition to the CO2 transcritical booster system that has been installed at The Helix Innovation Center since 2016, we’ve recently dedicated more than 100,000 square feet to a CO2-specific supermarket test lab in our facility in Sidney, Ohio. This new lab will be launched this summer and feature:

  • 18 display cases from five different manufacturers
  • Walk-in cooler and walk-in freezer
  • Dry gas and adiabatic gas coolers on the roof
  • Wide range of high-ambient system strategies
  • Ability to create a 100 percent false load to enable testing at any capacity

These advanced testing capabilities will give Emerson’s application engineers ample opportunities to measure and validate system performance across a full spectrum of application scenarios.

To learn more about how Emerson is helping our customers and the industry to simplify the adoption of CO2 system technologies and optimize refrigeration system performance, please view the ATMO webinar.

 

 

Industry Steps up CO2 Training Efforts

         Don Gillis | Lead Technical Trainer

          Emerson’s Educational Services

The use of commercial CO2 refrigeration technology is expected to increase significantly over the next few years. But in the U.S., very few service technicians have experience installing, commissioning and maintaining CO2 systems. I recently contributed to an article in Contracting Business that discussed how our industry is addressing the urgent need for CO2-specific education, training and certification programs.

Compared to legacy hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) systems, CO2 (refrigerant name R-744) has many unique performance characteristics and system properties. Because CO2 refrigeration is still relatively new to the U.S. market, most HVACR trade schools and technical colleges simply haven’t integrated CO2 topics into their refrigeration training programs. But today, that’s quickly changing.

Stakeholders collaborate to develop CO2 curriculum

Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and industry organizations are actively trying to bridge this knowledge gap by developing CO2 training curricula and certification programs. As an industry steward of sustainable refrigeration and a provider of fully integrated CO2 solutions, Emerson is helping industry organizations to accelerate these efforts.

We’re collaborating with the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council (NASRC), the ESCO Group and other industry stakeholders to spearhead the development of the first CO2 curriculum for community college and trade school HVACR programs in the U.S.

According to Morgan Smith, program and communications director at the NASRC, the goal of this collaboration is to integrate a CO2 curriculum into the commercial refrigeration tracks at technical colleges. The new curriculum will cover a wide range of topics to help familiarize technicians with CO2 refrigeration, including:

  • Basic terms and definitions of CO2 characteristics and systems
  • CO2 safety fundamentals, such as: handling, tools and gauges, relief requirements, leak rates and room sensors
  • Core curricula, including: required experience; understanding CO2 as a refrigerant; operating characteristics; types of CO2 systems; working with non-traditional system components, compressor types, control systems and equipment applications
  • Installation procedures: handling CO2 as a refrigerant; installation fundamentals and piping insulation
  • System commissioning procedures
  • Service and maintenance procedures, such as: system charging and discharging; repairing and replacing components; CO2 oil management; CO2 system recovery; defrost methods and custom systems
  • Troubleshooting

“Because CO2 is so new to the U.S. commercial refrigeration market, technicians and end users have varying degrees of hesitation. We hope these training programs will help remove some of the mystery and concerns about using this efficient and environmentally friendly natural refrigerant,” Smith said.

Emerson CO2 training programs

Emerson continues to expand on our CO2-specific training initiatives through our mobile training units and Educational Services programs. In 2019, we introduced our third-generation CO2 mobile training unit to serve Canada and the continental U.S.; to date, it has trained more than 1,000 industry professionals in North America.

This year, we’ll be launching a second CO2 mobile training unit at Emerson Educational Services’ primary location in Sidney, Ohio. Once there, it will become the centerpiece of a two-day training program designed to give contractors, OEMs, wholesalers and end users a hands-on experience of what it’s like to work on a CO2 transcritical booster refrigeration system. As COVID-related health guidelines permit, we hope to send our CO2 mobile training units back on the road to be featured at industry events and provide training where it is needed most.

In addition, Emerson Educational Services currently offers two virtual and in-person training courses related to CO2:

  • Two-day “CO2 Refrigeration” course specifically designed to train technicians
  • One-day course entitled, “Fit for the Future: Working with Natural Refrigerants, A2Ls, and A1 HFO Blends”

The net goal of all these efforts is to give the entire commercial refrigeration supply chain — from wholesalers and distributors to OEMs, end users and service technicians — a greater familiarity and comfort level with CO2 refrigeration. To learn more about the CO2 training programs at Emerson, visit our course schedule, or contact Emerson Educational Services at Education@Emerson.com.

 

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