Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Refrigerants’ Category

R-290 Condensing Units Deliver Refrigeration Efficiencies and Regulatory Compliance

anijayanth Ani Jayanth | Director, Product Marketing

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes the Product Spotlight column in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled R-290 Ready.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

9462-E360 Outlook-Propane Compressor-Facebook-1200x630

The growing demand for energy-efficient and environmentally friendly commercial refrigeration equipment has led to the resurgence of the natural refrigerant propane (R-290). With a global warming potential of 3, R-290 checks two key regulatory boxes: 1) it is listed as an acceptable refrigerant substitute by the EPA; and 2) it meets the DOE’s call for more energy efficiency in compressors and condensers. To support our OEM customers who are responding to this market demand, Emerson offers a line of condensing units designed to maximize R-290 efficiencies.

As a class A3 (flammable) refrigerant, R-290’s charge limit of 150g has largely constrained its use to smaller, self-contained applications. This makes R-290 an ideal candidate for use in stand-alone, reach-in applications, where the DOE has mandated 30–50 percent reductions in energy consumption as of March 27. This same class of equipment will also be subject to the EPA’s phase-down of commonly used hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in 2019. The disparate timing of these regulations is forcing foodservice OEMs to consider meeting both requirements in the same design cycle. Currently, R-290 is a leading option for accomplishing both objectives.

Energy-efficient condensing units

Copeland™ M-Line condensing units provide all the technological improvements needed to help OEMs achieve regulatory compliance while giving end users optimal performance in low- and medium-temperature applications. Designed to deliver energy improvements up to 30 percent, M-Line condensing units are built on the following improvements:

  • Latest generation of Copeland hermetic compressors
  • Electronically commutated fan motors (an optional feature)
  • Condenser coil tubing design that enables additional coil rows

Next generation compression technology

Emerson has been testing alternative refrigerants for years to help OEMs make the transition to DOE- and EPA-compliant compression technology. Emerson offers A*E and R*T compressors rated for use with R-290 and available in fractional horsepower options to serve as the basis of Copeland M-Line condensing units. Designed with OEM and end user concerns in mind, these compressors deliver the following benefits:

  • Minimal sound output for quiet operation
  • More than 20 percent energy-efficiency improvements compared to R-404A
  • Little to no environmental impacts

Wider adoption of R-290 is evidence that the commercial refrigeration industry is becoming more comfortable with the natural refrigerant alternative. While OEMs and operators alike have accepted its 150g charge limit, even incremental charge increases would enable significant advances in system design and efficiencies. This charge limit is currently under review by building codes and standards makers. If (and when) charge limits are increased, Emerson will be prepared to make the necessary updates to our compression technology.

This blog summarizes the Product Spotlight column in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled R-290 Ready.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

Selecting a New Refrigerant — Current and Future Options

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled New Refrigerant Alternatives Available Today.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

9462-E360 Outlook-New Ref Alternatives-Facebook-1200x630

Whether you’re an OEM or an end user, selecting an alternative refrigerant for new commercial refrigeration platforms is not an easy decision. From installation and servicing requirements to performance, environmental and economic impacts, there are many factors to consider — including the complexities of the regulatory climate.

Since the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 decision to change the status of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, the list of acceptable refrigerant alternatives has continued to expand. The ruling set forth specific change of status dates whereby HFCs will no longer be permitted in various commercial refrigeration equipment classes. Not only do the dates vary among these equipment classes, but there are multiple refrigerant options available within each specific application. And as these HFC phase-down timelines approach, we expect that the EPA will continue to introduce through its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program new synthetic alternatives that offer incremental reductions in GWP levels.

It’s a lot to keep track of, and easy to see why the refrigerant issue — including past, current and future options — has proved particularly difficult for our industry to sort out. To help you analyze the available options and evaluate how they will impact you, we’ve assembled a list of refrigerant alternatives per commercial refrigeration application, as defined by EPA equipment classifications.

Future A2L alternatives

To meet the growing demand for lower-GWP refrigerants, chemical manufacturers have developed a new class of synthetic refrigerants called A2Ls with a GWP less than 150. While several manufacturers have submitted these “mildly flammable” blends for SNAP approval, none of these alternatives have yet to be listed as acceptable for use in commercial refrigeration applications by the EPA. A degree of flammability is a result of attempts to reach the very low GWP levels.

A2L Refrigerant designed to replace GWP
ARM-25 R-404A < 150
R-454A R-404A/R-22 238
R-454C R-404A/R-22 148
R-457A R-404A/R-22 139
R-515A HFC-134a 392
R-516A Near drop-in for HFC-134a 131
R-1234yf HFC-134a 1
R-1234ze R-404A/R-22 1

Emerson will continue to closely monitor all regulatory activity and keep you informed of any implications. These updates will likely introduce lower-GWP alternatives — such as the A2Ls discussed herein — that will help the industry continue to evolve toward more energy-efficient and lower life cycle climate performance (LCCP) systems and fluids.

There’s no question that the timing of the HFC status changes will continue to present challenges throughout the commercial refrigeration supply chain. We will continue to keep an eye on these developments and provide guidance about which refrigerants are available to help you make the transition.

This blog summarizes an article in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled New Refrigerant Alternatives Available Today.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

Add the Chicago E360 Forum to Your Calendar This October

DonNewlon_V2 Don Newlon | V.P./G.M., Refrigeration Marketing
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

JOIN US in Chicago, Ill., for our next free E360 Forum on Thursday, October 5 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare hotel.

We’re excited to bring our next E360 Forum to the hub of the Midwest, Chicago, Ill. This is already shaping up to be another dynamic year for the HVACR industry, and we need your perspectives at this daylong event to make sense of the latest trends and developments. From the growing technician shortage and the introduction of new refrigerants to the dynamic regulatory climate and subsequent system design changes, we’ll explore the complex landscape that lies before us.

The day will be comprised of informative keynote sessions in the morning, leaving the afternoon open for you to choose from four content tracks of interactive breakout sessions. These are designed to give you a chance to get your questions answered and join in a dialogue with experts and peers.

Chicago’s breakout session tracks will focus on applications, regulations, air conditioning and industrial.

9596-EMR-Chicago-CoreMediaEloqua-E360Forum-1200x298

With your participation, the goal of this E360 Forum is to evaluate 2017’s trends and tackle the biggest challenges in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning.

What you’ll experience:

  1. Hear how the HVACR industry is addressing the growing technician shortage
  2. See the latest applications of natural refrigerants
  3. Review timely updates to energy and refrigerant regulations
  4. Learn about what’s on the horizon in the retail and foodservice sectors

E360 Forums have proved to be invaluable events, and we’re providing ample opportunities for you to have one-on-one discussions with experts and peers. Immediately following the breakout sessions, attendees and presenters can mingle at a networking reception from 4–6 p.m. And for those able to join us the evening before the event, we will host a welcome dinner on October 4 from 6–8 p.m. in the Chicago Marriott O’Hare hotel.

We hope you’ll be making plans today to add Chicago’s E360 Forum to your list of must-attend industry events in 2017.

Navigating the New Refrigerant Landscape

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Navigating the New Refrigerant Landscape.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

9462-E360 Outlook-Navigating the New Ref. Landscape-Facebook-1200x630

The EPA’s phase-down of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants is underway. Over the next several years, these high-global warming potential (GWP) substances will no longer be permitted in a variety of commercial refrigeration equipment. As part of its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, the EPA has also listed new synthetic blends and natural refrigerants as suitable alternatives.

These new alternatives have different performance, servicing and handling requirements than their predecessors. To govern their safe use, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has designated safety classifications that denote varying degrees of toxicity and flammability:

  • A1: lower toxicity; no flame propagation
  • A2L: lower toxicity; lower flammability
  • A3: lower toxicity; higher flammability
  • B2L: higher toxicity, lower flammability

The performance (pressure and capacity) characteristics of common A1 HFCs are used as a baseline for the development of new lower-GWP alternatives. For example, R-448A/449A and R-449B are among the “R-404A like” (medium-pressure) options, while R-513A and R-450A are “HFC-134a like” (low-pressure) substitutes. These all have relatively lower GWPs than their HFC counterparts (350 to 1,300 GWP) and are EPA listed as acceptable for use in specific applications.

Several “future proof” options are currently undergoing the EPA’s SNAP approval process. To achieve very low-GWP levels below 150, these HFO blends all fall under the A2L (mildly flammable) classification. Among the medium-pressure alternatives include R-455A, R-454C and R-457A, while HFO-1234yf/ze and ARM-42 comprise the low-pressure options. Look for future SNAP ruling updates to verify their specific use parameters.

There are also a few very low-GWP, high-performance natural refrigerant alternatives that have been EPA listed as acceptable for use. Ammonia (refrigerant name R-717), propane (refrigerant name R-290) and carbon dioxide (CO2 or refrigerant name R-744) all occur naturally in the environment and have a long history of commercial use.

  • Ammonia — as a B2L, R-717 use requires careful adherence to safe use procedures. Its suitability in low-temperature applications has made it a mainstay in industrial, process cooling, cold storage and ice rink applications. Today, some supermarkets are trialing it in CO2 cascade systems to significantly reduce their carbon footprints.
  • Propane — R-290 is a high-capacity, energy-efficient refrigerant with superior performance characteristics. R-290 adoption has increased significantly as an alternative to HFCs R-404A and HFC-134a. Applications typically have a charge limit of 150 grams, making it well-suited for self-contained, reach-in display cases.
  • CO2 — Non-flammable and non-toxic, CO2 has proved a very effective alternative in both low- and medium-temperature applications, especially in regions with lower ambient temperatures. Its unique operating characteristics have led to the development of cascade, secondary and transcritical booster system architectures — all of which have been successfully deployed in commercial and industrial applications in both Europe and the U.S.

This blog summarizes an article in our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Navigating the New Refrigerant Landscape.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

[New E360 Webinar] Evaluating Natural Refrigerant Choices for Small-Format and Foodservice

AllenWicher Allen Wicher | Director, Foodservice Marketing

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Join Us for our next E360 Webinar, Opportunities for Natural Refrigerants in Small-Format Applications on Tuesday, May 16 at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT.

The growing list of eco-friendly refrigerant options is presenting small-format retail and foodservice operators with difficult decisions. With so many low global warming potential (GWP) options from which to choose — including a wide range of new synthetic blends and a few natural alternatives — these small grocers, convenience stores and restaurants are challenged with selecting a new refrigerant alternative that will serve as the basis for their short- and long-term refrigeration platforms. Behind this difficult decision is an active regulatory climate — one with numerous hurdles to clear in the next five years.

First, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a phase-out schedule for the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high GWP. Second, the Department of Energy (DOE) has established new energy consumption guidelines for specific classes of refrigeration equipment. The net result is a sea change to refrigeration architectures in these segments — one where natural refrigerants propane (or R-290) and CO2 (or R-744) will each play an increasingly vital role.

To make this decision even more complicated, these markets not only utilize the widest variety of equipment and system architectures, they are also faced with understanding new refrigerant requirements in each equipment class. With so many moving pieces, it’s easy to see why there’s an unusually high degree of confusion and uncertainty. Even so, many owner/operators will soon be tasked with selecting a new refrigeration platform. And with numerous EPA and DOE deadlines looming, these decisions must be made quickly.

Among the seemingly ever-expanding variety of refrigeration equipment from which to choose, natural refrigerant-based equipment offer the only true “future proof” options capable of taking current regulatory compliance concerns out of the equation. But questions remain about how these emerging systems compare to their HFC predecessors or newer synthetic refrigerant counterparts.

banner-webinar-23

Our next E360 Webinar will answer many of these questions. Co-presented by me and Andre Patenaude, director of CO2 business development, this informative session will explore the many considerations operators have when moving to natural refrigerant-based systems. Attendees will learn:

  • Evolution of natural systems from large- to small-format retail
  • Market dynamics driving an increase in urban small-format retail
  • Regulatory implications of R-290 and R-744
  • Cost, performance, safety and servicing impacts of natural systems
  • Equipment and system architectures that utilize natural refrigerants

So, if you are a small-format retail or foodservice operator seeking clarification about natural refrigerants, register now to join me and Andre Patenaude for this discussion on Tuesday, May 16 at 2 p.m. EDT / 11 a.m. PDT.

%d bloggers like this: