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Posts from the ‘Refrigerants’ Category

Mobile CO2 Booster Transcritical Training Unit Launches North American Tour

Liborio Mendola Liborio Mendola | Product Planner
Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Emerson’s new CO2 Booster training unit is preparing to make several stops across the U.S. and Canada in 2019. Learn more about what this hands-on experience will offer attendees.

Adoption of the natural refrigerant CO2 (R-744) in commercial and industrial refrigeration applications is on the rise in North America and around the globe. With 0 ozone depletion potential (ODP) and a global warming potential (GWP) of 1, CO2 is considered the environmental standard by which other refrigerants are measured. But with its high operating pressures and unique performance characteristics, industry stakeholders have many questions about how to design, operate and service a CO2 system. That’s why Emerson is pleased to introduce its new, mobile CO2 Booster training unit.

The CO2 training unit is designed to give contractors, manufacturers, wholesalers and end users a hands-on experience and learn what it’s like to work on a CO2 refrigeration system. Launched in Canada in September, the unit has already visited locations in Quebec and trained more than 50 contractors. In early 2019, the unit will travel to the U.S. and make several stops, starting with an appearance in the Atlanta area timed to correspond with the conclusion of the AHR Expo. The current schedule is as follows:

  • January 16–17: Atlanta, Ga.
  • January 30–31: Orlando, Fla.
  • February 13–14: Rancho Cordova, Calif.
  • February 27–28: Elmsford, N.Y.
  • March 20–21: Cudahy, Wis.
  • April 10–11: Brantford, Ont.

Each stop will feature a two-day training session designed to accommodate 20 attendees and cover a wide range of CO2-related topics, including:

  • Subcritical vs. transcritical modes of operation
  • Overview of CO2 system architectures
  • Safe handling, maintenance and charging
  • Startup and shutdown sequences

Become familiar with CO2 and refrigeration system components

The open 360° view of the training unit allows attendees to familiarize themselves with the refrigerant and the components which make up a CO2 system. To demonstrate the volatility of CO2, the unit includes a phase change cell that shows how the refrigerant reacts to pressure changes. Starting in its liquid state, R-744 is subject to increasing pressures and begins its transition into a vapor state, then to a supercritical fluid, until it ultimately becomes a transparent gas. Then, as pressure is dropped within the cell, attendees can see the reverse of this transition as CO2 returns to a liquid state and then forms into a solid piece of dry ice.

The CO2 Booster training unit utilizes a full Emerson system that includes: low- and medium-temperature compressors, electronic controls, protectors, variable-frequency drives and transcritically rated electronic expansion valves. For ease of use, the unit is designed to improve the visibility of all components and dial gauges to demonstrate pressures and temperatures of certain elements.

The transportation container is designed for simplified transport and protection against the rigors of over-the-road travel. This container is also equipped with Emerson’s Cargo Solutions that allow live tracking of the unit’s location, ambient temperature and other conditions through Emerson’s Oversight app.

Registration for scheduled two day sessions is now open. The cost is $700 per person and includes all course materials, breakfast and lunch.

If you’re interested in learning more about CO2, be sure to reserve your spot (Class Title: CO2 Refrigeration) at an upcoming training session.

E360 Breakfast: Regulatory and Contractor Panel Discussion

Ed_McKiernan Ed McKiernan | President, Cold Chain, Electronics & Solutions

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

Before the doors open at the AHR Expo on January 15, join us at 8:30 a.m. for our E360 Breakfast. There you’ll get a firsthand regulatory update and gain insights during the contractor panel discussion as your peers share how they’re navigating in today’s ever-changing industry.

Because the regulatory world is dynamic, it can sometimes be challenging to stay current on the latest information. Jennifer Butsch, Emerson’s regulatory affairs manager, will highlight some of the latest regulations to help ensure you’re up to speed.

Then you’ll have the opportunity to gain perspective from the contractor panel discussion, which will be moderated by Talbot Gee, CEO of HARDI. We’ll explore how others are handling today’s challenging issues, evaluate new ideas and emerging technologies, and conclude with a Q&A session where you can pose some of your most pressing questions.

Afterward, you’ll be ready to hit the AHR Expo floor. We hope your first stop is the Emerson booth (#B2219), where you can take a close look at some of our exciting technologies:

  • Copeland Scroll™ Fractional Horsepower, Low-temperature Compressor — the AHR Innovation Award winner uses new liquid-injection and cooling discharge technologies to reduce compressor stress, meet federal regulatory requirements, and help achieve energy and sustainability goals without sacrificing productivity or efficiency
  • Emerson’s Supervisory Controls — an AHR Building Automation Award finalist, this total-facility platform helps retailers large and small monitor, optimize and control their refrigeration systems, HVAC, lighting and more
  • Copeland Outdoor Refrigeration Unit (X-Line) — see how leading retailers are saving space, improving efficiencies and reducing noise, rather than using self-contained or rack refrigeration systems
  • ProAct™ Software and Services — combine smart mobile alert software with ProAct service experts for continuous monitoring, full-time support and consulting
  • Copeland Scroll K5 Compressors — learn more about this family of digital and analog compressors that apply liquid and vapor injection for superior efficiency
  • Connect+ Software — see the unveiling of our newest software suite designed to utilize IoT to provide advanced operational efficiencies across a multi-site retail network

Register now to reserve your seat at this informative, idea-filled E360 Breakfast — a great way to start your day at AHR!


How to Transition Into the Future With HFO Blend Refrigerants

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, Food Retail Marketing & Growth Strategy, Cold Chain

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I was recently interviewed for an article in the ACHR News, “HFO Sightings: Refrigerant Retrofits Becoming More Common in Supermarkets,” which discusses steps that can smooth a supermarket owner’s transition to sustainable and compliant HFO blend refrigerants.

How to Transition Into the Future With HFO Blend Refrigerants

What refrigerant changes are coming, and which should you choose?

The R-22 refrigerant is in its final days, and will be officially phased out at the end of next year. There’s also a good chance that hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants will also be phased down in the U.S. in the years ahead, as their use continues to be limited in different countries and regions around the globe. Many supermarket owners see the writing on the wall and are starting to transition to lower-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants — particularly if they are uncertain about counting on the availability of HFCs or concerned about a potential rise in the cost of these refrigerants. Others simply seek to transition to more eco-friendly refrigerants that align with corporate sustainability objectives.

That is why many store owners are choosing to retrofit their existing equipment to use hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) blends, which compare well with HFCs in terms of performance but offer advantages in the forms of energy efficiency, environmental-friendliness and future availability.

However, HFO blends are not drop-in refrigerants. Equipment usually has to be modified before it can be used. Not all equipment is equally easy to retrofit, and not all HFO blends are the same. The ACHR News article lays out clear guidelines to help you navigate among HFO blend options and retrofit processes.

No two retrofits and no two refrigerants are alike

As I point out in the article, HFOs have very different characteristics than HFC or hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) refrigerants. Some HFOs are classified as A1 (non-flammable) while others fall into the A2L (mildly flammable) category; many have temperature glide characteristics to consider. In addition, many HFO blends have been developed to replace specific HFC refrigerants — for example, R-448A and R-449A are designed to replace R-404A — and there are small capacity and efficiency differences that may vary based on the specific refrigeration application. That said, with the right RFO blend and the right modifications, many systems will continue to operate reliably for years after the retrofits. The age and condition of the equipment should determine if they are good candidates for a refrigerant retrofit.

Making the change

If you are interested in transitioning to an HFO blend, it’s essential to find out if your equipment is compatible with a given blend. There are specific HFO blends designed to replace the most common HFCs, depending on the type of equipment and the refrigeration application. However, not all HFCs can be replaced with an HFO, and in some instances, equipment may require major modifications.

For that reason, you need to consider the specific characteristics of each refrigeration application, the replacement HFO blend, and their impact on system performance to make sure you continue operating within your equipment’s design specifications. For example, a new blend could cause a higher discharge temperature, which could require investing in supplemental compressor cooling. That’s why you should consult with the equipment manufacturer and your refrigerant vendor about compatibility before making any transition.

Manufacturers such as Emerson conduct stringent R&D and testing of RFO blends in their compressors and other components before they are deemed “ready to use” in a retrofit. Because you may be changing the refrigerant for which the units were initially designed, you should also ask about the status of your warranties and the potential impacts before commencing a retrofit.

When you’re ready, the ACHR News article provides a more detailed guide to the retrofit process for you and your refrigeration contractor, from evaluating the system type, design and application for a compatible HFO blend, to charging a unit with its new refrigerant and fine-tuning the equipment.

Retrofitting the future

As regulations surrounding refrigerants continue to evolve, most retailers recognize that moving to HFO blends is one of their best long-term solutions for a large installed base of refrigeration equipment. With a range of safe and environmentally sustainable HFO blends available as replacement refrigerants for HFC-based systems, converting your systems to low-GWP HFO blends is the quickest and cheapest way to achieve a large overall reduction in your future carbon footprint.

Making Sense of the Current Regulatory Landscape

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article posted in RSES Journal, entitled “Mapping the Refrigerant Regulation Landscape.” Click here to read the article in its entirety.


Waters continue to rage in the current refrigerant regulatory landscape — and the tide doesn’t seem to be letting up. Starting with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) introduction of the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Rule 20 in 2015, working up to a plethora of plot twists in the latter half of 2017 and now into 2018, much of the industry has been caught off guard and making on-the-spot adjustments to their operations. Here’s a breakdown of some of the more prominent developments.

DC Circuit Court vacates SNAP Rule 20

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit decided that the EPA had exceeded its authority to require the replacement of HFCs under the Clean Air Act, Section 612. This ruling elicited a number of different responses, including several parties filing petitions for a rehearing en banc of the case, but the court announced that it would deny the intervenor/respondents’ petitions for a rehearing.

More recently, a group of bipartisan senators introduced a bill called the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. If it’s passed, it would entitle the EPA to phase down HFCs used in refrigeration and air conditioning in consultation with the industry, operating in accordance with guidelines set by the 2015 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which the U.S. has yet to ratify.

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruling to vacate Rule 20 as initially enacted does not necessarily signify the end of the EPA SNAP nor represent the global/state legislative efforts yet underway to reduce greenhouse gases. In fact, there are some promising initiatives taking shape.

California Air Resources Board (CARB) plans big phase-downs

CARB’s initial proposal to preserve the federal framework in new retail food refrigeration, food dispensing equipment, air-conditioning chillers and refrigeration vending machines will take effect in 2019. CARB’s second proposal plans to prohibit refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or greater in new stationary refrigeration systems containing 50 or more pounds of refrigerant beginning in 2021.

Canada ratifies Kigali amendment

This ruling, impacting stand-alone refrigeration, centralized refrigeration and chillers, enacts a significant HFC phase-down schedule that will take place over the next few decades. Canada was among the first countries to ratify the Kigali amendment.

E.U. pushes for lower F-gas emissions

The E.U. enacted regulation to control fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas) emissions, including HFCs, in 2015; it has yet to stop. The next step of its phase-down schedule, set to take place later this year, will lower the consumption quota from the previous 93 percent of the original baseline to 63 percent.

Energy mandates also play a big role

Energy mandates by the Department of Energy (DOE) are also causing turmoil within the industry, specifically impacting three classes of equipment: commercial refrigeration equipment (CRE), automatic commercial ice makers (ACIM), and walk-in coolers and freezers (WICF). CRE have been subject to 2,086 percent energy reductions since March 2017, while ACIM must achieve 525 percent energy reductions; WICF must reach 3,037 percent reductions by 2020.

Opportunity for collaboration

Recent EPA rulings and DOE mandates have been set in place during different time frames, causing headaches for equipment manufacturers and end users alike. Recent regulatory developments present an opportunity to push for coordination and collaboration among all parties to create a more cohesive transition.

Alternative Refrigerants Continue to Rise in Popularity

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

I discussed a recent ruling from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry trends associated with low global warming potential (GWP) in ACHR News. Read the full article here.


The EPA cannot require HVACR manufacturers to replace what they deem high-GWP refrigerants with lower-GWP replacements. That was the opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia circuit judge Brett Kavanaugh on Jan. 27. His decision established that the court will not reconsider an Aug. 8, 2017, opinion that signified the EPA cannot ban hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under Section 612 of the Clean Air Act.

The ruling conceptually overturns a 2015 EPA proposal by former President Barack Obama’s administration to phase out the use of HFCs in retail food refrigeration HVACR applications. While HFCs appear to be around a bit longer than initially anticipated, many compressor manufacturers insist that fact won’t inhibit them from pursuing lower-GWP options in an effort to remain globally competitive and environmentally responsible.

Manufacturers approach refrigerant use from a GWP perspective, viewing refrigerants based upon their region-specific requirements. Customers and end users must make refrigerant decisions based on local regulatory mandates and their own operational objectives. Refrigerant costs, local regulations and GWP will continue to be the primary factors in our decision making.

There are also applicable standards in place that need to be followed which govern the use of flammable refrigerants. These are currently under review, and we’ll monitor any changes that may occur.

Natural refrigerants have been, and will continue to be, an integral part of Emerson’s refrigerant strategy due to the global nature of its customers. Ammonia, propane and CO2 are three natural refrigerants that have long played roles in commercial and industrial refrigeration. With increasing industry demand for lower-GWP refrigerant options, each of these will continue to have a place in our product road map.


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