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Posts from the ‘Refrigeration’ Category

[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.

 

 

Can Amendments to Apprentice Act Address the Technician Shortage?

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

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from ACHR News, entitled “Amending the Apprentice Act”. Click here to read the article in its entirety.

In October, we discussed the growing technician shortage within our industry and ways in which the Apprenticeship Act could help bridge that gap. Here’s an update on how this amendment has taken the next step in the legislative process.

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This past summer, President Trump signed an executive order to expand apprenticeship programs and vocational training. Now, Sen. Roger Wicker of Mississippi has proposed the Apprenticeship Enhancement Act of 2017, amending the National Apprenticeship Act. In short, if this were to be passed, the Department of Labor’s apprenticeship agency would be required to act quickly on applications and create an apprenticeship program within 90 days.

This all sounds like a step in the right direction, but what does it mean for the HVAC industry?

“This legislation could be a game changer for the HVAC and refrigeration industry, which is in desperate need of technical staff,” said Don Langston, president of Aire Rite Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Inc. and Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) chairman of the board. “My goal, as chairman of ACCA, has been to help address the skills gap and workforce challenges that the industry is facing. I offer full support of ACCA as Senator Wicker works to advance this legislation.”

With that being said, here are some additional pieces of information to consider:

  • It’s estimated that by 2022, the U.S. will need 115,000 HVACR technicians.
  • There are more than 44 million student loan borrowers, each borrower accumulating an average debt of $37,172 — with no guarantee of a job/steady salary upon graduation.
  • Apprenticeships are typically funded by outside resources, eliminating participant needs for student loans.
  • The average starting yearly salary for apprentices is $60,000.

Expanding apprenticeship programs and vocational training could help bridge the gap between the technician shortage and students in search of a career that won’t saddle them in student loan debt. Skilled apprentices in the U.S. not only earn a higher average starting wage than the average college student, they do so without the financial burden and stress of not finding a job in a timely manner post-graduation. With more money to be made and an open job market, it stands to reason that these new apprenticeship programs will fill quickly.

While this legislation may not be the panacea to the technician shortage, it could be huge step toward eliminating it. We’ll continue to watch this legislation closely and see how it develops.

To read more about the apprentice act, visit the full ACHR News article

More Food Retailers Opt for Natural Refrigerant Systems

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, CO2 Business Development

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Natural Selection.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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One of the most complex decisions food retailers have today is selecting which refrigerant will serve as the basis of future refrigeration platforms. While there are very few refrigerants that can deliver regulatory compliance and align with corporate sustainability goals, three natural options are at the top of this short list: carbon dioxide (CO2 or refrigerant name R-744); the hydrocarbon propane (refrigerant name R-290); and ammonia (NH3 or refrigerant name R-717).

In recent decades, as synthetic chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants were found to have either ozone depletion potential (ODP) or global warming potential (GWP), natural refrigerants have made their way back into the commercial refrigeration conversation — even being listed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as acceptable for use in most commercial refrigeration applications (subject to use conditions).

Make no mistake: these refrigerants are by no means perfect — each has its own caveats — but in terms of thermodynamic properties, operational efficiencies and eco-friendliness, natural refrigerants are often referred to as “future proof”.

Innovative installations

As modern refrigeration technologies continue to improve, equipment manufacturers are working closely with early adopters to develop innovative solutions. This has resulted in several creative natural refrigeration applications that belie their traditional uses — like ammonia being used in supermarket systems and CO2 playing a larger role in industrial process cooling.

Ammonia trials in food retail
In September 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 away from occupied spaces (on the facility’s roof).

CO2 adoption in industrial cooling
In cold storage applications, where ammonia has been the preferred refrigerant for decades, companies are also seeking to lower ammonia charges. As older ammonia systems near replacement, many operators are determining 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 in food retail
When major retailers like Target publicly announce their intentions to use only propane in their self-contained units, it’s an indication that the perceptions about the mainstream viability of R-290 are shifting. The smaller charge limits make R-290 a logical fit for Target’s smaller, stand-alone refrigerated display cases and coolers.

While efforts are needed to mitigate their associated risks and ensure their safe use, natural refrigerants represent true sustainable alternatives that do not sacrifice performance. As regulatory bodies and industry organizations work to refine these standards, natural refrigerants will continue to play a key role in the future of commercial and industrial refrigeration

Refrigeration Decisions Driven by Diverse Priorities

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

This blog summarizes an article from our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Diverse Priorities Continue to Influence Refrigeration Landscape.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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Today, there are as many factors influencing commercial refrigeration decisions as there are system architectures. As the industry continues to be shaped by regulations, emerging technologies and changing technician demographics, it has become more apparent that there is tremendous diversity among end user priorities.

From first costs, refrigerant considerations and sustainability goals to environmental regulations, energy-efficiency targets and maintenance requirements, end users have more drivers influencing equipment selection criteria than ever before. Since each end user values these factors according to their individual priorities, the hierarchy of priorities differs widely from one customer to the next.

Take Whole Foods Market, for example, a food retailer known for pioneering the use of all-natural refrigeration systems. By using CO2 and R-290 instead of synthetic hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants in their Santa Clara, Calif., location, the grocer is seeking to leave the smallest possible carbon footprint while meeting its energy-efficiency targets. All other criteria are secondary.

But for operators in other parts of the country, where energy costs are lower and environmental mandates are less demanding, a more traditional HFC system with lower first costs and more familiar maintenance protocols may be preferred. The same may be said for those who are intimidated by the increased complexities or relative “unknowns” of new system architectures.

If there’s anything we can be certain of, it’s that the refrigeration landscape will continue to change. You may have read about a recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, ruling that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had exceeded the authority of its Clean Air Act in its efforts to limit the use of HFCs in commercial refrigeration. While some may support the court’s ruling, others who believe the process of phasing down HFCs is already well underway are calling for an appeal. As of now, we’ll have to wait and see what the true implications of this ruling will be.

Already in Europe, where F-gas regulations limit the use of high global warming potential refrigerants, the price of HFCs is on the rise as supplies dwindle. This is also indicative of how regional idiosyncrasies throughout the world also factor into refrigeration decisions, as the potential of carbon taxes, refrigerant price hikes and local climates must also be considered.

To be sure, there currently is no one-size-fits-all approach to commercial refrigeration. Our goal is not to favor one architecture over another, but to help end users balance this difficult equation for themselves — and based on their unique priorities, take the best approach.

Seven Keys to Servicing CO2 Systems

AndrePatenaude_Blog_Image Andre Patenaude | Director, CO2 Business Development

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

This blog summarizes an article from our most recent E360 Outlook, entitled Keys to Servicing CO2 Systems.” Click here to read it in its entirety.

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From a service technician’s perspective, CO2 has unique performance characteristics and operating peculiarities that dictate system design and impact maintenance requirements. Following are seven key considerations to be aware of when servicing CO2 systems.

  1. Low critical point (subcritical vs. transcritical) — R-744 has a relatively low critical point (1,055 psig or 87.8 °F) that determines its modes of operation. Subcritical mode refers to systems operating in regions with colder climates and lower ambient temperatures where the refrigeration cycle takes place below 87.8 °F. Transcritical mode takes place above this point (also referred to as supercritical) such as in warmer regions or periods during the summer heat.
  2. Higher operating pressure — one of the common reservations when using CO2 is its relatively high operating pressure. But, it’s important to realize that high pressure only takes place in the beginning stages of the refrigeration cycle while the rest of the refrigeration cycle operates at pressures like that of a traditional R-410A high-side system. Stainless steel piping is typically used to handle these pressures, although high-pressure ferrous alloy copper piping has recently been introduced.
  3. High triple point (possibility of dry ice formation) — triple point is the point at which the three phases of CO2 coexist (60.4 psig or -69.8 °F). While the temperature seems low, the pressure is relatively high by refrigerant standards. As the pressure approaches that point in CO2 systems, the refrigerant will turn to dry ice (an unusable state that’s neither a vapor nor a liquid). This can occur during maintenance when a contractor mistakenly thinks the lines are clear, taps the system and discovers the formation of dry ice.
  4. System charging — the high triple point affects R-744’s charging procedures. After pulling a vacuum, the internal pressures of the system will be well below 60.4 psig. Since standard atmospheric pressure is 14.696 psig, the process cannot start with liquid charging. Instead, contractors must vapor-charge the system (roughly to around 145 psig), and then wait until the system has equalized with 145 psig of vapor before charging with liquid.
  5. Managing scheduled shutdowns and power outages — when a CO2 system shuts down for longer periods of time, pressures will build more quickly than in an HFC system. To preserve the system charge, the most reliable method is to install a generator with a standby condensing unit. When the power goes out, the generator powers a condensing unit that has a loop within the flash tank (i.e., receiver) designed to cool the volume of liquid within the tank and keep pressures down.
  6. Resumption of power — the electronic expansion valve (EEV) on every CO2 case utilizes a stepper motor or a pulse-width modulated type of valve. When the power goes out, the stepper motor is frozen in that exact position, leaving the system’s CO2 evaporators susceptible to flooding. R-744 naturally migrates quickly to these cold evaporators, and when the system resumes, this can cause considerable damage to compressors. To avoid this, liquid line solenoids placed upstream of the EEV, supercapacitors or battery backups are often used on case controls to force the valves closed during a power outage.
  7. Form a refrigerant plan — managing CO2 is different from what contractors may be accustomed to with traditional HFCs. Operators and contractors alike need to understand the local codes for storing R-744 cylinders (inside or outside the building), and develop an appropriate strategy.
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