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Posts tagged ‘R-290’

Join Emerson at the Virtual ATMOsphere America Summit

Andre Patenaude | Director – Solutions Integration,

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solution’s Business

In an era shaped by environmental regulations and corporate sustainability initiatives, natural refrigerants have become viable alternatives in the transition away from hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants with high global warming potential (GWP). From the increased adoption of CO2 transcritical booster systems to the prospect of larger R-290 charge limits in self-contained applications, natural refrigerants continue to play ever-expanding roles within the U.S. commercial refrigeration sector. This dynamic landscape will be explored in-depth at the upcoming ATMOsphere America Online Summit on Wednesday, Nov. 3, where Emerson will be showcasing some of its latest natural refrigerant solutions in our virtual booth. Register for the event here.

The 10th edition of ATMOsphere America will be held online, gathering key industry experts, policymakers, end-users and contractors for a free, daylong event where attendees can network with peers and learn about the latest developments in natural refrigerant-based solutions. The program will cover market and technological trends, policy and standards updates, the impact of refrigerants, and end users’ perspectives on their experiences with natural refrigerants.

As a champion for the development of natural refrigerant technologies and a gold sponsor for this year’s event, Emerson is pleased to be hosting a virtual booth at this important industry conference. Not only will it give us an opportunity to highlight some of our new natural refrigerant capabilities, but it will also allow us to speak with industry stakeholders about the many developments that impact the use of natural refrigerants. Highlights will include:

CARB compliance — Under the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) current proposal, the installation of new refrigeration systems containing more than 50 pounds of refrigerant in a new facility must use refrigerants with a GWP rating less than 150. In existing facilities, new installations of systems greater than 50 pounds would be subject to company-wide, fleet GWP reduction targets by 2030 compared to their 2019 baselines. These reductions may be achieved via one of two methods: by reducing the weighted-average GWP (WAGWP) to less than 1,400 GWP, or reducing greenhouse gas potential (GHGp) by 55%. CARB’s proposal could take effect as soon as this January.

R-290 charge limit increases — Recently, the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approved the second edition of the UL 60335-2-89 standard, which raises the charge limits on commercial self-contained, plug-in displays based on whether they have an open or closed design. For open appliances without doors, the maximum charge limit has been raised to 500g; in closed appliances with doors or drawers, the new charge limit is 300g. These higher charge limits will help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to increase system capacities and sizes while capitalizing on R-290’s high efficiency and low GWP. Although additional regulatory approvals and building code updates are needed before these charge increases can fully take effect, this is a critical first step toward wider applicability of R-290.

To support OEMs that develop these self-contained units, Emerson has been producing R-290 compressors and condensing units for many years. Emerson has also been conducting trainings to help contractors and advising OEMs to better understand the new safety considerations for using R-290 to ensure that it can be used safely in these new applications. As manufacturers begin to adopt R-290 systems, they should ensure their systems meet the requirements of UL 60335-2-89 and ASHRAE standard 15.   Today, this portfolio is being updated to accommodate larger charges while expanding into new R-290 qualified products.

New CO2 testing facilities — In addition to Emerson’s CO2 transcritical labs in Europe and at The Helix Innovation Center in Dayton, Ohio, we are currently building new testing labs in our Sidney, Ohio, location. These additions will provide more than 110,000 square feet of engineering and lab space and enable the support of system and component-level testing of CO2 products — including Copeland™ semi-hermetic and scroll compression platforms for CO2 transcritical applications — as well as supporting R-290 and other lower-GWP refrigerant alternatives. In addition, these new test labs will be staffed by dedicated engineering and technician personnel and include testing capabilities for compressors, controls, valves, electronics and supporting components.

To learn more about these policy updates and expanding capabilities, be sure to register for ATMOsphere America’s Online Summit and visit Emerson in our virtual booth.

 

 

 

Copeland™ Horizontal Variable Speed Scroll Compressor Recognized as AHR Award Finalist

Joe Summers | Senior Product Manager – Scrolls & Drives
Emerson’s Commercial & Residential Solutions Business

The Copeland horizontal variable speed scroll compressor (1 to 4 HP) has been recognized as a finalist in the annual AHR Expo (International Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition) Innovation Awards. This competition honors the most inventive heating, ventilating, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) products, systems and technologies. For original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and end-users of self-contained, reach-in coolers and freezers, display cases and walk-in coolers, the Copeland horizontal variable speed scroll compressor delivers an ideal combination of sustainability, reliability and design flexibility.

Balancing the sustainability equation

Today, smaller-format food retail market trends and environmental and energy regulations are driving the transition toward more distributed refrigeration architectures. As more operators deploy flexible self-contained display cases, they also seek lower-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant options and energy-efficient equipment that supports their corporate sustainability objectives.

Meeting these evolving requirements can present significant design challenges for OEMs of self-contained systems. One of the leading strategies for achieving high energy efficiencies or ENERGY STAR® certification relies on the use of large-capacity condenser coils, which can reduce available merchandising space in a display case. As a result, OEMs often place compressors on the top of a case — thereby increasing its overall size, limiting its aesthetic appeal, and creating higher noise levels.

The low-profile Copeland horizontal variable speed scroll compressor solves these known design challenges while delivering significant sustainability, energy efficiency and performance improvements. Available in capacity ranges from 1 to 4 HP, this innovative variable-speed compression solution is ideal for use in a wide variety of self-contained commercial refrigeration applications.

To help end-users comply with refrigerant regulations and/or meet sustainability objectives, the Copeland horizontal variable speed scroll compressor is approved for use with the next generation of lower-GWP refrigerants, including A1 (R-448/49A) and A3 (R-290) which have already been approved, as well as A2Ls in the near future. The recent R-290 charge limit increases approved by Underwriters Laboratories’ (UL) UL 60335-2-89 standard should also set the stage for the use of larger-capacity, R-290 based, self-contained display cases.

In addition, the Copeland horizontal variable speed scroll compressor combines brushless permanent magnet (BPM) motors with our advanced Copeland variable frequency drives (VFDs), EVM series to help OEMs meet the energy efficiency standards set by the Department of Energy (DOE) — even achieving its ENERGY STAR certification.

Benefiting end-users and OEMs

The Copeland horizontal variable speed scroll compressor enables larger capacities in a smaller footprint while delivering proven scroll benefits and the many advantages of variable capacity modulation, including:

  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Improved compressor reliability
  • Precise load matching for higher refrigeration performance
  • Lower noise levels

BPM motors and advanced Copeland VFDs combine to achieve the following performance enhancements:

  • 15% energy reduction compared to an equivalent fixed-speed scroll, per Emerson lab simulations
  • Increased equipment reliability through proactive motor failure prevention
  • Decreased susceptibility to power issues
  • Reduced start/stop events
  • Seamless integration with supervisory control platforms, such as Emerson’s Lumity™ E3 supervisory control

This recent recognition by the AHR Innovation Awards is a validation of our commitment to helping OEMs and end-users address modern refrigeration challenges. The Copeland variable speed horizontal scroll compressor helps OEMs to meet low-profile equipment design challenges while allowing end users to adopt sustainable refrigeration strategies.

As refrigerant regulations evolve, refrigeration architectures will continue to leverage self-contained, distributed systems and utilize lower-GWP refrigerant alternatives. By integrating a Copeland horizontal variable speed scroll compressor in their self-contained, reach-in coolers and freezers, display cases and walk-ins, OEMs can significantly improve system energy efficiency and performance

Long-awaited R-290 Charge Increase Opens New Refrigeration Opportunities

Katrina Krites | Director of Strategic Marketing, Cold Chain

Emerson’s Commercial and Residential Solutions Business

For many years, the use of flammable refrigerants — such as A3 hydrocarbon R-290 (or propane) — has been a keen area of collective focus among the regulatory bodies governing refrigerant safety standards in commercial refrigeration. Offering excellent energy efficiencies and very low global warming potential (GWP), this natural refrigerant has long been approved for use in applications with a maximum charge limit of 150 grams. Recently, the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) has approved the second edition of its UL 60335-2-89 standard, which includes higher R-290 charge limits that would expand its potential uses in commercial refrigeration.

To date, R-290’s 150-gram charge limit has hindered its wider adoption, narrowing its use to self-contained refrigeration cases or requiring the use of multiple condensing units to achieve higher capacities. The updated UL standard raises the charge limits on these commercial stand-alone displays based on whether they have an open or closed design:

  • 500-gram maximum charge limit in open appliances (without doors)
  • 300-gram maximum charge limit in closed appliances (with doors or drawers)

The 500-gram charge in open appliances raises the limit to 13 times the lower flammability limit (LFL) of R-290, while the 300-gram charge limit in closed appliances is eight times that of R-290’s LFL.

From an application design perspective, these higher charge limits will help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to increase system capacities while capitalizing on R-290’s high efficiency and low-GWP rating (GWP=3). For contractors, consultants and end-users seeking to meet sustainability objectives or comply with refrigerant regulations, self-contained R-290 cases have become integral to their overall refrigeration strategies.

The first step toward wider adoption

The approved update to the UL 60335-2-89 standard is a key first step in the path toward wider R-290 adoption in commercial refrigeration. Although OEMs should begin planning their design cycles to enable these charge increases, other regulatory approvals will need to take place before higher-charge R-290 systems can be implemented throughout the U.S. and Canada. Pending approvals by other governing bodies include:

  • Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program
  • American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) 15 safety standards for refrigeration systems
  • Model Code updates in the upcoming code revision cycle
  • State and local building code updates

 

For many U.S. industry insiders, the R-290 charge limit increase represents a logical next step in the progression of this natural refrigerant. Even prior to the UL approval, some sustainably-minded operators have worked with their local building code administrators to implement systems with higher charges of R-290. In addition, a 500-gram R-290 charge limit has been in place in Europe since 2019, when the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) approved the increase under its IEC 60335-2-89 standard for self-contained commercial display cases.

R-290 ready compressors and condensing units

For years, Emerson has been producing compressors and condensing units, designed to deliver additional merchandising space for OEMs that develop self-contained R-290 refrigeration equipment. Our current R-290 compression portfolio includes:

  • Copeland™ fixed speed hermetic reciprocating compressors
  • Copeland variable speed hermetic reciprocating compressors and variable frequency drives (VFDs)
  • Copeland fixed speed scroll compressors
  • Copeland variable speed scroll compressors and variable frequency drives (VFDs)
  • Copeland M-Line condensing units
  • Controllers and system components approved for use with R-290

In addition, we’re currently expanding upon our R-290 qualified products to include the following compressors and condensing units, which will be available in 2022:

  • Copeland horizontal fixed speed scroll compressors
  • Copeland horizontal variable speed scroll compressor
  • Corresponding condensing units utilizing new horizontal scrolls

Our R-290 product portfolio will be updated to accommodate the larger R-290 charges that will be adopted in the future.

Preparing for the future of R-290

After years of speculation, the commercial refrigeration industry in the U.S. can begin planning for the use of systems with larger charges of R-290 — enabling higher-capacity refrigeration while benefiting from R-290’s proven efficiencies and lower-GWP rating. Emerson is prepared to support this transition by developing partnering with OEMs and stakeholders to design in higher R-290 charge limit solutions to achieve regulatory compliance, fulfill their sustainability objectives, and reduce energy consumption.

While there are challenges to the implementation of propane, for environmentally forward-leaning companies, it is an increasingly attractive option. While new clarity in the regulatory environment should help to clear the way for wider R-290 adoption, the implementation of industry-wide safety practices will be necessary for propane to gain full adoption.

Propane is more combustible than some HFCs and there are a number of special-use considerations for using it in refrigeration applications. Some examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Sealed/gas-tight or fire-/explosion-proof electrical components (UL471/EN 60079-15)
  • Spark-free fan motors (brushless)
  • Ventilation and leak sensor safety measures
  • Special charge and leak detection processes during manufacturing

It’s also important to note that while propane has tremendous potential in commercial refrigeration, it is not a “drop-in” refrigerant. Equipment and components must be specifically designed for use with propane, as it requires a different compressor that will not always directly match the capacity or cost of existing HFC models.

Please reference any applicable product and application safety standards for the detailed list of considerations.

Earth Day and Refrigerants: A Look Back — and Forward

Jennifer_Butsch Jennifer Butsch | Regulatory Affairs Manager

Emerson Commercial & Residential Solutions

It’s Earth Day, which means we should all take a minute to reflect on how we can do our part to make the planet a greener place. In the world of commercial refrigeration, environmental initiatives and sustainability best practices typically focus on limiting the harmful effects of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. When these refrigerants leak into the atmosphere via direct emissions, their environmental impacts can be measured in terms of ozone depletion potential (ODP) and global warming potential (GWP).

But when considering the total equivalent warming impact (TEWI) of commercial refrigeration systems, direct emissions are only part of the equation. TEWI also considers indirect impacts, or the greenhouse gases generated from the energy consumed to run these systems — estimated to represent as much as 95 percent of the total climate impact. At Emerson, we take both energy efficiency and refrigerant GWP into consideration to evaluate the full lifecycle climate performance (LCCP) of a system and its fluids.

Montreal Protocol to complete R-22 phaseout

Today, most global refrigerant regulations are focused on phasing down high-GWP HFCs. But it’s important to remember that these activities have a precedent that’s more than three decades old. In 1987, the Montreal Protocol treaty aimed to phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODS), such as the commonly used HCFC, R-22. This global treaty was since ratified by 197 countries, including the United States, Canada and Mexico, all of whom have followed its recommended phaseout schedule.

The next step in this process will take place in 2020, when the production and import of R-22 will no longer be allowed under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Act. It may come as a surprise to some, but there are still untold operators with older refrigeration systems that are currently charged with R-22. Unlike smartphones and other commodities that we change or upgrade every year,  commercial refrigeration equipment can have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years. This phaseout will likely lead to an increase in system retrofits in the near term, especially as operators exhaust their supplies of R-22.

Thankfully, there’s a good deal of evidence that since the removal of ozone-depleting substances from the environment began, the ozone layer is on the mend. Some estimates state that the ozone hole above Antarctica could close by the 2060s.

HFCs targeted for global warming potential

As the HCFC phaseout began decades ago, the industry transitioned to HFCs with very low ODP. Unfortunately, many of these have since been discovered to have varying degrees of GWP. In fact, the most common HFC used in commercial refrigeration is R-404A, which has a GWP of 3,922 and is considered on the high end of the GWP scale. It’s no surprise then that it was among the first refrigerants to be targeted for phasedown under the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) rules 20 and 21.

But per the 2018 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals, the EPA no longer has the authority to regulate the use of refrigerants based on their GWP under the framework of the Clean Air Act. While we expect the EPA to soon provide clarity on the future of its HFC initiatives, there currently is no federal mechanism through which the proposed phasedown of high-GWP refrigerants will take place.

In the meantime, California has adopted the original EPA SNAP framework into law, and as of January 1, R-404A and R-507A are no longer allowable in many new commercial refrigeration applications. California is just one of 23 states or territories in the U.S. Climate Alliance that are making commitments to enforce similar climate protection initiatives. Currently, this growing alliance represents half of the U.S. population and more than 50 percent of the national GWP.

Globally, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol seeks to expand the treaty’s scope from just ozone protection to addressing global warming by phasing down short-lived climate pollutants, including HFCs. While this amendment has yet to be ratified by the United States, it has achieved the required ratification of 20 member countries to take force — including Canada and the United Kingdom, among others. For participating countries, the Kigali Amendment took effect on January 1.

Exploring the alternatives

Because regulatory variances occur from state to region to country, there are vastly different levels of environmental awareness throughout our industry. While operators in California are cognizant of the state’s efforts to phase down HFCs, there are many U.S. areas where transitioning to lower-GWP refrigerants isn’t as high of a priority.

Regardless, many top retailers have begun the process of exploring low-GWP refrigerant options as part of their sustainability objectives. Not only do they have retrofit plans in place, some are even trialing alternative refrigerant architectures in their stores — with hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), HFO/HFC blends and natural refrigerants as leading options.

There are relatively minimal retrofit requirements when moving from R-404A to R-448A/R-449A — both A1 HFC/HFO blends — such as adding compressor cooling and other minor system changes. For a greenfield location or a complete system overhaul of an existing site, operators may consider one of many emerging low-GWP options, including:

  • Low-charge ammonia chillers on the roof
  • A2L (mildly flammable) blends in chillers on the roof and machine rooms
  • Distributed, small-charge systems with both A1 and A2L refrigerants
  • R-290 integrated cases outfitted with micro-distributed systems
  • CO2 transcritical and/or cascade systems using CO2 for low temperatures, and an HFO (or lower-GWP HFC) for medium temperatures

 

Refrigerant management best practices

As always, proper refrigerant management practices are important, regardless of the type of refrigerant used. Operators should start with a documented leak detection plan that includes the necessary tools and early-detection methods to identify and quickly respond to leaks. Leaks are not only bad for the environment; they also degrade refrigeration performance and system energy efficiencies.

With the new class of refrigerants, it’s especially important that technicians are trained to understand proper handling, charging and performance characteristics. In addition, as systems charged with higher-GWP HFCs eventually reach the end of their lifespans, it’s critical that service technicians follow proper recovery and disposal protocols.

Earth Day is a good time to reflect on the environmental progress our industry has made. At Emerson, we’ll continue to support sustainability objectives with compressors, components and systems that are both environmentally responsible and economically viable.

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.

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