The OEM switched from R134a to propane to meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 efficiency standards, which take effect next week.
In order to meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 energy efficiency standards for commercial refrigeration cabinets, Guatemalan OEM Fogel “has to use hydrocarbons,” said Federico Barquero Tefel, the company’s vice-president of commercialization.
Fogel’s 7-cu.-ft. countertop cooler, for example, met the DOE’s 2010 efficiency standard using R134a. “But if we want to use that now, the unit would not pass [the 2017 standard],” he said. “So we went with [propane] and lowered its energy consumption. And that’s just one example.” The DOE’s 2017 standard goes into effect next Monday, March 27.
At the NAFEM Show in Orlando, Fla., last month, Fogel showcased two types of propane merchandisers – the deck line and the split line. The deck line has all of the refrigeration components – compressor, condenser and evaporator – located in one module at the bottom of the unit, while the split line houses the evaporator at the top.
“Over the long run there is a maintenance savings with the deck.”
– Federico Barquero Tefel, Fogel
The deck merchandiser allows the bottom draw containing the refrigeration equipment to be removed for servicing, replaced by another module. Because of that structure, the deck units are 12% to 20% more expensive than the split units. “Over the long run there is a maintenance saving with the deck,” said Tefel. Fogel also reduces maintenance costs by offering spiral condensers with galvanized steel and a layer of electrostatic paint, making them less likely to clog.
Close to half of Fogel’s commercial refrigeration cabinets globally use hydrocarbons, said Tefel; the percentage is lower in the U.S., but growing over the past year. For some of its large beverage manufacturer customers, more than 90% of their purchases are hydrocarbon units.