Export association Asocolflores replaces R22-based system with R290 in a cold storage facility for flowers, achieving energy savings of 20%.
Asocolflores, the association representing flower exporters in Colombia, has replaced an R22-based system with R290 in a cold storage facility for flowers, achieving energy savings of 20%.
Asocolflores used to cool their cold rooms in the Savanna of Bogota with HCFC R22. Seeking to minimise their environmental impact while maintaining high product quality, they converted their cold room for post-harvest processing to R290.
“The Colombian flower industry requires about 31.1 million kW of cooling capacity. 99% of the installations use R22 and the other 1% are R134a, so there is huge potential to convert those to R290.”
– Angélica Antolínez, National Ozone Unit
General features of the cold storage facility:
The performance of the system was analyzed and results showed that R290 provides 10% less of cooling capacity, but increase the Coefficient of Performance (COP) and reduce energy consumption by at least 10%.
To address safety concerns such as system pressure and refrigerant flammability, Asocolfores put in place several measures:
In converting the system, technicians ensured that electrical and refrigeration systems complied with existing regulation in order to eliminate risks associated with refrigerant flammability and changing the compressors to Bitzer semi-hermetic compressors suitable for hydrocarbons.
The system conversion delivered energy savings of 20%. The following table compares system performance:
Source: Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, 2016 Report
Despite the success of the project, Asocolflores encountered challenges during implementation such as a lack of standards and funding mechanisms, a shortage of qualified technicians and difficulties finding local equipment and component suppliers working with R290.