Continuous Cooling – a technology developed by Lithuanian refrigeration manufacturer Freor and Italian component producer Carel – can reduce the energy consumption of commercial refrigerated cabinets by up to 70% compared to traditional control systems, according to Rytis Bernatonis, CEO and Founder of Freor.
The technology, which is available for all of Freor’s propane (R290)-based refrigeration equipment, combines an inverter compressor with an advanced controller to adjust compressor speed based on the temperature inside a cabinet, enhancing efficiency, explains the manufacturer on its website.
By regulating the speed of the compressor, Continuous Cooling can optimize temperature control and minimize fluctuations in cabinet temperature to no more than 0.5°C (0.9°F), it says.
The technology was first introduced about a year ago, Bernatonis explained in an interview at the EuroShop trade show in March. The majority of installations are in Switzerland (Migros), as well as some in Scandinavia (Kesko Group) and Lithuania.
A large driver in demand for Continuous Cooling is reducing energy consumption, which has become increasingly important for customers, he said.
“Switzerland is a leading country regarding environmental sustainability and energy consumption,” he added. “They’re not just looking at the financial impacts; they’re looking at doing the right thing.”
‘Amazing’ energy savings
With Continuous Cooling, the unit’s compressor is always running, albeit at a very low frequency when capacity is not needed.
Compared to standard refrigeration units and systems, where compressors either operate at one fixed speed or they turn on and off at different temperature set points, Continuous Cooling, with its controller’s “advanced algorithm” and the efficiency of all the system’s components, optimizes energy use.
“The reduction in energy consumption is amazing,” said Bernatonis. “In frozen-food cabinets, we see energy use reduced by 70%, and in medium-temperature cases, energy savings can be up to 30%.”
“The reduction in energy consumption is amazing. In frozen-food cabinets, we see energy use reduced by 70%, and in medium-temperature cases, energy savings can be up to 30%.”Rytis Bernatonis, Freor
He also noted that Continuous Cooling can minimize defrosting requirements, which contributes to energy savings.
These results were gathered following testing of the system in Freor’s ISO-certified laboratory. According to Freor, energy consumption is likely to vary under different environmental conditions.
In addition to energy savings, the stable temperatures achieved with Continuous Cooling also help to maximize the quality and freshness of produce.
When used with Freor’s Hydroloop system, refrigerated cabinets can feed into an integrated system to provide space heating and cooling as well as hot water. This approach can cost around 50% less than installing a separate HVAC system, said Bernatonis.
For cases using Continuous Cooling, which produce very little waste heat due to efficient energy use, heat recovery requires a heat pump to raise the 26°C (78.8°F) of the water loop to 50°C (122°F) for space heating and hot water production. In the summer, when air-conditioning may be required, the heat pump can be reversed to provide space cooling.
According to Bernatonis, roughly five supermarkets have opted for a fully-integrated HVAC&R system with Freor.
Larger charge limits
As more countries adopt the new safety standards for propane and other flammable refrigerants in commercial refrigeration, Bernatonis noted that system efficiency will improve even further.
“With one compressor and one evaporator – compared to multiple circuits in each cabinet – everything will run smoother.”