Foodservice equipment OEM Delfield, a division of Mount Pleasant, Mich.-based Welbilt, is showcasing it first custom combined heating/refrigeration unit that includes propane (R290) refrigerant at the NAFEM Show in Orlando, Fla., this week.

Rebranded as the EcoMark counter with prep, the unit is “the most environmentally friendly version we have ever manufactured,” said Marcy Mathews, director, product management-global Delfield, which supplies foodservice operators.

The base of the EcoMark unit incorporates Delfield’s GreenGenius R290 refrigeration technology, which the company now uses throughout its line of foodservice refrigeration and freezer equipment.

The R290 equipment is able to coexist with a hot food wells because “any areas that could result in a spark are completely sealed,” said Mathews.

The previous version of the heating/refrigeration unit, the Mark 7, used R404A. “We see a 10-15% efficiency increase with R290,” Mathews said, which the company attributes to just the refrigerant change

The EcoMark unit also cuts energy consumption by 77% by using 500-watt heating elements for the hot food wells rather than the conventional 1,000-1,200 watts, Mathews said.

The R290 unit is “cost neutral” compared to the R404A unit, and the latter may be going up in price because of “supply and demand,” she said. “We know R290 is the right thing going forward.”

Sara Sunderman-Kirby, Delfield’s product manager, noted that Delfield’s foodservice customer base has “gotten over” any initial concerns about hydrocarbons they may have had when Delfield converted its product base to R290 in 2016. “We haven’t heard anything bad” from service technicians” whom the company trains to handle R290.

Mathews noted that the mullion-style evaporator calls are located in the middle of the refrigeration space, which allows “even distribution” of air flow and increases space for products.

“ We know R290 is the right thing going forward.”

Marcy Mathews, Delfield

Want to find out more, or have something to say about this story? Join the ATMO Connect network to meet and engage with like-minded stakeholders in the clean cooling and natural refrigerant arena.