A hydrocarbon refrigeration system was shown by manufacturers of the technology to yield better cost savings compared to HFC-based systems during a presentation at ATMOsphere America 2018 in Long Beach, Calif.

Doug Schmidt of Italy-based Rivacold presented a “new long-term sustainable solution that combines the advantages of a natural refrigerant and a closed water loop system” at the natural refrigerants conference (June 12-14 2018).

The system, using R290, is mounted on a ceiling to provide cooling for a cold room in a supermarket. Recent testing comparing the system to an R404A (HFC) system shows it can yield annual electricity bill savings of nearly $1,000, a reduction in energy consumption of up to 20%, according to Schmidt.

Further testing in a German supermarket with an 6,900 sq. ft. cold room with five of the low-temperature closed R290 waterloop mounted systems reveals a 35% better coefficient of performance (COP) than R404A and over $5,000 savings per year. 

By combining both the direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions saved through using the R290 system over the R404A system, the retailer’s emission savings equate to 29 cars being taken off the road for a year.

Similarly, a new refrigerator for medical equipment produced by Indiana, United States-based Helmer Scientifc and with the new FMX platform (variable speed compressor) from Brazil-based Embraco also reveals significant energy savings meaning less electricity costs for the end user.

“We reduced energy consumption by 55%” compared to an R134a medical refrigerator”, said John Prall, ‎applications engineer, Embraco. “Sound power was reduced by 14dB, totalling now 45dB, which makes it comparable with technology not using a compressor.”

“One cabinet saves about $330 per year“ in electricity costs, he said.

Embraco predicts that converting 1,000 cabinets from an HFC to a R600a system would translate into greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 278,947 fewer gallons of gasoline consumed and 6,075,980 fewer miles driven by an average passenger vehicle a year. 

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