ACR-News
31 July 2019

Star helps green cheese

Star Refrigeration has helped a world class cheese spread manufacturer upgrade its refrigeration plant to comply with F-gas regulations. The company has overseen the replacement of two refrigeration plants serving Primula’s principal cheese store facility in Team Valley in Gateshead, near Newcastle.

Star Refrigeration condensing unit.

As the UK and Europe continue to phase down harmful refrigerants in an attempt to slow global warming, plants across the UK require upgrading to remain compliant. Star successfully transitioned the plant from R422D – which will soon become untenable under new F-Gas Regulations – to the more future-proofed R513A. 

The two businesses have been in a successful partnership for over 15 years, and in 2008 Star had already converted the original R22 plants to enable operation with R422D refrigerant which extended the life of the plants by over 10 years.

From 01 January 2020, the EU will introduce a service ban on all refrigerants with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of over 2500. Since R422D has a GWP of 2729, it would have become problematic to Primula to continue running their cheese store. This, in conjunction with the age of the plant, prompted Primula to opt for a complete replacement of the two plants to achieve regulatory compliance, optimise efficiency and ensure its viability going forward.

Star replaced the plants with new equipment using a refrigerant with a far lower GWP. In this instance Star determined that R513A has a comparatively low GWP of just 631, which is well below the 2500 threshold and should ensure the plant remains viable in its current state for the foreseeable future.

The solution involved the supply and installation of two independent plants, each comprising of a single bespoke manufactured air-cooled condensing unit and four draw-through evaporators. The condensing units incorporate a single semi-hermetic reciprocating compressor mounted within weatherproof housing and an air-cooled condenser with extended legs designed for vertical air throw. 

Matt Cumming, facilities manager at Primula, said: “Star’s commitment to ensuring our business is fully compliant with F-gas regulations and their willingness to share their expertise helped us install a commercially viable refrigeration solution which will have considerable benefits both in terms of environmental impact and efficiency. The new installation means we are well-placed to continue to serve the needs of our customers across the UK for years to come”.

One of the key challenges of the project was that all work had to be carried out within normal business hours, but had to focus on one plant at a time to ensure continuity of operation with no downtime maintained. Star scheduled the projects to take place in the first quarter of 2019 to take advantage of low ambient temperatures and reduce the workload on the one operational plant while the other was being replaced.

Additionally, Star made every effort to provide a solution that increased Primula’s competitive advantage with the use of components that qualified for Enhanced Capital Allowance and could afford the customer tax breaks for its use of energy-efficient technology. 

The plant was designed with efficiency in mind and comprised of energy saving technology such as electronic expansion valves, condenser EC fans and evaporator controllers equipped with skip-defrost functionality to avoid defrosting when unnecessary. It’s estimated that this functionality could help the company achieve savings of up to £6000 per annum. 

The successful supply and installation of the new plant has provided Primula with a reliable, energy-efficient solution which will save them money in the short-term and comply with international legislation in the medium to long term. 

Star’s Newcastle branch proximity to Primula’s site, at less than 10 miles away, allowed the project to run smoothly, on time and on budget. The branch’s seven qualified industrial refrigeration service engineers and two apprentices will ensure the plant is properly maintained for years to come whilst on hand to respond to any queries or concerns.

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