A central England Co-op was looking for a solution with the lowest possible GWP (global warming potential) that would maintain the advantages of the familiar HFCs in terms of ease of installation and maintenance, cost efficiency, safety, and energy efficiency, and concluded that Opteon XL20, with a GWP of 148, could satisfy each of these requirements.
This is the first of two trial stores featuring A2L technologies. It has come about through collaboration between Central England Co-Operative, Chemours, and a team of stakeholders within the refrigeration industry, all focused on ensuring that the newly designed store meets long-term sustainability and GWP requirements of the F-gas Regulation, while also complying with necessary codes and standards for A2L refrigerants
Having recognised the significant changes occurring in the industry, the retailer is developing a robust 10-year F-Gas strategy. Central England Co-Operative already has experience retrofitting existing R404A systems to mid-range <1500 GWP HFO blends. The company is comfortable with the operating characteristics of these systems and has seen the energy-efficiency gains from these retrofits.
The objective of this new store installation is to achieve even lower GWP levels without sacrificing energy efficiency or overall system performance, as any increase in indirect emissions from increased power consumption would greatly reduce any net gain from lowering the refrigerant GWP.
Chemours, which supplied the refrigerant and technical support; Emerson, which supplied compressors; PureCold, which supplied A2L-ready cabinets; and Space Engineering, which constructed a dual discharge refrigeration pack suitable for A2L refrigerant applications in a retail environment, are the key stakeholders. They each committed to the success of the installation. The design was created according to the guidance in EN378 and installed by Oak Refrigeration following a rigorous risk assessment from Cool Concerns, a consultant, to ensure safe use in this type of application.
Luke Collins, managing director of Oak Refrigeration, observed: 'We found the installation to be straightforward and commissioning went smoothly and without incident using R454C set-up data provided by Chemours and with support from engineering consultants, Wave, to optimise the system to give best energy performance.'
Kevin Collins, head of Facilities at Central England Co-Operative, commented: ''This ground-breaking installation proves that we can have a sustainable, long-term solution to meet our corporate strategy without compromising performance and efficiency and, at best, cost. Other low GWP solutions considered, such as propane secondary and CO2 booster systems, were excluded as these did not meet our selection criteria.'
Murli Sukhwani, regional business director, Fluorochemicals, EMEA, said: 'The adoption of Opteon XL20 (R454C) by the Central England Co-Op shows that this technology is a viable and credible solution for commercial retail and will act as a signpost to other end-users as the European F-gas regulations continue to move the HVACR industry to more environmentally sustainable solutions that Opteon XL A2L HFO refrigerants from Chemours are the ideal long-term solution to maximise environmental and economic benefits.'