Frascold – a leading player in the development, production and marketing of semi-hermetic, piston and screw compressors for the refrigeration and air conditioning industry – highlights the importance of identifying alternative technologies to HFC, considering numerous aspects, including energy consumption, one of the priority issues within the scope of the Montreal Protocol and a factor which has an exceptional impact on the refrigeration sector. The 38th Informatory Note on Refrigeration Technologies published by the International Institute of Refrigeration, indicates that no less than 20% of the electricity used globally is used in this sector*.
The choice of the ideal coolant for each application is the result of the correct balancing of a number of factors, including efficiency, security, ease of use, sustainability, performance, costs and the availability of gas on the market, as well as its adequacy for the type of use. The F gas regulation, the Kigali Amendment, as well as the standards implemented at national level, are projecting the industry towards an increasingly widespread use of coolants with a low GWP (Global Warming Potential). Frascold is committed, in this sense, to supplying investments in Research and Development, with the aim of generating added value for its Customers.
THE GLOBAL SCENARIO
Practical actions have already been taken at global level to dramatically reduce the production and consumption of HFCs. In detail, in 2019, the Kigali Amendment, ratified by 92 countries plus the European Union, envisaged the commencement of the phase down in the developed countries, to be followed by a launch phase in developing countries in 2024 (e.g.: China, Brazil and South Africa) and in 2028 (e.g.: India and the Gulf Countries), with a view to consuming no more than 15-20%** of the respective basic quotas by 2047. By virtue of the F-gas regulation, which has been in force now since 2015, Europe is in the frontline in the implementation of alternative solutions, aiming to achieve ambitious and more restrictive goals by 2030. For example, the sale of fixed refrigeration systems containing or operating with HFCs with a GWP of 2,500 or more was banned from the 1st of January 2020, with the exception of a few cases envisaged by law.
THE SUSTAINABLE TURNAROUND: THE FRASCOLD APPROACH
The demand for refrigeration and air-conditioning systems is growing constantly. This makes identifying non-climate-altering alternatives or those characterised by a low GWP, which permit the observance of the obligations envisaged by the regulations, a priority. In this sense, Frascold takes a leading role and invests in research and development for the definition of new standards in terms of reliability, performance and efficiency. The Company devotes extensive resources to improving its wide range, to overcome market challenges and place the customer’s individual requirements at the centre of its strategy. Frascold already offers alternatives to R404A and R507A, among the first gases to be subject to restrictions, and flanks solutions that use natural coolants, such as hydrocarbons (HC) or CO2, with HFOs, for a broad range of applications in single, multi-compressor and cascade systems.
THE MAIN ADVANTAGES OF HCs
The interest in hydrocarbons falls within the scope of the requirements of international regulations: HCs, which have zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and a minimal GWP are becoming a valid option in both the refrigeration and air-conditioning sectors. They are almost all non-toxic, with excellent thermodynamic properties compared to R404A, for example, and are comparable to, and in some cases better, than HFCs in the majority of applications. They are also more efficient and have a lower operational pressure which, over time, guarantees less stress on the equipment and a longer life of the compressor. Another advantage of the most popular hydrocarbons on the market is their compatibility with oils and the standard material used with HFCs. These coolants are included under safety classification A3 and must be managed by qualified personnel. Using advanced technology, the technical team has designed different ranges of screw and cylinder compressors which are very safe, highly reliable and efficient, and with a minimal environmental impact, for use with the main HCs (R290, R1270, R600a, etc.), made in compliance with the requirements of the European ATEX 2014/34/EU directive (group 2) and suitable for use with the hydrocarbons belonging to group IIB as coolant.
THE MAIN ADVANTAGES OF CO2
To date, the most reliable natural coolant is carbon dioxide. Firstly, it ensures numerous benefits from an environmental point of view, with an ODP of zero and a GWP of 1. Non-toxic and non-flammable, it also has beneficial thermophysical properties, including an excellent heat transferral coefficient, reduced sensitivity to losses in pressure and an extremely low viscosity. Systems running on CO2 offer high performance levels thanks to a better thermal exchange than R404A, reduced pumping power when CO2 is used as secondary fluid and the possibility to operate with a very low condensation pressure, mainly in cold climatic conditions. These characteristics ensure that CO2 installations are more efficient than those running on HFC. In addition, the efficiency of the entire R744 system can be improved, if the application allows, thanks to thermal recovery of heat for use in heating. Frascold markets a complete range of compressors for subcritical and transcritical CO2 systems, a field in which it has years of experience. The range is growing constantly to meet the latest demands in terms of industrial and commercial refrigeration and heat pumps. Frascold solutions boast a minimum oil drag, thanks to an exclusive piston design, characterised by three sealing rings and a fourth oil scraper ring, to guarantee maximum reliability and efficiency. Lastly, these compressors are distinguished by their low vibration level, for smoother running and minimum noise levels.
THE MAIN ADVANTAGES OF HFOs
International regulations have stimulated the search for alternative coolants with similar capacity, energy consumption and thermodynamic characteristics (like the compressor delivery temperature) to the gases currently used most on the market, but with a significantly reduced GWP. In this sense, HFOs too are sustainable solutions in the HFC elimination process. They perfectly combine cost reduction, performance, low carbon footprint and safety, offering outstanding total cost of ownership. Thanks to their minimal direct and indirect emissions they are extremely efficient and guarantee considerable savings in terms of running costs. They also ensure easy integration in the case of retrofit or new installations, avoiding investments for the ex novo introduction of systems with other technologies, reducing training requirements for engineers and fitters. Lastly, they are distinguished by low levels of toxicity and flammability, making them suitable for all kinds of applications. Frascold works in partnership with the leading players in the sector and carries out tests and pilot projects with a variety of new options from among the cutting-edge synthetic coolants, simultaneously verifying the need for upgrades to the components and oils used.
“Frascold flanks its customers in tackling the challenges posed by international measures, combining its vast range of semi-hermetic, piston and screw compressors with training programmes and an excellent advisory service. A proactive approach, to raise awareness on the market and accompany the players in the sector in the selection of the best combination between Frascold’s high-performance solutions and the cooling gas best suited to each application, in observance of all the criteria mentioned above.” declares Livio Calabrese, Sales & Marketing Director of Frascold, who adds “Special attention should be focused today on natural coolants and HFOs: thanks to their numerous benefits, they ensure the respect of the limits indicated by the Kigali Amendment, by the F-gas Regulation and by the carbon tax applicable in various countries in compliance with the European Ecodesign directive.”