New round of case studies selected for ATMOsphere Europe 2015

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The ATMOspere Review Panel has announced its second round selection of case studies for ATMOsphere Europe 2015. Emerson Climate Technologies, Huayi Compressor Barcelona, Green & Cool, the Danish Technological Institute, Johnson Controls, boostHEAT and ENEA will be presenting their innovative natural refrigerant technology case studies at the 6th annual conference, which will take place on 16 & 17 March in Brussels, Belgium.

The following case studies have been selected for presentation at ATMOsphere Europe 2015. A final 3rd round of selections will be announced next week.

Commercial Refrigeration

Hydrocarbons – a viable natural refrigerant solution for medium temperature commercial refrigeration applications by Venugopal Kandi, Emerson Climate Technologies

The commercial refrigeration industry in Europe has recently been experiencing several changes in terms of system architectures and refrigerants. European regulations such as the F-Gas Regulation and system architectures like medium temperature self-contained display cases (plug-ins) are accelerating the transition of the commercial refrigeration industry to natural refrigerants.

The market is accepting the use of R744 (CO2) refrigerant for commercial refrigeration equipment quite well. In addition, hydrocarbons, due to their excellent thermodynamic properties, are attractive and being considered for commercial refrigeration applications. Hydrocarbons are already widely used in low temperature self-contained display cases. The use of hydrocarbons can be extended to medium temperature applications including decentralized commercial refrigeration equipment i.e. self-contained display cases, hydrocarbon indirect systems, condensing units and small cascade systems. The use of hydrocarbons in self-contained display cases results in achieving the required cooling capacities with less refrigerant charge and smaller displacement compressors. In indirect systems, the use of hydrocarbons allows placing a natural refrigerant in the primary circuit. These systems are ideal for convenience stores and small retail applications in both cold and warmer climates.

New to the market, Emerson Climate Technologies’ R290 scroll compressors make it possible to use hydrocarbons in these applications. The design of the fixed and variable speed compressors takes all safety aspects into consideration to guarantee the safe operation of the refrigeration systems with the flammable refrigerant. In addition to the compressor, a full range of flow controls and electronic controllers for hydrocarbon systems are available. The availability of R290 scrolls for medium temperature systems makes hydrocarbons an attractive solution for convenience and small retail applications, in which total system cost, compactness and low noise are highly desirable.

The presentation will discuss a refrigeration manufacturer in central Europe who is conducting a field trial with R290 self-contained display cases equipped with Emerson Climate Technologies scroll compressors, flow controls and electronic controllers. Other refrigeration system manufacturers are prototyping and field testing hydrocarbon indirect systems and cascade systems. Real life references for these system architectures i.e. self-contained display cases and hydrocarbon indirect systems are will be presented, looking at advantages, challenges and key lessons learned.

The lowest energy consumption when using propane LBP fixed speed compressors in a light commercial refrigeration freezer by Vicente Guilabert, Huayi Compressor Barcelona

Huayi Compressor Barcelona has a longstanding history in designing, manufacturing and selling hydrocarbon compressors for light commercial refrigeration applications. Recently, the company launched its new U range for light commercial freezers. The case study will discuss real experiences testing an existing freezer LBP, highlighting the complete system energy savings realised due to the R290 U range LBP as an alternative to the previous L range and as an alternative to competing compressors.

An energy consumption test has shown energy savings of up to 25% (without considering variable speed motor compressor technologies). These energy savings and improved COP translate into environmental benefits with a considerable reduction of CO2 emissions due to the lower energy requirements.

CDUs with CO2 seen in the light of the F-Gas and ECO design directives by Christian Heerup, Danish Technological Institute

With the implementation of the F-Gas directive, it is expected that the successful introduction of CO2 to supermarkets will kindle interest in expanding the use of CO2 refrigeration with the application of condensing units (CDUs). This will also open the market outside the supermarket sector to the long-term environmentally friendly alternative to greenhouse gasses such as the HFCs. With two European manufacturers of CO2 CDUs and several Japanese companies supplying units in a similar capacity range to their home market, it is expected that a fair share of the European food industry’s refrigeration needs will be addressed with the CO2 technology in the future.

While the performance for larger installations has been verified and reported on several times with very good results, it has been speculated that smaller units might have problems with meeting the efficiency levels of their HFC competitors. Addressing this issue with a minimum level for the seasonal efficiency (SEPR) for CDUs, the ECO design directive is expected to enter into force starting the 1st of July 2015. A project supported by the Danish EPA concerning CO2 CDUs has facilitated the first test of the SEPR at DTI of a medium temperature CO2 CDU. This first generation CO2 CDU from the Danish manufacturer Advansor exceeds the minimum level and meets the second threshold level expected to be enforced in 2018. This result will be compared to the calculated values for HFC CDUs and the potentials and the challenges will be discussed.

Industrial Refrigeration

Solutions for Fribin, meat processing in Spain by Johnson Controls

In order to improve the quality of the production and reduce long-term operational costs, Fribin sought operational reliability through carefully controlled temperature facilities. By reducing the production and energy costs, Fribin would increase its competitiveness and its green credentials. Reliable equipment would prevent product contamination and reinforce employee's safety in case of a leakage.

The Johnson Controls Engineering team has worked closely with the Fribin Engineering and Maintenance team on a solution saving up to 2.600.000 kilowatt a year and realising 380.000 euro savings. Improving the overall performance of the plant, the new equipment allows Fribin to deliver top-quality meat to its customers and provide a safe working environment to its employees.

Heat pumps

boostHEAT natural gas-fuelled CO2 heat pump by Michael Miranda, boostHEAT

boostHEAT presents the Heat Pump Boiler.  A very efficient and renewable heating and domestic hot water system for the home, fuelled by natural gas and renewable energy. Providing an annual efficiency of 175% for domestic hot water and heating (high temperature heating 55°C), from an air-source heat pump, without the need for expensive geothermal wells or solar panels.

The Heat Pump Boiler uses a new technology, the boostHEAT Thermal Compressor to activate an air-water CO2 heat pump. The boostHEAT Thermal Compressor uses thermal energy provided by a burner, instead of mechanical energy, to increase the pressure of the heat pump working fluid. The boostHEAT compressor activates a thermal compression cycle at a high temperature and without mechanical power transmission, so that the pressure cycle is the result of the thermal cycle. This feature also offers another unique technological advantage: the system undergoes very little wear, thereby achieving a long lifetime while running oil-free and maintenance-free.

With the Thermal Compressor, boostHEAT has developed a new generation of very efficient and renewable heating, hot water and cooling systems for residential and commercial buildings. The case study will cover the characteristics and potential of the Heat Pump Boiler, the technology and test results. GDF SUEZ CRIGEN (GDF SUEZ Centre for Research and Innovation in Gas and New Energies) will field test the 20kW residential heating and domestic hot water units in 2015 and at least two units will be installed in Southern France.

Development of CO2 heat pump for DHW production suitable for European climates by Raniero Trinchieri and Andrea Calabrese, ENEA

This study presents the results of the first experimental campaign on a 30 kW air source heat pump prototype for domestic hot water production within the NxtHPG (Next Heat Pump Generation) European project. One of objectives of the project is the development of reliable, safe, high capacity CO2 heat pumps having high efficiency (10-20% more than the current state of the art HFCs/HFOs or sorption heat pumps), low Carbon footprint (20% improvement in TEWI) and costs very similar or only slightly higher than existing systems (10%).

The tested CO2 heat pump is designed to produce water at 60/80°C starting from a return temperature in the range 10/55°C (winter conditions) and 20/55°C (summer conditions). The air temperature was set during the experiments in the range -7°C/+35°C. For the execution of the experimental campaign, which was conducted at the test facility “Calorimeter ENEA”, the prototype was instrumented with temperature and pressure sensors, mass flow meters and an electrical power measuring device so that component performances and the COP of heat pump could be evaluated.

Data analysis have shown that the tested prototype has a good efficiency, in accordance with simulations, at low outdoor temperatures (e.g. approximatively 2.75 measured COP to bring water to 60°C from 10°C with ambient temperature at -7ºC), but it has a lower efficiency than simulations at high ambient temperatures (e.g. approximatively 3.5 measured COP to bring water to 65°C from 17°C with ambient temperature at 16ºC). Using a simulation model implemented in MATLAB, the effect of some possible improvements, regarding primarily certain components and optimization of gas cooler pressure control as a function of working conditions, were evaluated. The simulation shows the possibility of improving performances, in terms of COP by 12-15%. This prevision will be verified in the next experimental campaign (scheduled for next summer) on modified prototype.

Other applications (ice rinks)

First transcritical CO2 ice rink in Europe by Kent Hofmann, Green & Cool and Jörgen Rogstam, Energi & Kylanalys

The newly renovated ice rink in Gimo, Sweden, began operation in September 2014 with a new energy management system based on transcritical CO2 refrigeration. This put the new and improved ice rink on the map as the first in Europe to use pure CO2 technology. Ice rinks consume large amounts of energy, with the average usage of a Swedish rink weighing in at around 1 000 000 kWh per year. Typically, the refrigeration system, usually with a cooling capacity around 300-350 kW, is the main contributor, using about 43% of the total energy. Today, nearly all ice rinks in Sweden use ammonia/brine systems. A few use CO2 as the secondary refrigerant in place of brine; however, still using ammonia as the primary refrigerant. CO2 technology is near ideal in ice rink applications due to the combined cooling and heating need. Reduced energy usage, mainly due to heat reclaim, will be the dominating savings factor for the ice rink owner, together with lower service costs.

In order to utilize the heat recovery potential of CO2 fully, a heat reclaim system was designed and adapted to fit the properties of CO2. A further special feature of this CO2 application is the geothermal connection, which provides a “warm climate” as well as a “cold climate” solution. Firstly, the sub-cooling improves the energy efficiency in warm climate conditions. Later, the very same heat can be utilised as heat source during cold weather conditions to boost the heat reclaim.

After three months of operation, the results at the ice rink in Gimo look very promising. Before the upgrade, the ice rink’s annual energy usage was about 950 000 kWh, which translates into a daily usage of about 4200 kWh. After the upgrade, the daily average energy usage is down to 1500 kWh, which suggests that the seasonal energy usage will be about 350 000 kWh. This is an energy saving for the municipality of about 600 000 kWh a year, corresponding to over 60% energy cost reduction.

About ATMOpshere Europe 2015
16 & 17 March 2015 at the Crowne Plaza Le Palace Hotel in Brussels, Belgium

The meeting place for HVAC&R industry experts to discuss the latest natural refrigerant technology developments, market trends and regulatory issues in Europe is back for its 6th edition. To find out more about programme highlights, please visit

To register for the event, please visit On Friday, 13 February, there will be a special 24 hour lucky Friday the 13 promotion, with 15% off on standard conference passes. To take advantage, select the “lucky Friday 13” category.