UK-based retailer, the Central England Co-Operative, has commenced a live trial of Opteon XL20 (R-454C) refrigerant.

The HFO blend, A2L refrigerant is being trialled at its new convenience store at Langley Park.

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 (e.g., R-404A) 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 these requirements.

The Chemours Company said this is the first of two trial stores featuring A2L technologies.

Central England Co-Operative is developing a 10-year F-Gas strategy. The retailer already has experience
retrofitting existing R-404A systems to mid-range <1500 GWP HFO blends. They are comfortable with the operating characteristics of these systems and have 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 supplied the refrigerant and technical support while Emerson supplied compressors.

PureCold provided A2L-ready cabinets; and Space Engineering constructed a dual discharge refrigeration pack suitable for A2L refrigerant applications in a retail environment.

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, said the installation was straightforward and commissioning went smoothly and without incident using R-454C set-up data provided by Chemours and with support from engineering consultants, Wave, to optimize the system for best energy performance.

Kevin Collins, head of Facilities at Central England Co-Operative, described it as a ground-breaking installation.

“It proves that we can have a sustainable, long-term solution to meet our corporate strategy without compromising performance and efficiency and, at best, cost,” Collins said.

“Other low GWP solutions considered, such as propane secondary and CO2 booster systems, were excluded as these did not meet our selection criteria.''

Regional business director, Fluorochemicals, EMEA at Chemours, Murli Sukhwani, said XL20 is a viable and credible solution for commercial retail.

"It will also 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 maximize environmental and economic benefits," Sukhwani said.

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