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Integrated refrigeration solutions

Daikin’s integrated system for retailers enables end-users to reduce energy costs and direct emissions, says Nick May, Daikin UK Refrigeration Products Manager

High refrigeration loads have a significant environmental impact and retail customers are the first to feel them. The discomfort of the “cold store phenomenon” is caused by the large amounts of heat extracted by the refrigeration system from the store aisle. The opposite also occurs: integral refrigeration systems release heat in an uncontrolled way.

Designing flexibility into the system, so that the temperature can be controlled, zone by zone is an important part of maintaining the ideal conditions for customers and staff. New combined heating and cooling systems now have this versatility, thus helping improve comfort levels, while also improving energy efficiency.

A good example of how these challenges can be met is a recent German supermarket installation of our LT-VRV and VRV-Zeas systems.

LT-VRV is a low noise system which combines chilled and frozen showcases or cold room applications with shop air conditioning, including heating, into one system. Until now, conventional systems for low/high refrigeration, heating and cooling systems have operated separately, requiring space and numerous piping connections. LT-VRV totally revolutionises this approach.

By using R410A, the Lt-VRV system delivers drastically reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions. It was designed to provide a compact, affordable, efficient and scalable system for heating, cooling and refrigeration within retail environments. Optimised controls, inverter technology and heat recovery mean that it can reduce annual energy consumption by up to 50 per cent.

This low noise system is ideal for urban applications. Sound levels at a distance of ten metres is only 37 dB(A), which is comparable with the noise level in a library. In addition, a programmable night setback mode that limits the fan speed at sensitive times of the day further reduces noise levels. 

Peter Nienhaus, Managing Director at Tschritter Refrigeration, which specified and installed the Daikin equipment said: “In this scheme, the necessary medium temperature refrigeration capacity and the calculated heating capacity are covered by LT-VRV. The heating is mainly provided by the heat recovery operation of the LT-VRV, distributed by an air curtain and three cassettes. A larger heat recovery system with higher investment costs would have been the wrong choice.”

The second part of the installation involved VRV-Zeas, a compactrefrigeration condensing unit for both deep freezing and medium temperature applications. With a smaller than conventional footprint and low sound emissions, this type of system is ideal for restricted spaces and sensitive locations. The condensing units are the perfect solution for applications with fluctuating loads and high energy efficiency requirements such as supermarkets, blast coolers and freezers, cold storage, restaurants, petrol station shops, florists and food production.

VRV-Zeas also utilises R410A, which we believe provides a strong balance of low environmental impact and high energy efficiency, together with affordability.Having a larger heat transportation capacity than, say, R404A and R134a, results in more compact components and reduced piping sizes for an identical capacity.

The ‘plug and play’ nature of VRV-Zeas also appeals to installers, says Mr Nienhaus: “We literally set up the system, connected it and the rest was intuitive. We are cooling atotal of 12.5 metres (16 doors) of deep freeze glass doors, divided into four refrigeration cabinets with different temperature zones, resulting in different heat load requirements at the same time. Since VRV-Zeas is inverter controlled, it is able to supply only the necessary cooling capacity continuously, meaning we have extremely low operating costs compared to conventional solutions.”

An extra benefit of VRV-Zeas is that it can easily be installed as a retrofit unit. All that is required is that the existing cases are flushed of oil and refrigerant. Mr Nienhaus explains: “If the piping network can be replaced so that it complies with the standards necessary for the R410A refrigerant, then upgrading to VRV-Zeas isn’t a problem at all. Because of its high volumetric cooling capacity, the energy efficiency advantage of the refrigerant is obvious. The installation costs shouldn’t pose a problem when compared with the expected long term operating cost savings.

Combining the two technologies – LT-VRV and VRV- Zeas – results in a real integrated solution he says: “With the necessary medium temperature refrigeration capacity covered by LT-VRV, the heating is mainly provided by the heat recovery operation using an air curtain and three cassettes to distribute the heat,” says Peter. “The VRV-Zeas provides the necessary freezing capacity in the same style as the LT-VRV: thus delivering a complete solution without lots of planning and time-consuming preliminary work on site, as it’s factory-assembled and has been optimized to reach maximum energy efficiency.”

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