Driving Innovation & Sustainability With Commercial Refrigeration

In conversation with Charulatha, Correspondent, Siliconindia Magazine. Ravichandran shares his views on the innovative sustainable cooling solutions available in the market today.

Sustainable refrigeration contributes to overall environmental responsibility.
Intelligent solutions, combining high energy efficiency and low-GWP refrigerants, both natural and synthetic, are the road to sustainable refrigeration and air conditioning. A proactive approach is needed to further the development and use of low-GWP refrigerants help abate global warming and to ensure the sustain ability of the industry. According to the International Institute of Refrigeration, refrigeration technology and air conditioning take up about 15 Percent of the electricity consumption worldwide, making the quest for energy efficient solutions ever more relevant. Obtaining sustainable solutions is a fine balance between affordability, safety and environmental concerns.

Sustainable refrigeration help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to global efforts to combat climate change.
From a business perspective, sustainable growth and environmental responsibility are not mutually exclusive in the present times. Regarding long-term sustainable refrigerant solutions, three main parameters must be aligned to accomplish a real sustainable balance:affordability safety and environmental friendliness. When choosing a new refrigerant for an application, all three parameters need to be considered together. If not, it will be impossible to achieve long-term, sustainable results. It is important to look at the many underlying parameters such as lowest life cycle cost, service availability, operational efficiency, safety, and environmental impact of the refrigerant. A sustainable solution will be achieved only when all these parameters are balanced. Achieving this balance will require a thorough evaluation of the factors which influence these parameters.

Energy efficiency improvements and maintenance, along with environmentally friendly refrigerant, provide a unique opportunity to quickly and cost effectively decrease direct and indirect emissions of refrigeration. This will in turn offset the climate change effects and contribute to the global efforts to reduce the carbon footprint.

The largest contribution of greenhouse gas emissions of a commercial and industrial refrigeration system comes from its energy consumption

The innovative sustainable cooling solutions available in the market today
The District Energy, a UNEP initiative promotes energy efficient district systems, says that this technology can help cut carbon dioxide emissions by 58 per cent in the energy sector by 2050. These systems integrated district heating or cooling with combined heat and power, thermal storage, heat pumps and decentralised energy seek to share energy resources among buildings and across neighborhoods and cities.

Ours district energy solutions include full range of automatic controls that can be built into a district heating or cooling system onsite. It offers combined solutions for Air conditioning, cooling and heating needs using heat pumps technologies using natural refrigerants like Co2 and Ammonia, which are highly efficient compared to conventional technologies using HFC/HCFC’s, and also provides sustainable solution in a long run.

The potential challenges or limitations of current sustainable cooling technologies
The largest contribution of greenhouse gas emissions of a commercial and industrial refrigeration system comes from its energy consumption. The performance of some alternative refrigerants could be dependent on the application and the geographic location (i.e., climate zones) where the refrigeration system is installed. Poor maintenance systems along with retrofits are significant contributors to the overall emissions. Energy efficiency improvements and maintenance, along with low-GWP refrigerant retrofits, provide a unique opportunity to quickly and cost effectively decrease direct and indirect emissions of commercial refrigeration equipment.

Skilled manpower and maintenance and service ability poses a great challenge when positioning new products / technologies. Hence a higher focus should be given on this topic and investment should be made on capacity building and upskilling the refrigeration fraternity in this direction. It is critical to build the overall Eco system to support the new products and technologies.

Role of efficient and reliable refrigeration systems in preserving food freshness and extending shelf life
To keep perishables such as meat, fruits, and vegetables at the right temperature, humidity and by controlling the storage atmosphere at the right levels before they reach the retail shelves, agricultural companies rely on industrial refrigeration technology for the bulk storage requirements. Keeping them at an optimal temperature requires a great deal of energy and has a significant impact on the environment because of the enormous amount of resources required.

Approximately 5-10 Percent of food products are getting wasted every year due to improper refrigeration and handling techniques including the type of system controls used, design on the racking, ventilation and the overall cold store design, operation and maintenance etc. It is important that the latest techniques are used in design and good operation and maintenance practices to be adhered without any deviation so that these loses can be brought down significantly. In case of retail outlets and transport refrigeration commercial refrigeration technologies are preferred.

All refrigeration systems use refrigerants, which absorb and release heat during cooling cycles. When natural refrigerants like carbon dioxide and ammonia are used, the global warming contribution through direct emissions is eliminated. Ammonia is a very efficient refrigerant, which minimizes the indirect emissions caused by electricity consumption. Energy efficiency could deliver up to 38 percent of the emissions reductions needed to meet the 1.5-degree celsius limit by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Our technologies offer businesses a huge amount of energy savings. The package of solutions include oil free compressors, multi refrigerant condensing units, compact heat exchangers, variable frequency drives, efficient one gear drive solutions, EC+ solutions for HVAC equipment, valves and line components, automatic control valves for refrigerants and other common secondary refrigerants, safety switches/ valves and related accessories, liquid level sensors, leak detection, air purging solutions, compact valve stations, electronic control valves and electrical heating solutions to name a few. We rely on refrigeration to preserve foods despite its high energy costs. To maintain the quality and safety of our food, processing companies, super stores, and food retailers use huge amount of energy. Manual service checks and traditional energy management cannot achieve this balance. IoT monitoring is the solution, as it ensures that equipment is operating smoothly, consumes as little energy as possible, and reduces food loss. IoT can improve energy efficiency and extend the shelf life of perishable produce, ensuring that the food and the store are healthy at heart.