In collaboration with distributor Grupo Disco, Energy Fred Solutions launches a pilot test utilising a R-455A condensing unit for a 1,200 m2 supermarket.
The Sorli supermarket chain opened its doors in 1923 and today has 110 outlets throughout Catalonia, all of which are supplied by four distribution centres that belong to the chain.
Sorli has always been able to rely on Xavier Doménech, Director of Energy Fred Solutions, to model its installations with increasingly innovative solutions. “Whenever a new refrigerant comes on to the market, I test it, because the aim is to achieve the greatest possible efficiency, both environmentally and financially, especially when we take into account the value of Spanish taxes on fluorinated greenhouse gases (IGFEI),” emphasises the Energy Fred director.
For Jofre Poch, Sorli’s Technical Director, the implementation of energy efficiency and sustainability measures is one of his priorities. For several years, robust policies have been put in place to integrate different refrigerant technologies to optimise the performance of the chain’s refrigeration installations.
To help to achieve their ambitions, at the end of 2020 Sorli set itself the goal of completely renovating one of its five outlets in Castelldefels, a town of 70,000 inhabitants near Barcelona.
In this project, Xavier Doménech worked closely with Climalife and the equipment distributor, Grupo Disco, to use and test the refrigerant Solstice® L40X as the innovative solution for the future in view of its suitable thermodynamic characteristics. CO2 was ruled out following past experience at one of Sorli’s outlets, where its investment costs doubled compared to a conventional refrigerant as the outlet’s layout made its application difficult.
With a GWP of 146 according to the IPCC5, Solstice® L40X is the best solution available on the market today to replace R-404A in new installations.
In addition, A2L condensing units are available on the market. Grupo Disco provided all the support necessary to select the A2L components approved by manufacturers including valves, sensors, evaporators and other components.
Sorli opted for R-455A despite the slightly higher investment cost compared to an A1 refrigerant. “I am sure that the difference in cost will decrease soon, once A2L refrigerants are no longer new on the market, and at the same time, any investment will be quickly recouped thanks to the energy efficiency,” points out Xavier Doménech
While some equipment could have been reused, the decision was made to replace the entire refrigeration system.
In the end, a Grupo Disco SZXD 108Y TRIO condensing unit was chosen.
This unit supplies two cold rooms, one of 25 m3 for fruit and vegetables and the other of 14 m3 for meat, as well as all of the outlet’s refrigerated display cabinets. In compliance with the eco-efficiency policy, the 30-metre long run of wall display cabinets were replaced by refrigerated cabinets with doors, to optimise energy performance.
The Solstice L40X charge is only 30 kg. R-455A is simply used in a refrigeration circuit almost identical to that of an A1 refrigerant.
Pressure and discharge temperature are lower than those of R-448A. “We had no problems implementing it,” said the Energy Fred director.
With its superior performance to CO2 and lower flammability than other A2L refrigerants such as R-454C, Solstice® L40X fulfils its promises. “You immediately notice its high performance; it is a refrigerant that works very well,” explains Xavier Doménech.
The unit was equipped with three A2L-approved Copeland compressors that switch on and off according to the refrigeration requirements. Furthermore, there were no concerns about temperature glide, as “Grupo Disco’s equipment arrives ready to use,” said the installer. Although thermostatic expansion valves are available for R-455A, Energy Fred chose electronic expansion valves.
Grupo Disco justifies its choice by referring to its experience with R-407C, a refrigerant with similar glide properties. In practice, R-455A performs optimally to ensure the greatest efficiency of the exchangers.
When dealing with a mildly flammable refrigerant (A2L), current regulations require the implementation of additional safety measures that are easy to apply: “The Spanish regulation governing the safety of refrigeration installations (RSIF) requires more control in terms of ventilation, insulation and leak detection, but this is not a problem for us,” explains Xavier Doménech.
Energy Fred also installed a specific ventilation system in the machine room with automatic start-up when the doors are opened, as well as switches in the supermarket sales area, as required by the regulation.
Despite R-455A having a burning velocity of less than 1 cm per second, the machine room’s lighting system was adapted to avoid any risk of flammability.
Furthermore, the Spanish regulation does not require a new project dossier to be drawn up for this installation - a technical report is sufficient.
For Xavier Doménech, “the new R-455A system works perfectly. We are very pleased with the results of this refrigerant, which is as easy to install as any A1 refrigerant."
“Satisfaction is shared with the supermarket chain’s management team: If forecasts stay on track, we intend to implement this technology in future outlets,” concludes Jofre Poch, Sorli’s Technical Director.
condensing unit with 3 Copeland Scroll compressors approved for R-455A, including 1 YBD-36-K1ETFMN digital scroll compressor and 2 YB-36- K1E-TFMN compressors.
30 linear metres of refrigerated cabinets
1 cold room for fruit and vegetables
of 25 m3 (3 kW)
1 cold room for meat of 14 m3
Energy Fred Solutions : HVAC-R installer
Sorli : Supermarket chain
Grupo Disco : Distributor of industrial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment