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18 January 2022
Food logistics – too much energy bills? Optimization of F-gas systems

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It is natural that in the case of the construction of a new facility, the Investor, the Client and the designer are working on an open card that can be filled in with any refrigeration installation.

Most refrigeration installations, however, are not new and were created at a time when r744 refrigeration was not available. In the case of facilities with a capacity below 1MW (MT), as a designer and auditor, I often come across systems based on F-gases (popular r404a, r448a, etc.). This technology today is far from optimal, but this does not mean that it cannot be optimised.

Below are graphs of energy consumption of the installation we have recently audited.

The audited installation has a cooling capacity of MT 750 kW and a freezing capacity of LT: 130 kW and operates on r448a. As for a logistics facility, the cold demand profile is very flat – close to that of supermarkets. The facility is used very intensively and the main source of energy to be removed is too warm goods from the delivery and exploited docks both at the receipt and delivery of goods.

We had no influence on the method of operation and the temperature of the goods, so we focused on the operating parameters of the installation.

As a result of measurements over time, it turned out that they can be significantly improved without compromising storage temperatures. As a result of our actions, the energy consumption of the installation decreased by 20.8%! Which will save this client PLN 511,000 per year. We recommended further optimization activities that can bring an additional 5.5% and PLN 130,000 in savings per year. However, they require careful programming/time adjustment.

Unfortunately, due to the retrofit in the installation with too small condensers, further optimization will not be possible.

As can be seen from the above example, the potential for large energy savings is not only associated with the construction of a new installation. Since 2008, I have carried out hundreds of audits of existing refrigeration installations and most of them have a savings potential of between 8 and 16%.