Copeland's Vilter Industrial CO2 Units With Screw Compressors
Copeland's Vilter Industrial CO2 Units With Screw Compressors

Copeland Starts Production of Vilter Industrial CO2 Units Using Screw Compressors

The key advantage of a CO2 screw compressor system is that it can replace multiple racks of CO2 reciprocating compressors.

U.S. manufacturer Copeland has launched the production of its first Vilter-branded industrial CO2 (R744) compressor unit, which uses single-screw compressors for transcritical applications, subcritical applications or both.

Now available in the North America market, the industrial CO2 compressor unit, complete with screw compressor, oil-management technology, motor and controller, was displayed at the IIAR 2024 Natural Refrigeration Conference & Heavy Equipment Expo in Orlando, Florida, March 24–27.

The large-capacity CO2 compressors “reduce the complexity of industrial refrigeration operations by reducing the number of components required for larger systems,” Copeland said in a statement. Based on Vilter single-screw compressors used for ammonia (R717) and in high-pressure renewable natural gas applications, the CO2 systems are designed for cold storage, food and beverage, recreation, utility and power, pharmaceutical, chemical, petrochemical and industrial processing.

The Vilter single-screw compressor design “is ideal for handling the high pressures seen in COtranscritical operation,” said Michael Gersmeyer, Senior Product Manager, Refrigeration and Controls, Vilter for Copeland.

The Vilter transcritical CO2 compressor line is available in seven displacements designed for high-side CO2 transcritical systems and have a power range from 100 to 900HP per compressor. The subcritical CO2 compressor line, designed for the low side of a CO2 transcritical or cascade system, is available in 11 displacements, with a power range of 100 to 900HP per compressor.

The transcritical CO2 single-screw compressor handles up to 124bar (1,800psig) and offers capacities from 167 to 366TR (587.3 to 1,287.2kW) for medium temperature at 20°F SST/85°F gas cooler (-6.7°C SST/29.4°C gas cooler) temperature. It is also offered in double units with capacities ranging from 334 to 732TR (1,174.6 to 2,574.3kW). The subcritical unit is designed for up to 52bar (754psig) and delivers capacities from 150 to 845TR (527.5 to 2,971.7kW) for low temperature at −20°F SST/20°F SCT (−28.9°C SST/−6.7°C SCT) and capacities from 93 to 485TR (327.1 to 1,705.7kW) for ultra-low temperature at −40°F SST/20°F SCT (−40°C SST/−6.7°C SCT). The transcritical and subcritical compressors can also be used in a two-stage configuration.

Collaborating on components

Copeland originally announced the prototype for the single-screw CO2 system at the IIAR 2023 conference, calling it “the industry’s first transcritical CO2 screw compressor.”

Speaking at the IIAR 2024 conference, Lauren MacGowens, Director of Sustainability Engineering for Vilter by Copeland, noted that the prototype was held back last year by the lack of CO2 components for industrial applications using screw compressors. “Now we have collaborated with companies to find components to serve this space,” she said, including Danfoss and Hansen valves, Kral pumps and Temprite oil separators and Alfa Laval oil coolers.

The key advantage of a CO2 screw compressor system is that it can replace multiple racks of CO2 reciprocating compressors that use “lots of piping, compressors and leak points,” MacGowens said. For example, in applications that require 500TR (1,758.4kW) and above, two to four screw compressor systems can replaces two to three racks, she noted, adding that the screw compressor system is also easier to install and maintain.

Transcritical CO2 is becoming more attractive in industrial applications as an alternative to ammonia systems for end users that prefer to avoid the regulatory requirements of ammonia, MacGowens said. In addition, CO2 offers an alternative to HFCs undergoing a phase down and the “PFAS headwinds” associated with HFOs and HFO blends.

“We are seeing a drive to CO2 that is unprecedented,” said MacGowens, who added that Vilter projects 20% annual growth for total market spend on CO2 systems through 2030, when “one out of three projects will be CO2.”

Last year, Canadian utility Hydro-Québec won the Best in Sector/Industrial award at the ATMOsphere America conference for installing a water-to-water CO2-based heat pump using the Vilter transcritical CO2 screw compressor.

“We are seeing a drive to CO2 that is unprecedented.”

Lauren MacGowens, Director of Sustainability Engineering for Vilter by Copeland

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