Middle East’s First Transcritical System Is an Energy Saver

Amman, Jordan, store is saving 40,000kWh per year in a high-temperature climate after leap-frogging from R22 to CO2, bypassing HFCs.

In January 2018, a 2000m2 (21,528ft2) Al-Salam military supermarket in Amman, Jordan, became the first food retail store in the Middle East to install a transcritical CO2 refrigeration system, replacing a system that used ozone-depleting R22.

The transcritical system has overcome  the challenge of operating efficiently in a climate that typically reaches up to 36°C (97°F), and this year hit 44°C (111°F) for 10 days, said Firas Abdin of Abdin Industrial, a local contractor, which is  responsible for the store’s maintenance. During that period, “the system worked efficiently and we didn’t receive any complaints  from the customer,” said Abdin.

The system was found to save 40,000kWh per year in its first year of operation compared to the legacy R22 system, said Armin Hafner, Professor in Refrigeration in the Department of Energy and Process Engineering at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and a technical adviser on the Al-Salam project.

In addition, the system’s efficiency reduces CO2e emissions by 32 metric tons annually, and its removal of R22 avoids direct emissions of 35.2 metric tons of CO2e.

“We are still saving around 40,000kWh per year,” noted Abdin.

Abdin Industrial also found that the transcritical system saved 20%-30% in energy consumption over one year compared to an HFC system in a similar supermarket in the same area.

How does the transcritical system manage to operate efficiently in such a torrid climate? The answer is that the system uses parallel compression and multi-ejector technologies, which are designed to keep the system from entering the less-efficient transcritical mode in temperatures above CO2 critical point (31°C/88°F).

Cooperation breeds success

The CO2 booster system is from Italian manufacturer Enex, and uses Dorin compressors and Danfoss’s multi-ejectors. Abdin Industrial, designed, manufactured and installed the display cabinets.

“The fruitful cooperation of Abdin and Enex shows that local manufacturers and suppliers of commercial refrigeration equipment are able to leapfrog towards  the latest CO2 refrigeration technology,” said Hafner.

The system also features non-super-heated evaporator technology for both chilled and frozen food cabinets and storage rooms. The waste heat from the system is recovered for the hot sanitary water supply, which further increases the efficiency of this system.

The transcritical refrigeration system is able to maintain chilled food at an evaporation temperature of -2°C (28.4°F), and frozen food at -25°C (-13°F), said Hafner.

Alfa Laval, LU-VE and Temprite also supplied components for this project.

Abdin testifies to the system’s reliability. Since its installation, there has been “no single maintenance call,” he said. “We do only a regular maintenance visit every three months to clean the gas cooler from dust.”

Abdin added that he has a statement from Al-Salam saying that, while using the tran- scritical system, the store has not expe- rienced food loss and has maintained temperature set points.

A UNIDO project

The transcritical retrofit project received support from the Jordan Ministry of Environment and was funded by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC). It was implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

“The project implements the first transcritical CO2 refrigeration system in the entire region in a supermarket and is truly state-of-the-art technology,” said Sulafa Mdanat, UNIDO’s country representative in Jordan. “The technology is spreading very fast in the world as it is considered one of the most energy efficient and climate-friendly refrigeration technolo- gies for the retail sector.”

“We are proud to confirm that Jordan is a global pioneer in […] refrigeration technologies and we commend the efforts from the local companies in moving ahead towards more efficient refrigeration technologies,” said Dina Kisbi, director of Climate Change Directorate, Ministry of Environment, Jordan.

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