AACHEN, GERMANY, February 26, 2011— Refrigeration systems eat electricity, and many are also damaging to the environment. Dr. Thomas Tomski, Marketing Director at Emerson Climate Technologies, explains why these preconceptions, which have been heard time and again, have become an undeserved stereotype, and provides some answers.
Question: Why have refrigeration systems become so important at all? Couldn’t we do without them?
Tomski: Refrigeration systems of every size and shape can be found in your local supermarket or deli, in every petrol station or grocery chain, in the drinks and restaurant industry, the catering business and superstores. They are an important part of the ‘cool chain’ that ensures our food reaches us in perfect condition. This chain often involves very long distances, which is why we also need refrigeration systems suitable for sea, land and air transport. In our civilised world, it would therefore be impossible to imagine life without refrigeration. The alternative would be to rely on cured, smoked and conserved products or to buy only regional products when in season, which would make a trip to the shops necessary every day. But such a way of life is no longer practical for many reasons, even though it does, admittedly, sound healthy and perhaps also a little romantic. Would you want to do without your own fridge?
Question: So if it’s not possible to do without refrigeration systems, what options does the industry offer to ensure optimum efficiency and minimum environmental impact?
Tomski: The ‘Energy Management in Retail’ study by the EHI Retail Institute has shown that the food retail sector is very willing to embrace innovation when it comes to using sustainable refrigeration technology. For our company, this represents the challenge of developing energy-efficient components and solutions as well as enhancing these on an ongoing basis. One crucial element of any refrigeration system is the electric-powered compressor. This should only operate when needed and should be as efficient as possible when doing so. In this respect, our new piston models from the ‘Stream’ series offer compelling benefits. The most energy-efficient in their class, they also integrate the latest CoreSense™ technology. This sees the compressor as a sensor, which then supplies data to the monitoring centre as if ‘from its inner depths’. Such data indicates whether the system is running efficiently and also helps to predict the need for maintenance. The customer can also opt for alternative compressor technologies, for example, the digital scroll compressor, in order to run a system with continuously variable output control. Furthermore, multiple compressors can be linked together, so that no more than the required amount of cooling energy is ever produced. Such a solution is known as a multi-compressor system.
With regard to environmental considerations: In addition to saving electricity, i.e., saving primary energy and avoiding CO2 emissions, the aim is also to use refrigerants that are as environmentally sound as possible. Much progress has been made in the industry over the last 25 years in this respect. Today, various options are available – refrigerants with low and even zero global warming potential. But each substance has its advantages and disadvantages. It is ultimately up to the customer to decide which refrigerant is the right choice for their installation. The refrigerant may be a natural substance, but this is not always the case. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution in this area, even though one is sought time and again. Each system therefore has to be looked at and evaluated individually.
Question: You mention your customers. Who exactly makes up your customer base? Does Emerson Climate Technologies work directly with retailers?
Tomski: Our customer is the design engineer or refrigeration system installer. This is often a large sub-contractor responsible for designing or implementing the refrigeration aspect of a project and for providing maintenance services. So we don’t work directly with the operator of the system, such as the retailer.
However, our service portfolio does include drawing up proposals for new systems. So if required, we can be involved in the project from the conceptual design stage. Our services extend all the way through to the active remote monitoring of a store’s refrigeration system for example. The benefits to the operator in this respect are twofold. If a fault occurs, the cause can be isolated very precisely. Downtime is therefore kept to an absolute minimum or even avoided altogether. If a system is no longer working optimally, this is also detected. In all cases, the operator of the supermarket, the retail chain or the coldstore can save valuable cash, both in terms of servicing costs and energy consumption.
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Emerson (NYSE: EMR), based in St. Louis, is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and appliance and tools businesses. Sales in fiscal year 2009 were US$20.9 billion. For more information, visit www.emerson.com
About Emerson Climate Technologies
Emerson Climate Technologies, a business of Emerson, is the world’s leading provider of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration solutions for residential, industrial and commercial applications. The group combines best-in-class technology with proven engineering, design, distribution, educational and monitoring services to provide customized, integrated climate control solutions for customers worldwide. Emerson Climate Technologies’ innovative solutions, which include industry-leading brands such as Copeland Scroll™ and Alco Controls, improve human comfort, safeguard food and protect the environment. For more information, visit www.emersonclimate.eu
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