Australia & NZ

KFC Installs Hydrocarbon-Mix AC System in Australia, Replacing R22

A KFC outlet in Seven Hills, Australia (a suburb of Sydney), has installed a hydrocarbon-based air conditioning system, according to a statement from Italian compressor OEM Frascold, which supplied the compressors for the system.

The air-conditioning system uses two 15kW (4.3TR) Frascold reciprocating compressors with Engas’ “M50” mixture of hydrocarbon refrigerants.

The M50 mixture consists of propane (more than 75.0%), propylene (less than 16.0%), ethane (less than 8.0%) and butane (less than 1.0%).

The end user chose a hydrocarbon-based system due to its energy-efficiency benefits compared to the store’s 20-year-old R22 system, according to Shaun Bailey, Managing Director of local contractor Bailair Pty Ltd, which installed the system.

The system is a 30kW (8.6TR) roof-top packaged unit, which supplies the air conditioning for the restaurant’s dining room. It was installed in April 2019.

Frascold is optimistic about the potential for hydrocarbon systems in air conditioning applications in Australia.

“Lately, I’ve seen a lot of interest, especially in air conditioning,” said Giovanni Lo Nero, Sales Area Manager for Frascold. “In fact, I’ve been receiving more inquiries about it and for big applications, meaning big reciprocating and screw compressors too. I think there are big opportunities for the use of propane in Australia.”

Lo Nero added that Australia’s HFC phase down is driving interest in natural refrigerants as “customers are looking for compliant solutions that offer maximum efficiency, sustainability and cost savings,” he said. “In the long run, this means less stress on equipment and longer compressor life.”

Safety, however, remains a key priority. “They are, of course, flammable, and therefore require special handling, properly trained service technicians, and purpose-built components,” said Lo Nero.