OEM Hillphoenix, a leading producer of transcritical CO2 systems for the North American market, has introduced two distributed CO2 rack systems designed for small retail outlets or retrofits and line extensions in conventional stores.
The systems – the Minibooster and the Tower – were displayed at Hillphoenix’s Conyers, Ga., headquarters in June during a tour of its facilities for attendees of the ATMOsphere America conference. (The conference was organized by shecco, publisher of Accelerate Magazine.)
Both systems have been marketed in Europe by Danish OEM Advansor, a division of Hillphoenix.
Hillphoenix has sold more than 500 transcritical racks in North America, including full- size systems (called Advansor) and downsized units (called AdvansorFlex). The Minibooster and Tower units represent “a continuation of what we started in 2011 when we acquired Advansor,” said Subodh Sharma, director, product management systems, small format & self-contained for Hillphoenix.
Designed for the European market, the Tower and Minibooster are not yet available in the U.S., though “we are looking at adapting them to the U.S. market and seeing where changes need to be made for regulatory compliance,” said Sharma. Hillphoenix has a “couple of customers” interested in the Minibooster system.
The Tower unit offers a capacity of 283 KBTUs for medium-temperature cases and 68 KBTUs for low-temperature cases. The rack includes three medium-temperature and one low-temperature reciprocating Bitzer compressors. It is suited for a standard lineup of cases, said Sharma.
The Minibooster includes four medium- temperature and two low-temperature rotary Toshiba compressors (or comparable Bitzer compressors), producing a medium- temperature capacity of 137 KBTUs and a low-temperature capacity of 32 KBTUs. It is targeted for a lineup of small cases, he said.
Both units would need to be integrated with a condenser/gas cooler. The installed cost of each is approaching parity with that of similar- capacity HFC system, according to Hillphoenix.
Taking out Costs
Hillphoenix executives also spoke about aspects of their other CO2 product offerings, including costs and product development.
As a large-scale producer of transcritical CO2 racks, Hillphoenix has been able to “take costs out” of the manufacturing process, bringing down the installed cost of the equipment, said Derek Gosselin, manager of the technical product support team.
Michael May, director of R&D for Hillphoenix, said the company’s development efforts have driven the equipment and installation cost of transcritical racks down to where “we’re very close to parity” with comparable HFC systems, adding that “for certain applications we are at parity.”
To enhance the efficiency of transcritical systems in warm climates, Hillphoenix has invested in the development of gas and liquid ejectors. The company already has a gas ejector available, and is only a few months away from finishing work on a liquid ejector.
“We expect in the very near term to offer advanced CO2 systems with a gas or liquid ejector or a combination of both,” said May. In fact, Hillphoenix is seeking retail partners to pilot gas ejectors, he added.
At the tour of its headquarters, Hillphoenix executives also discussed new microdistributed and distributed systems that employ HFCs and HFO blends. The company has two distributed units that include a condenser and receiver: the AdaptaPak launched two years ago for outdoor installation and the newly launched InviroPak for indoors (in both vertical and horizontal models).
We are seeing more smaller stores with reduced loads so there is less need for a central system and more need to place systems closer to loads”Subodh Sharma, Hillphoenix
The microchannel system, called SoloChill, is a complete- store solution that consists of a condensing unit in each case that uses less than seven lbs of R410A, R448A or R449A, and a water loop linked to a fluid cooler.
May said the company “is looking at developing a hydrocarbon version of the self- contained [SoloChill system] to go with HFOs, along with other options for self-contained as well.”
May described some innovative research Hillphoenix is conducting for transcritical technology. One involves using water for subcooling, and another is examining an innovative cooling approach as a supplement to transcritical CO2 in order to “expand its efficiency and environmental application range,” he said. Hillphoenix is also working with a supermarket chain on installing a CO2 rack to integrate both refrigeration and HVAC.