Utility Refrigerator Introduces Non-Hydrocarbon Refrigerant Line

Posted On: 9/10/2019

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NORTH HOLLYWOOD, CA -- Utility Refrigerator observes that concerns over the environment have led to dramatic changes in the use of refrigerants in commercial foodservice equipment. Recently, rules have been put in place in California to phase out hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, which have a high Global Warming Potential, by the end of 2020.

For this reason, Utility Refrigerator is helping customers stay on "the cooling edge" by developing products that use eco-friendly refrigerants, and deliver advanced performance plus improved safety.

The company pointed out that the Environmental Protection Agency has progressively banned substances with a high GWP under the Clean Air Act and its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program. While not currently enforced on the federal level, states such as California have chosen to adopt the SNAP rules in their own jurisdictions. This has led some manufacturers to favor hydrocarbon options such as propane or isobutane to comply with new laws.

These alternatives have their downside, Utility Refrigerator noted. For one, their flammability raises safety concerns. In addition, refrigerant charges in closed systems for these gases are currently limited to 150g, which could impact cooling ability and compromise food safety. Propane- or isobutane-cooled equipment can struggle to pull temperatures down quickly in commercial environments, the company reported.

Hydrofluoroolefin (HFO) refrigerants in new Utility Refrigerator equipment offer fewer of the drawbacks of hydrocarbons, and many pluses. By integrating this technology into their reach-in, roll-in, undercounter, equipment stand refrigerators, prep tables and other equipment, Utility strives to lead the way in refrigeration breakthroughs.

According to the manufacturer, HFO coolants chill more effectively than propane or isobutane. HFO refrigerants can cool larger spaces, are less flammable, and can accommodate a larger charge in the system to provide higher volume cooling and faster cooling reaction time.

Unlike hydrocarbon-based equipment, HFO-cooled Utility products also allow the option of a remote condensing unit, saving space and enabling compressors to be placed away from the kitchen entirely.

"Most important for operators who must be compliant while still working safely and efficiently, Utility products using HFO refrigerants provide all the preceding benefits while slashing GWP up to 85% over more polluting, less efficient HFC-based systems," the company said.

Environmental regulations change frequently, and mounting concerns about climate change will no doubt speed the cycle. This poses serious challenges for foodservice operators purchasing high-value capital equipment like refrigeration systems.