Geoclima, the strategic business unit of Zamil Air Conditioners and the leading Italian manufacturer of air conditioning systems, in cooperation with UK specialists Klima Therm and Italian compressor manufacturer Frascold, produced the first chillers using low global warming potential refrigerants for use in an operational supermarket setting.
The trio of companies worked together to solve one of the HVAC industry’s most pressing quandaries – the development of a unit integrating an innovative new refrigerant that lowers Global Warming Potential (GWP), operates safely and efficiently, and utilizes mainstream air conditioning technology and installation and service skills without the need for updating and redesigning existing service and support networks.
The companies discovered a successful solution to this industry-wide problem in the form of fourth generation Hydro-Fluoro-Olefins (HFO) refrigerants, specifically HFO1234ze. Following the leadership of Waitrose, a UK supermarket chain, and basing its design on the groundbreaking work of Frascold, Geoclima proceeded to engineer and build two air-cooled chillers (with 180kW ratings) with reciprocating compressors to deliver chilled water as a condensing medium for the supermarket’s in-store integral cases, which run on propene. When Geoclima concluded independent testing of the new chillers, Frascold’s findings were confirmed, and the fourth generation HFOs were heartily endorsed as a groundbreaking, accessible, safe and workable solution to the global warming concerns inherent in the use of traditional HFC refrigerants.
Once the new HFO chillers were shipped from Italy and arrived in the UK, they were installed and commissioned by Klima-Therm at Waitrose’s store in Bromley, Kent, in October 2011. The operation proceeded smoothly, and the chillers were designated as the first HFO machines to become operational in a working retail space anywhere in the world. Initial comparisons with a similar store in Canterbury running identical systems, but using R290 propane, revealed a 5% reduction in energy consumption.
This new, environmentally superior solution has the potential to grow in popularity as demand for HFO refrigerants rises and they are more widely produced and competitively priced. These new refrigerants offer excellent performance, efficiency, serviceability and safety, but with a dramatically reduced carbon footprint and tendency toward flammability, which also reduces safety risks.
“These developments are very encouraging as we work toward implementing cooling solutions using refrigerants with lower global warming potentials,” commented Paolo Ferraris, General Manager and Founding Member, Geoclima & Clima Tech Air Conditioners GmbH. “The rewards of increased efficiency, safety and energy-savings enhance the positive value of these efforts, and we anticipate even greater results moving forward.”
Geoclima Srl was acquired by Zamil Industrial Investment Company “Zamil Industrial” in the year 2000 and became a business unit of Zamil Air Conditioners, a subsidiary of Zamil Industrial and the largest supplier of air conditioners in the Middle East. Geoclima is the brand by which Zamil Air Conditioners distributes Chillers and associated products. Established in 1994, the Geoclima factory and headquarters are located in Monfalcone, near Trieste, in the north of Italy. It employs approximately 90 personnel.
Well-known for its Chillers (air and water cooled) and Fan Coil Units for regular commercial applications, Geoclima specializes in customizing systems for special applications, such as for use in hazardous areas, requiring special dimensions, stainless steel construction and adherence to extraordinary regulations. Flexible production capabilities, simulation of design conditions and wide range of accessories have helped Geoclima create a reputable name for itself in the European market.
“We congratulate Geoclima on its success in this venture. The market for environmentally responsible solutions is ripe for innovation, and we are pleased that Geoclima has positioned itself at the forefront of the field by participating in this important initiative,” said Ahmed Zaatari, VP of Zamil Air Conditioners.
Geoclima has designed and built unrivalled HVAC products, including its centrifugal compressor Turbocor, known for its power efficiency, low noise level and other technical features. The company’s ultra-efficient Turbomiser chiller won the top innovation award at the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Low Carbon Performance Awards 2010.
As the company turns its attention to issues of environmental concern, it seems destined to play a major role in the HVAC industry’s efforts to advance environmentally friendly solutions to the problem of global warming.