Danfoss has named Pro Refrigeration, Inc., as its 13th EnVisioneer of the Year. The Washington-based manufacturer and supplier of chillers for the industrial and beverage processing market, and a longtime customer of Danfoss, used Danfoss components to develop its PROGreen CO2 Chiller system that brought big dividends to a California dairy farm and ultimately, to the environment.
Launched in 2010, the annual EnVisioneer of the Year award competition recognizes North American original equipment manufacturers, building owners, municipalities, contractors and end users that have introduced a new product, opened a new facility or invested in a building or system upgrade in the past 18 months using Danfoss products or solutions to realize significant energy and environmental savings.
With the approaching HFC phasedown, the demand for environmentally friendly cooling systems is driving chiller manufacturers to innovate. Since CO2 is a natural refrigerant with a GWP rating of 1, not only does it have zero impact on global warming, it also allows refrigeration systems to recover 100% - three times that of chillers using synthetic refrigerants - of the heat rejected from their systems, generating hot water at up to 200 degrees. For Pro Refrigeration, heat recovery capability is an essential product feature, as beverage plants, dairy farms in particular, use a high amount of natural gas or propane to heat water for sanitizing and wash-down. Heat recovery technology lowers both their costs and climate impact.
The Danfoss components utilized in the PROGreen CO2 Chiller include the AK-SM850A system manager, AK-CC 750A case controller, AK-PC781A pack controller, as well as the CCM 20 and CCMT 30 electric regulating valves, BC 5100 pressure switches, pressure and temperature sensors, and other accessories such as AK-PS 250 power supply and GDC gas detector. All of the parts work together to monitor the cooling system, gather data from the sensors, control when the compressors cycle on and off and ensure the fans and expansion valves are working correctly.
“The Danfoss components provide the brains of the system,” explained Jim VanderGiessen, Pro Refrigeration’s co-founder and CEO. “They keep the system running in an optimal manner.” As part of its constant monitoring and adjustment to external conditions, the system manager generates alerts and alarms, so that the facilities staff can immediately identify and address potential mechanical problems. The refrigeration control system also allows Pro Refrigeration engineers to access the data remotely for improved customer support and troubleshooting capabilities.
A California dairy farm was a willing and eager customer for the inaugural PROGreen system. Since installation, the milk temperature has averaged 37.1 F, whereas their previous chiller was unable to cool below 40 F. As a result, the farm was able to earn a quality bonus from milk processors and see revenue increases in the range of $1,400 to $2,800 per day.
The chiller also recovers the waste heat from the chiller system to heat the wash water, heating 3000 gallons of well water per day from 70 F to 170 F and eliminating the need to use fossil fuels (propane) as a heating source. Early results tracking indicates that the heat recovery operation is saving the farm 40 gallons of propane each day, preventing 517 pounds of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. Monthly energy savings are about $2,100.
Referencing the pending changes in the industry, VanderGiessen noted that the chiller is “a future-proof solution. Our design will evolve and improve over time but we won’t need to build new equipment.” He is confident that “the technology will be considered in all industries. We see a huge opportunity to offer CO2 chillers across many vertical markets.”
“We are excited about the adoption of CO2 as a refrigerant,” said Thomas Savas, regional key account manager at Danfoss. “Danfoss is proud to help Pro Refrigeration create an innovative chiller that is both environmentally friendly and provides significant savings to the customer. Our valves, controllers, system manager and other components enable the chiller to operate smoothly and ensure maximum benefit and peace of mind for the customer.”
“Pro Refrigeration is a worthy recipient of the EnVisioneer of the Year award,” said Rick Sporrer, president of Danfoss North America. “The PROGreen CO2 Chiller is an example of using technical innovation to benefit both the end user and society as a whole. Combining low-GWP refrigerant with heat recovery technology provides twice the benefit, both for the environment and the customer. With the need to adopt environmentally friendly refrigerants in the wake of HFC phasedown, Pro Refrigeration shows that reducing carbon emissions and achieving business success go hand in hand.”
The award was presented to Pro Refrigeration on August 24 at its Mocksville, North Carolina facility.