Barcelona-based OEM AREA Cooling Solutions has installed 400 of its iCOOL CO2 (R744) condensing units equipped with remote monitoring across Europe in commercial and industrial applications, with 60% of the installations coming in 2022.
The northernmost installations are in Sweden and the southernmost in Cyprus, requiring the units to operate with ambient temperatures ranging from -28°C (-18°F) to 47.2°C (117°F) with 70m (230ft) as the longest installed piping length.
Philippe Boachon, Business Development Manager for AREA, described they company’s development of the iCOOL-CO2 units, ranging in capacity from 5kW(1.4TR) to 30kW (8.5TR) at the November 2022 ATMOsphere (ATMO) Europe Summit in Brussels. Three installation case studies were presented by Patryk Majerski, Project Manager for AREA. ATMO Europe was organized by ATMOsphere, publisher of R744.com.
AREA has offered the iCOOL CO2 units since 2016. “With 25% of our engineers dedicated to electronics and controls,” said Boachon, “our systems have advanced control and safety automation and active oil management.” He feels having 100% of the units equipped with remote monitoring gives “a large picture of what’s happening” at any moment.
AREA offers six CO2 models for both medium-temperature (MT) and low-temperature (LT) applications. Boachon reports that AREA’s “R&D researchers are working to extend the range of compact transcritical CO2 units based on hermetic compressors with 40kW [11.4TR], 50 kW [14.2TR], and 60kW [17TR] capacities.”
Outperforming the competition
The three case studies presented by Majerski highlight the iCOOL CO2 units’ precise temperature regulation, reliable performance at high ambient temperatures and decentralized installation for working business solutions.
In the first case study, Majerski compared a single transcritical LT inverter unit (iCOOL-15 CO2) to two other units previously used at a central Europe location (an on/off R404A unit and a different CO2 unit) in a 60m2 (646ft2) freezing chamber.
The competitors units frequently had frozen cold storage temperatures above the targeted high temperature of -15°C (5°F), said Majerski. However, the iCOOL unit “almost never exceeded” that temperature, he noted. In this installation, the AREA unit operated at a working capacity of 8.7kW (2.5TR) at an evaporation temperature of -30°C (-22°F) with an ambient temperature of 32°C (90°F), keeping the frozen cold storage temperature almost precisely between -24°C (5°F) and -15°C (-11°F).
The second case study showed the transcritical inverter unit iCOOL CO2 could function as designed at an ambient temperature of 43°C (109°F). An 8kW (2.3TR) LT unit and a 12 kW (3.4TR) MT unit installed in a bakery in Cyprus operated seamlessly and without alarm during the 2021 extreme heat wave with a remotely recorded temperature of 46.7°C (116°F), said Majerski.
“It is good to see what is the behavior of the unit over the design,” Majerski remarked, adding that AREA does not endorse the operation of the iCOOL CO2 units in ambient temperatures above the designed working temperature of 43°C (109°F).
In the last case study highlighting a Hungarian hypermarket, the “customer decided to move from the ‘bumper box’ system to use 26 iCOOL CO2 units,” Majerski said. The installation called for 17 transcritical inverter units operating at 15kW (4.3TR) for MT and nine units at 8kW (2.3TR) for LT.
With the decentralization of the cooling system, the hypermarket could keep working without the need to stop business. “We can optimize parameterization of the evaporators when we have step-by-step installation,” reported Majerski.
In-person and virtual training
AREA’s AREAcademy offers interactive training, including face-to-face training and a support center to educate customers on proper selection, key benefits, operation principles, installation, start-up and maintenance of their units for the “new generation in our business,” Boachon said.
Besides face-to-face training, AREAcademy offers virtual training, digital training materials, articles and additional technical materials to support the installation and functioning of their units.
At the ATMOsphere American Summitt 2022, Joseph Ventura, AREA CEO and founder, announced
AREA’s plans to bring its CO2 condensing units to the U.S. market. The company is in the process of
gaining UL certification with a target to install units in the U.S. by this summer. The iCOOL product range offers small supermarkets and convenience stores a new natural refrigerant option.
AREA recently opened a new facility in Poland and plans to produce 5,000 units by 2025.
“With 25% of our engineers dedicated to electronics and controls, our systems have advanced control and safety automation and active oil management.”Philippe Boachon, Business Development Manager for AREA