Held 16-21 October, in the Belgian city of Kortrijk, Busworld attracted almost 35,000 visitors and roughly 411 exhibitors from the automotive industry. At this year’s event, Bitzer turned heads with their new compressors for MAC capable of utilising R290 (propane).
Bitzer, a multinational company who supply compressors to all five continents, were placed at the heart of the trade show with their characteristic green veneer reflecting the on-going activity of the trade show.
While the company has, and continues to investigate CO2 for MAC, the potential introduction of propane as another natural refrigerant for the application, could forecast a new future for mobile air conditioning.
Demand growing for natural refrigerants in MAC
The new scroll compressor lines – the ELV21 and ELV51 – designed for mobile applications with a dual-functionality to work in heat pump applications, were previewed at Busworld.
“There is interest from some customers (for R290)”, explained Oliver Rathfelder, Bitzer’s Director of sales for Transport, “so therefore, it was decided to make promotion for these new compressors for a wide range of refrigerants, and also especially with hydrocarbons, propane in this case”.
Within the busy booth, furnished with a vast array of Bitzer’s renowned compressors, Rathfelder noted how the mobile applications market had grown to encompass the demand for propane, a refrigerant that traditionally is not associated with mobile applications.
“Other natural refrigerants are in discussion, for example CO2. Propane is really a niche product at the moment… But I think the efficiency is much higher than CO2 and the problems we have with high pressures in CO2 transcritical applications are not there.”
Technical details of compressors show strengths
As Rathefelder mentioned, the properties of hydrocarbons are conducive to high efficiency in all temperatures, but other innovations Bitzer have taken on board for their new compressors show they will work at an optimum level.
Rainer Grosse-Kract, Chief Technology Officer at Bizter, explained the technological advancements that are driving the market towards new technologies and refrigerants, including the utilisation of a frequency inverter for the compressor.
“An electrically operated scroll compressor with a frequency inverter enables a completely new system design with compact dimensions, a low amount of refrigerant and increased system efficiency.” As well as being smaller and more lightweight – shedding eight kilograms and 17 centimetres in length from Bitzer ECH209Y compressors – the inverter also allows for a quieter operation without sacrificing any performance.
In fact, the performance is boosted by the integration of the frequency inverter, as it allows the cooling capacity to be controlled over a large speed ranger, from 2,000 to 9,000 rpm. Gross-Kracht explains that, “[the frequency inverter] makes it possible to ideally match the capacity to the requirement of the system”.
The ELV21 will be available from spring 2016 and the ELV51 from autumn 2016.