Italian component maker Carel is working on bringing its CO2 condensing unit controller, Hecu Sistema, to the U.S.
Carel is “open to partnering” with OEMs in the U.S. to bring the Hecu to market, and is “in talks with a few,” said Brandon Marshall, application manager – refrigeration, for Carel USA, Manheim, Pa., at the AHR Expo in January. It is designed for condensing unit used in convenience stores, small grocery stores and quick-service restaurants. CO2 condensing units, prevalent in Japan, are rare in the U.S. convenience store market.
The Hecu system, which debuted in 2016, works with a BLDC inverter to manage a DC compressor in a CO2 condensing unit, and oversees the CO2 high-pressure and flash-bypass valves. It also oversees with the Carel’s MPXPRO case controller that controls the electronic expansion valves.
“[It] never operates outside of the happy place of the compressor.”Brandon Marshall, Carel
By modulating the speed of the compressor and reducing the number of on/off cycles, the Hecu is able to reduce energy costs, and increase the reliability and lifespan of the compressor because it “never operates outside of the happy place of the compressor,” said Marshall.
The modulation of the compressor through the BLDC inverter takes place at partial loads, “where the system is most of its life,” he said. Under this scenario, “you will have a significantly higher efficiency than with an on/off compressor.”
The system also helps stabilize product temperatures, increasing shelf life for fresh foods, he added.
Carel made the Hecu CO2-compatible because “we want to be as green as possible,” Marshall said. “If we can move away from HFCs to CO2, that’s our preference.”
To date, Carel has linked the Hecu to CO2 compressors made by Toshiba, Mitsubishi and others.