The Quebec-based manufacturer began testing the new gas, also known as HCR188C, in April. A blend of ethane (R170), isobutane (R600a), propane (R290) and butane (R600), the refrigerant was cleared for use in the US earlier this year following its listing on the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Programme.
MTL Cool, whose clients include General Mills, Kroger, Con Agra and Kraft, says it continually searches for technology supporting higher efficiency operation of its full range of refrigerated display systems.
In April, the company began testing R441A in a standard commercial 46in-wide, two-door unit. To do so, technicians replaced the original Tecumseh compressor, designed for R134a, with an equal-capacity propane compressor, then filled the system with the new HCR188C/R441A blend.
MTL Cool reports that the unit has now been running non-stop at rated temperature for more than a month, with test results already showing significant energy savings and material cost savings compared to operation with propane. On display at the FMI Connect show, which takes place from June 8-11, is a second, larger unit (46.5 inches wide), also running with R441A.
“We found that the unit only needed 3.9oz of HCR188C/R441A compared to 4.9oz of R290, saving more than 20% in charge rate amounts,” commented MTL Cool president Mark Bedard. “In addition, power drawn was down an amazing 18%.” He added that the system’s evaporator could now be optimised for use with HCR188C/R441A.
“An advantage of this blend is that we can reduce component size – specifically the evaporator and condenser, using smaller diameter coils – as well as the air volume needed across the coils. This all results in lower build-pricing and lower operating costs, both great customer benefits.”
Plans are underway to also evaluate R441A as a replacement in display units that currently operate with R404A using optimised evaporator sub-systems.