UK: Star Refrigeration has enabled a leading cheese spread manufacturer to upgrade its refrigeration plant to comply with F-gas regulations.
The Glasgow-based company has overseen the replacement of two refrigeration plants serving Primula’s principal cheese store facility in Team Valley in Gateshead, near Newcastle. Star successfully transitioned the plant from R422D – which will soon become untenable – to the more future-proofed refrigerant R513A.
The two businesses have been in a successful partnership for over 15 years. In 2008 Star had converted the original R22 plants to enable operation with R422D refrigerant which extended the life of the plants by over 10 years.
From January 1, the EU will introduce a service ban on all refrigerants with a GWP of over 2,500.
Since R422D has a GWP of 2,729, it would have become problematic to Primula to continue running its cheese store. This, in conjunction with the age of the plant, prompted Primula to opt for a complete replacement of the two plants to achieve regulatory compliance, optimise efficiency and ensure its viability going forward.
Star replaced the plants with new equipment utilising R513A, a refrigerant with a GWP of just 631.
The solution involved the supply and installation of two independent plants each comprising a single bespoke manufactured air-cooled condensing unit and four draw-through evaporators. The condensing units incorporate a single semi-hermetic reciprocating compressor mounted within a weatherproof housing and an air-cooled condenser with extended legs designed for vertical air throw.
Matt Cumming, facilities manager at Primula said, “Star’s commitment to ensuring our business is fully compliant with F-gas regulations and their willingness to share their expertise helped us install a commercially viable refrigeration solution which will have considerable benefits both in terms of environmental impact and efficiency.”
One of the key challenges of the project was that all work had to be carried out within normal business hours, but had to focus on one plant at a time to ensure continuity of operation with no downtime was maintained. Star scheduled the projects to take place in the first quarter of 2019 to take advantage of low ambient temperatures and reduce the workload on the one operational plant while the other was being replaced.
Additionally, Star made every effort to provide a solution that increased Primula’s competitive advantage with the use of components that qualified for enhanced capital allowances (ECA) under the UK tax scheme. The ECA scheme lets businesses claim 100% first-year tax relief on investments in qualifying technologies and products.
The plant was designed with efficiency in mind and comprised energy saving technology such as electronic expansion valves, condenser EC fans and evaporator controllers equipped with skip-defrost functionality to avoid defrosting operation when unnecessary. It’s estimated that this functionality could help the company achieve savings of up to £6,000 per annum.