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Variable-speed test shows 41% saving

EUROPE: Tests with a variable-speed compressor in a vertical supermarket freezer is said to have achieved a 41% saving in energy, compared to a high efficiency fixed-speed model.

The tests were carried out in partnership with commercial refrigeration equipment manufacturer, Epta, using an Embraco FMFD R290 compressor. It was controlled by Embraco Smart Drop In, a control logic software that deploys variable speed compressors with on-off thermostats.

According to Embraco, the result could allow a vertical supermarket freezer, like the one under test, to skip from C to B label on the European energy efficiency labelling system.

“This result shows that the commercial refrigeration industry can deliver great energy savings to retailers and, consequently, a better total cost of ownership, with the migration from fixed speed compressors to variable speed,” said Marino Bassi, Nidec Global Appliance’s key account senior advisor.

“There are different aspects over which you can actuate on a refrigeration equipment to improve efficiency, like e-glass, insulation, etc. But the biggest contribution comes from the compressor. So, we believe that variable speed adoption is inevitable in order to cope with upcoming efficiency requirements,” Bassi added.

“We see an increasing customers awareness regarding energy label ratings, as long as they get diffused and provide a clear comparison between different solutions,” said Marco Solimeo, Epta’s research & development laboratory manager. “Competition in this field will positively drive OEMs to privilege high efficiency components, and variable speed compressors have a key role in this phase.”

In a joint presentation at last week’s ATMOsphere Europe conference, Embraco and Epta also revealed how merchandisers could also benefit from variable speed technology. 

Tests with an ice-cream freezer achieved 24% energy savings using an Embraco FMX compressor operating on R600a.

“In merchandisers, the adoption of variable speed technology is still at a very low level. We wanted to show with this case study the excellent results in terms of energy efficiency using Embraco variable speed “entry level” compressors and which can pave the way for the adoption of variable speed technology as a standard solution for merchandisers,” explained Bassi.

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