‘Investment in technology is the way to get efficiency in refrigeration’

Compressors using natural refrigerants have lower operating temperatures and pressures than those used with HFCs refrigerants, says Renato Gava, Sales Manager at Nidec Global Appliance, Embraco while interacting with Supriya Oundhakar.

Could you assess the subject – efficiency in the Indian HVACR sector?

Embraco’s is now part of Nidec Global Appliance, and if we take a look at the refrigeration perspective, we can say that there are two important elements to define efficiency: cooling capacity and energy consumption. The more cooling your equipment can generate with the lowest level of energy consumption, the more efficient it is. When we talk about residential HVACR, efficiency would mean having a refrigerator in people’s homes that keeps the food fresh for longer but has the minimum possible impact on the electricity bill.

Speaking on residential refrigeration, the size of the compressor which is the heart of the refrigerator is also aggregated to the concept of efficiency. The market is going towards the miniaturisation direction which means, the demand is for solutions that have the targeted cooling capacity with the lowest energy consumption possible and also the smallest size possible. Size matters because it impacts the layout and the use of space inside the refrigerator.

What are the ways to get better HVACR energy efficiency?

There are a number of challenges to be overcome when you are talking about energy efficiency because nobody wants to reduce energy consumption at the cost of losing cooling capacity. At Nidec Global Appliance, which is now the organisation behind Embraco brand, we believe that investing in technology is the way forward to get better energy efficiency in refrigeration.

For energy efficiency, the main technological trends in the refrigeration segment are variable speed, which can adapt to the cooling capacity required by the system during each period of usage, and the usage of natural refrigerants, which present thermodynamics characteristics more efficient than the ones used in the past.

What are the measures taken by your company to improve HVACR efficiency?

When we are talking about Embraco’s portfolio, we invest in research and development that leads to innovation. Embraco is a global brand reference in technology for the complete domestic and commercial cold chain, and it has 1,200 currently valid patents under its name. In this process, Embraco has been a pioneer in the adoption of technologies such as variable speed compressors and natural refrigerants. Both technologies have a great impact on efficiency. The variable speed technology (also known as an inverter) means that the compressor is set to control its working speed, decreasing it when the ideal temperature has been achieved and also increasing it when there is need for more cold. For instance, during night time, when there is no usage of the refrigerator, the compressor will run at a low speed, consequently saving energy.

Variable speed provides better temperature control, lower noise and energy efficiency and can, alone, reduce energy consumption by 40 per cent in comparison with conventional mixed speed compressors. That is because conventional compressors turn off when the ideal temperature is reached,and turn on again when there is need for more cold that requires a big amount of energy.

You can reach lower energy consumption with fixed speed as well. Take the EM compressors platform. It is the brand’s most sold high technology product in the world. With a small size, low noise and vibration level, it reaches the highest levels of efficiency available in the market for its category. Each year, Embraco presents to the market new, even more, advanced versions, both in conventional technology as well as in variable speed.

Natural refrigerants such as R-290 and R-600a, also contribute to energy efficiency. They are highly energy-efficient gases that present no harm to the ozone layer and have an extremely low impact in terms of global warming. Compressors using these refrigerants have lower operating temperatures and pressures than those used with HFCs refrigerants. It is a solution that also addresses sustainability purposes, aligning economic and environmental needs.