Figure 1: Distribution of Global Commercial
                                                            Refrigerant Stock by System Type (2006)

This fact sheet provides current information on low Global Warming Potential (GWP) alternatives in newly
manufactured commercial refrigeration equipment relevant to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that
Deplete the Ozone Layer.] Commercial refrigeration includes refrigerated equipment found in supermarkets,
convenience stores, restaurants, and other food service establishments. In 2006, there were an estimated
530,000 supermarkets worldwide, containing roughly 546,000 metric tons of refrigerant. Due to their
large charge sizes, the multiplex rack systems typically used in these supermarkets account for the greatest
percentage (60%) of refrigerant installed in the commercial refrigeration sector. HCFCs account for the
majority of refrigerant (55%). Figure  1 and Figure 2 graphically present the distribution of the global
commercial refrigeration stock by system and refrigerant type in 2006. Equipment in this sector typically
last approximately 15-20 years. Equipment can be broadly categorized as either self-contained or remote
refrigeration systems, as explained further below:

Self-Contained or Stand-Alone  Refrigeration Systems
• Integrates all refrigerating components within its structure
• Low charge size (-150 grams)
• Most often contains HCFC-22, HFC-134a, or R-404A (a blend of MFCs)
• Estimated 32 million stand-alone units in use worldwide with an additional 20.5 million vending machines

Remote Refrigeration Systems
  Condensing Unit Systems
  • Comprised of one or two compressors, one condenser, and one receiver assembled into the
    condensing unit system; linked to one  or more display case(s) in the sales area through a piping
  • Dominantly contains R-134a, R-22, or R-404A
  • R-407C, R-507, other HFC blends, and HCFC blends are also used
  • Refrigerant charges vary in size from 0.5-20 kg
  • Approximately  34 million systems are in use worldwide
  Multiplex Rack Systems
  • Remote refrigeration systems consisting of racks of
    multiple compressors contained typically in a machinery
    room; linked to multiple display cases in the sales  area
    through extensive piping. Condensers  are usually remotely
    located, such as on  the roof above the machinery  room.
  • Various designs exist: direct (also called direct  expansion)
    is most common, and circulates refrigerant from a central
    machinery room to the sales area; indirect (also called secondary
    loop) systems chill an intermediate fluid which is circulated from the refrigerant-containing equipment to the display cases.
  • R-22 is the most widely used refrigerant in multiplex rack systems
  • CFC-12, R-502, R-404A, R-507A, R-407A, and several HCFC- and HFC-based blends designed for retrofit of existing CFC or HCFC installations are also used
  • Charge size ranges from 300-3,000 kg, depending on the size of the supermarket and on design (e.g., pipe layout and operating characteristics)
Currently, the commercial refrigeration sector accounts for approximately 32% of global HFC consumption, or 40% of HFC consumption in the
refrigeration/AC sector. Developing countries account for an estimated 131 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTC02eq.) or 38% of the
global HFC consumption in this end-use today.
                                                            Figure 2: Distribution of Global Commercial
                                                           Refrigerant Stock by Refrigerant Type (2006)
                                                  2010 HFC Consumption
                                                (Estimates Presented in MMTCO eq.)
                       Fire Extinguishing
                                  Commercial Ref -
                                                               Commercial Ref -
                                 Global HFC Consumption Total: 1,087 MMTC02eq.
                               Global HFC Consumption Commercial Ref: 346 MMTC02eq.
                                         Global Ref/AC Total: 858 MMTC02eq.
                                     Global Ref/AC Sector Commercial: 346 MMTC02eq.

Alternatives and Market Trends

Many design strategies exist today to reduce the amount of refrigerant
needed while at the same time reducing the likelihood of leaks and
mitigating risks if using a flammable or toxic refrigerant. Although most
of these advanced refrigeration systems still rely on HFC refrigerants, they
have great potential for drastically reducing HFC consumption in  multiplex
rack commercial refrigeration systems. In addition, a number of climate-
friendly alternatives to CFC/HCFC/HFC refrigerants are, or will become,
available for use in commercial refrigeration applications. Alternatives
available today include hydrocarbons-isobutane (R-600a), propane (R-
290), and propylene (R-1270)-ammonia (R-717), and carbon dioxide (R-
744). Other alternatives, such as  new HFCs/HFOs, are also likely to enter
the market in the coming years.

Advanced Refrigeration  System Designs
• Distributed systems2 and indirect systems3 have been available for more
  than 20 years
  o Distributed systems can lower refrigerant  charge by 30-50%
  3 Indirect systems can lower refrigerant charge by 50-80%
• Distributed secondary loop,4 compact chiller,5 and cascade6 designs
  were introduced recently
• Systems often use  HFC refrigerants but can also use natural refrigerants
  (e.g., hydrocarbons, ammonia)
• In the European Union, indirect systems are  now the norm; in the U.S.,
  distributed systems account for 40% of new installations and indirect
  systems are gaining significant market shares

• Primarily used in many northern European countries including  Denmark, Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom
• R-290 and R-1270 are used in condensing unit systems produced in northern Europe, as well as in indirect multiplex rack systems as a primary
• A growing proportion  of self-contained (stand-alone) equipment now uses propane (R-290) instead of R-134a
• Several large scale beverage companies have begun producing beverage dispensing fountains with isobutane (R-600a)

• Introduced as a primary refrigerant in indirect systems in northern European countries and Africa

• Many companies producing larger vending machines use R-744 in lieu of R-134a (e.g., Sanyo)
• Used as refrigerant in  condensing unit systems and multiplex rack systems, mainly in Europe
• Used as the heat transfer (i.e., secondary) fluid in indirect systems in some countries such as the United States
• Used in the low temperature loop in cascade systems (often with small amounts of R-134a in the high temperature loop)

• New refrigerants (e.g., HFC-32 and HFO blends) are being developed and may become available in multiplex rack refrigeration systems in the next few years
R-1 2
R-1 270
R-71 7
aODP= ozone depletion potential

Refrigerant Transition in the Commercial Refrigeration End-Use*
Stand-Alone Equipment
  R-12  -
         -R-404A -I
         ğR-134a -
Condensing Unit Systems
                                    •R-404A -
                   -R-600a     R-22
-R-507A -

-R-407C -
Multiplex Rack Systems
               •>• R-717      R"12B~|
               *™    R.502 _T
                                                                System Design Transition
                                                                in Multiplex Rack Systems
*Solid arrow represents alternatives already available in the market for these systems; dashed arrows indicate those likely to be
available in the future.
                                                                                                        [-^Distributed —
                                                                              Secondary _
                                                                                                                      i   Distributed
                                                                                                                       'secondary Loop
Challenges  and Potential Solutions
Several challenges have limited the transition to climate-friendly alternatives in this end-use. The following table summarizes the challenges associated
with the various alternatives as well as potential solutions to overcoming them.
                                     Potential Solutions
  Advanced Refrigeration
  System Designs
    Technician and Operator Experience
    Energy Efficiency Concerns
                        Training and Education
                        Standards and Service Procedures
                        Case Studies and Operational Guidelines
    Highly Flammable
    Safety Code Restrictions
    Liability Concerns
                         Safety Devices
                         Standards and Service Procedures
                         Training and Education
    Toxic and Slightly Flammable
    Building and Fire Code Restrictions
                         Engineering Design
                         Standards and Safety Regulations
                         Revisions to Existing Codes
    Safety Risks
    High Operating Pressure
                         Engineering Design
                         Training and Education
    Market Availability
                         Research and Development
Future Outlook
Taken together, the suite of known alternative chemicals, new technologies, and better process and handling practices can significantly reduce HFC
consumption in both the near and long term, while simultaneously completing the HCFC phaseout. Although there is much work to do to fully implement
these chemicals, technologies and practices, and some unknowns still remain, the industries currently using  HCFCs and MFCs have proven through the
ODS  phaseout that they can move quickly to protect the environment.


Center for Sustainable Production and  Consumption (C-SPAC). 2005. "Ecofridge: Make the Right Choice Now." Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS).
Retrieved August 19,2010 from:

GTZ-Proklima International. 2010. "Conversion of Supermarket Refrigeration Systems from F-Gases to Natural Refrigerants." Funded by Federal Ministry
for Environment, Natural Conservation, and  Nuclear Energy.

ICF International. 2009. "2009 Marginal Abatement Cost Curve Analysis for Reduction of MFCs in Traditional Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) End-Use
Applications: Draft Report." Prepared for the U.S. Environmental  Protection Agency. October 30,2009.

International Panel on  Climate Change (IPCC). 2007. "Climate Change 2007:The Physical Science Basis." Contribution of Working Group I to the
Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Solomon,  S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.
Tignor, and H.L. Miller (Eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United  Kingdom and New York, NY, USA. Available online at:
http://www.ipcc. ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/contents.html

Kauffeld, Michael. 2008. "Trends and Perspectives in Supermarket Refrigeration." Available online at:

Mahone, D. and  Roberts, J. 2008. "White Paper on Approaches to Reducing Leakage and Improving the Performance of Supermarket Refrigeration
Systems." Prepared  by Heschong Mahone Group, Inc. and CTG Energetics, Inc. for the California Energy Commission.

Technology and Economic Assessment  Panel (TEAP). 2009. "Task Force Decision XX/8 Report. Assessment of Alternatives to  HCFCs and MFCs and
Update of the TEAP 2005 Supplement  Report Data." May 2009. Available online at:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2010. "Overview on Commercial Refrigerants: where are we headed?"  Presented by Jeremy Arling,
U.S. EPA; Dave Godwin, U.S. EPA; Ron Vogl,  Honeywell; Stephen  Speltzer, Arkema; Nick Strickland, DuPont; Scott Koerper, Mexichem Flour; and David
Callendar, ICOR International; at the GreenChill April Webinar. April 29,2010. Available online at:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 2006. "Global Mitigation of Non-C02 Greenhouse Gases." June 2006. Available online at:
'The four factsheets in this series covering domestic refrigeration, commercial refrigeration, MVACs, and unitary AC represent
85% of HFC consumption in the refrigeration/AC sector. The remaining HFC consumption in the refrigeration/AC sector is
from chillers, cold storage, industrial process refrigeration, and refrigerated transport. Any service-related consumption is
attributed to the specific end-use.

2 Distributed systems use an array of separate compressor racks located near the refrigerated cases rather than having a
central compressor system.

3 Indirect systems use a chiller to cool a secondary fluid that is then circulated throughout the store to the cases and coolers.

4 Distributed secondary systems combine secondary loops with the typical distributed design.

5 Compact chiller versions of an indirect system rely on a line-up of 10-20 units, each using approximately 4-7 kg of

6 Cascade systems use a compressor to raise the low temperature coolant (often C02)from low temperature conditions up to
an intermediate temperature while a separate refrigerating system uses a different refrigerant to condense the coolant.
                                                                                                                       U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                                                                                           EPA-430-F-1 0-043 • • September 2010
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