RD&T responds to growing demand for CO2 Retail display cabinet testing

RD&T worked with Star Refrigeration to design and manufacture a bespoke CO2 refrigeration testing system for the retail sector

Commercial testing and development company, Refrigeration Developments & Testing Ltd (RD&T) have acquired a new CO2 refrigeration system for retail display cabinets after the rapid take-up of CO2 cabinets in retail made it necessary for the company to supplement its testing services with a new remote test system.

RD&T have extensive experience in the design and testing of retail refrigeration systems. Historically, the company used HFCs and low carbon refrigerants such as hydrocarbons, but with the number of commercial CO2 installations surging in Europe by 81% since 2018, RD&T decided to upgrade its CO2 laboratory test facility in in Langford, near Bristol in order to keep up with growing demand.

The new CO2 refrigeration system was developed by Star Refrigeration to comply with the EN23953 test standard which is used in Europe for assessing the energy and temperature performance of display cabinets and for mandatory energy labelling of cabinets. The specialised CO2 refrigeration plant was designed with the ability to be controlled remotely with great accuracy and to ensure consistent supply of sub-cooled liquid to the cabinet with well-controlled evaporating temperature. The plant operates when the cabinet is on defrost and is capable of supplying liquid at the correct conditions to the cabinet immediately after the defrost terminates.

Prof. Judith Evans, Director RD&T, said, “We are delighted to be able to offer CO2 as a new testing service in addition to being able to test using other low GWP refrigerants and obviously refrigerants such as hydrocarbons in smaller integral systems.”

Following the phase-down of harmful f-gases, the use of CO2 as a refrigerant has increased rapidly. This is mainly due to CO2 being a non-flammable, organic refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) of 1. This makes it suitable for industry sectors where users are unable, or do not wish, to use other natural refrigerants such as ammonia or hydrocarbons.

One such sector is retail, which has been driving the demand for CO2 display cabinets and therefore CO2 system testing. Europe is leading the way with 90% of the CO2 installation reported to be in supermarkets and 5% in convenience stores. It is mandatory for all display cabinets to be energy labelled.

Dr Andy Pearson, Group MD at Star Refrigeration, said, “RD&T are well renowned in the industry for their high standards. We are delighted to have been able to support RD&T with the development of a bespoke refrigeration system to accommodate demand for CO2 testing. As the refrigeration sector adapts to the need for natural refrigerants it is essential that compliance keeps up with commercial demand”.

The collaboration between RD&T and Star Refrigeration’s Bristol branch has been extremely successful, with the rapid development of the CO2 test system exceeding expectations. In operation for over six months, the system has proven to be extremely controlled and reliable, allowing RD&T to extend its services to the growing number of retail customers opting for CO2 cabinets.

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