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  1. #1
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    Why did we retrofit?

    Sporlan's Supermarket Lab was constructed a few years ago, and commissioned in 2012. At this time and for many years before, R404A was a common choice for medium and low temperature supermarket systems. R404A is an HFC blend that has no ozone depletion potential (ODP), reasonably good cycle efficiency and low (almost negligible) temperature glide. R404A also exhibits low discharge temperatures, so that many systems do not require any means of discharge temperature control. However, R404A has high GWP, at around 3900. This means it has 3900 times more GWP than CO2 (baseline, defined as 1). Another way to look at it is 1 lb of leaked R404A has the same effect on the atmosphere as nearly 2 tons of CO2.


    Since the late 2000's, a new class of refrigerant has been developed. These are known as hydrofluoroolefins, or HFO's. These refrigerants also have no ODP, and have dramatically lower GWP - less than one in their pure form. The main two issues with these refrigerants in their pure forms are they are mildly flammable, and are lower in pressure and capacity than R404A. However, they can be blended with other refrigerants to significantly reduce the GWP of the blend, and more closely match the pressure and capacity of existing refrigerant blends such as R404A. The blend can also be non-flammable. Among the R404A-like blends developed over last few years are R448A and R449A. These blends are designed to be retrofitted into existing R404A systems with a minimum of component changes. These blends have around 25% HFO content, lowering their GWP to around 1400. This represents a 2/3 reduction in comparison with R404A. They are also safety classified A1: non-toxic, non-flammable. Both these blends were SNAP-approved by the US EPA in July 2015 for use in medium and low temperature supermarket systems, among others.


    At about the same time, EPA issued a final rule that phases R404A, R507, and several other refrigerants out of use in supermarket systems over the next couple of years. As of July 20, 2016 it was no longer permissible to retrofit an existing system to R404A. As of January 1, 2017 it will no longer be allowed for new systems, and as of January 1, 2018 it will no longer be allowed for new condensing units. Many refrigeration OEMs and end users have great interest in these HFO blends, and there is a strong movement toward these refrigerants as well as other natural refrigerants.


    These have all been deciding factors in Sporlan's decision to retrofit our Supermarket Lab. Other very good reasons to retrofit are the knowledge and practical experience we will gain from it (and can pass along to our customers), and having performance comparisons from a very well-instrumented system for R448A and R404A. This will give us insight into the real-world differences between these and similar blends. Even though R448A is designed as an R404A replacement, there are still key differences that need to be understood. These differences include a much higher temperature glide for R448A (about 10°F, versus only 1°F for R404A) and significantly lower mass flow requirements for R448A (around 25%, depending on operating conditions.)


    We hope that you'll follow along with us as we document our system retrofit here on HVAC-Talk. And please don't be shy about asking questions along the way!

    Side-by-side "Snapshot" Comparison of R404A and R448A
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  2. #2
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    Ok I'll start



    Oh CRAP
    This crept up with not much conversation here.
    Great two more tanks I have no room for

    Thanks for starting a thread.
    Any reason for going with R-448A over R-449A for your tests?

  3. Likes tmt liked this post
  4. #3
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    I'm in.

  5. #4
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    We already have a store running 449 on medium temp and low temp racks. It was a retrofit from r22.

  6. #5
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    If God didn't want us to eat animals... He wouldn't have made them out of MEAT.

  7. #6
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    Apr 2016
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by itsiceman View Post
    Ok I'll start



    Oh CRAP
    This crept up with not much conversation here.
    Great two more tanks I have no room for

    Thanks for starting a thread.
    Any reason for going with R-448A over R-449A for your tests?
    Great Question!

    We considered both R448A and R449A. Thermodynamically, they are very similar. R448A has both R1234yf and R1234ze(E) in it, which tipped it in favor. We think it is good to get experience with both these up-and-coming HFO constituents.

  8. #7
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    We would really like to see some pics of the supermarket lab.


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  10. #8
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    Here are some pics of the lab. You can also view the Supermarket Test Lab Brochure.

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  12. #9
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    Where's the load (product) ?
    In GOD We Trust

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  14. #10
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by jdwendling View Post
    Where's the load (product) ?
    There is mass load for the testing. We plan on showing pictures as we progress with the retrofit. Stay tuned.

  15. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdwendling View Post
    Where's the load (product) ?
    Here are pics of testing with load. More pics will be added as we go along.


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  16. #12
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    Was looking at some data on a compressor today and at 20°F the pump was listed for 10 more BTUs with 448 and 449 vs 404
    But at 0°F 404 was listed at 77 BTUs more.
    I don't know how accurate that is but it's what they had listed (Copeland)

  17. #13
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    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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