PrimeLINE® Unit Takes On the World
Carrier’s new PrimeLINE® container refrigeration unit provides shipping lines with a hedge against rising energy costs like no other unit on the market today. Designed with both the ecologist and economist in mind, it’s an “EcoDriven” solution.
In slashing energy requirements, the technologically advanced PrimeLINE unit helps shippers reduce their impact on the environment. Additionally, like other units in Carrier’s container refrigeration family, the PrimeLINE unit is designed to keep long-term maintenance and repair (M&R) costs low.
Most container refrigeration unit manufacturers make similar claims about energy efficiency and performance. On these pages we show why the PrimeLINE unit is in a class by itself.
Total Cost of Ownership
“In assessing container refrigeration performance, total cost of ownership (TCO) is key,” said James Taeckens, senior product manager. “TCO combines acquisition cost, energy costs, and maintenance and repair (M&R) costs over the life of the unit. The PrimeLINE unit is designed to have the lowest TCO of any unit on the market.”
Not long ago, acquisition cost was the single biggest component of TCO. As recently as 2003, when bunker fuel costs were in the vicinity of $150 a ton, energy costs comprised just over one-fourth of a refrigeration unit’s TCO over a typical 12-year ownership period. That percentage has gradually grown, and with bunker fuel prices recently surging to $700 a ton and beyond, energy now accounts for two-thirds of the TCO.
“With some competitive units, a lower acquisition cost can quickly turn into a higher operating cost, on a TCO basis, because their power consumption is substantially higher than the Carrier unit, thus negating any upfront savings,” Taeckens explained.
“Based on price trends, energy will account for an even larger proportion of TCO in the future,” Taeckens said. “So when making the initial investment in refrigeration equipment, one needs to look at the total picture, paying particular attention to the anticipated energy cost over the life of ownership.”
In the transportation sector, there is a direct link between energy production and atmospheric emissions.
The more energy that is required, the greater the level of emissions. It follows that when you reduce energy requirements, you reduce power generation and, hence, related emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and particulates.
Shippers seeking to minimize global warming impact from power generation should select products with the lowest energy demand. Here, the highly efficient PrimeLINE unit excels. Greenhouse gas emissions related to energy production for PrimeLINE units are lower than all competitors. For one competitive unit with higher energy needs, power generation results in 63 percent more CO2 emissions. Replacing such a unit with a PrimeLINE unit reduces CO2 emissions by about 5,100 kg a year, or about the same as removing one passenger vehicle from the road.
Another environmental advantage of the PrimeLINE unit is its use of R-134a, a Carrier-standard refrigerant with the lowest Global Warming Potential of all contemporary container refrigeration unit refrigerants. The PrimeLINE unit pushes R-134a to new levels of performance, demonstrating even better pulldown capacity than units using R-404A, a refrigerant blend with significantly longer atmospheric life, higher operating pressures and higher leak rates.
Plan for M&R Costs
When considering unit life cycle factors, less obvious, but no less important, are long-term service and M&R requirements.
The PrimeLINE unit was engineered to minimize long-term costs for maintenance, repair and consumables. For example, Carrier’s patented electro-coated condenser coils perform well beyond the six- to seven-year lifespan of conventional coils. And Carrier’s modular MicroLink™ 3 controller provides time-tested reliability, accuracy and interchangeability with other Carrier units.
When it comes to compressor technology, the PrimeLINE unit delivers exceptional efficiency with simplicity and reliability of a digital scroll compressor. “Some variable-speed technologies developed by competitors to save energy actually add complexity, come at a much higher cost, and can be expensive to maintain or replace,” Taeckens said.
“Technology for the sake of technology means nothing. Carrier’s time-tested reliability delivers energy-saving performance with lower maintenance costs in the long run.”
The Bottom Line
For fleets evaluating a purchase of new container refrigeration equipment, there are many criteria to consider.
“Now and in the future, key considerations will continue to be long-term energy costs, environmental factors, refrigeration unit performance, M&R costs, widespread availability of service and technical support,” said Taeckens. “Together, all point to the PrimeLINE unit.
“Prime means top quality, or number one,” said Taeckens, “The name suits this unit perfectly, because the PrimeLINE unit delivers in all the important areas – efficiency, the environment, performance and reliability.”
“When you do the math, no matter which measure you consider, the sum of the PrimeLINE’s components adds up to a whole lot of long-term savings!”
Fundamentals of Container Refrigeration Energy Consumption
The recent surge in bunker fuel costs has rocked the global shipping industry like a tidal wave. Fuel has become the biggest operating expense in container shipping, and it’s no less the case for energy needs to support container refrigeration.
“Energy requirements vary both by container unit manufacturer and according to specific demand circumstances,” said James Taeckens, senior product manager. “For example, some refrigeration technologies do reasonably well in handling deep frozen, but consume a great deal of energy when protecting perishables.
“Yet in the real world, most fleets run a mix of both perishable and frozen cargo – the exception being the segment dedicated to transporting bananas, which only operates in the perishable mode. Therefore, energy efficiency in all situations is key.”
Among the major makes of container refrigeration unit on the market today, the PrimeLINE™ container refrigeration unit stands alone in its ability to offer the lowest energy consumption in the most common scenarios, ranging from 100 percent perishable to a mix of 20 percent perishable and 80 percent frozen.
“In a situation where a fleet averages 50 percent perishable and 50 percent frozen, a PrimeLINE unit’s 12-year energy cost, based on $700/ton bunker fuel, will be about $12,500,” Taeckens explained. “Under identical circumstances, competitor energy requirements will be as high as $21,120, or nearly 70 percent more than the PrimeLINE unit.”
In a strictly perishable situation such as a banana fleet, the contrast is far more dramatic. A PrimeLINE unit’s 12-year energy cost is projected at about $15,400. The least efficient competitive unit’s energy cost is projected at nearly $30,150, nearly double the PrimeLINE unit. Even the most competitive unit in this scenario exceeds the PrimeLINE unit’s energy requirements by nearly 8 percent.
“And this is at a time when savings of as little as a percent or two is significant,” Taeckens said.
For even further energy savings, customers can tap the power of Carrier’s QUEST power-saving mode. QUEST mode is a breakthrough solution that enables the control software to modulate refrigeration unit operation within defined parameters to save energy. It intermittently cycles the refrigeration system on and off, eliminating the need to power the compressor and fans 100 percent of the time.
With the PrimeLINE system, the QUEST mode is capable of reducing energy needs by at least 22 percent in an all-perishable operation.
“Some competitive units also offer power-saving modes, but none match PrimeLINE in terms of performance,” noted Taeckens.
“In all of our test scenarios, the PrimeLINE unit with QUEST mode beat all competitors’ power-saving modes,” said Taeckens, adding, “The PrimeLINE unit is, in fact, so efficient that in an 80 percent frozen situation as well as the 50 percent perishable operation, its standard-mode can out-perform competitive units operating in their power-saving modes.”
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