The wraps came off the world’s first and only natural refrigerant- based container refrigeration system at Intermodal Europe 2011 in Hamburg, as the new NaturaLINE™ product design made its debut, exactly one year after Carrier Transicold announced the technology development.
“Advancing Carrier’s natural leadership in environmental technologies for the marine container refrigeration market, the NaturaLINE design provides the global shipping industry with the most environmentally sound alternative for refrigerated transport,” said David Appel, president, Carrier Transicold. “Carbon dioxide has a global warming potential of only one, and when compared to today’s container refrigeration units, NaturaLINE stands apart as the only one to offer a natural refrigerant-based solution.”
Incorporating breakthrough technologies, the NaturaLINE unit has been engineered to deliver efficiencies currently only achieved by Carrier’s best-in-class performer, the popular PrimeLINE® unit. Both units significantly reduce on-board power generation requirements, helping shipping lines save fuel used in generation of electricity. This, in turn, helps hold down operating costs and reduce emissions related to power generation.
“NaturaLINE demonstrates how technological innovation can reduce the impact on climate change, continuing Carrier’s long-standing commitment of providing sustainable solutions,” Appel said.
Through the use of the natural refrigerant CO2, the NaturaLINE design will improve upon the PrimeLINE unit’s ability to reduce carbon emissions 28 percent compared to previous units.
The Advantages of One
The natural refrigerant CO2, also known as R-744, is non-ozone depleting. Its GWP of one compares very favorably to conventional container system refrigerants R-134a and R-404A, which have GWPs of 1,300 and 3,260, respectively. The GWP of CO2 is also lower than other natural refrigerants, such as propane and ammonia. So even in the event of a leak, the use of CO2 adds no new environmental risk.
The introduction of natural refrigerant technology comes at a time when shipping lines are under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint. Even though HFC refrigerants are considered to be minor contributors to global warming, their use continues to draw the focus of governments and the environmental community because of their higher GWP.
While presently there are no HFC bans for the shipping industry, the F-gas regulation in Europe has phased out automotive air conditioning systems using refrigerants with GWP ratings greater than 150 in new cars, and incentives are being offered in several EU ports for ships that produce low emissions and report their energy efficiency.
Although transport refrigeration (marine, truck and trailer, vans) is not presently covered by the European Union F-Gas Regulation, developments point to a potential inclusion in upcoming new F-Gas regulations. Carrier is committed to offering solutions to our shipping customers, even before these potential regulations take effect.
In developing the NaturaLINE system for best-in-class environmental performance, engineers drew from Carrier’s considerable experience with CO2 in other applications, such as the CO2OLtec™ system used in retail refrigeration applications throughout northern Europe. With nearly 300installations at press time, CO2OLtec systems continue to grow in popularity while reducing the impact from potential greenhouse gas emissions.
As a result of Carrier’s multi-year development initiative, the NaturaLINE design includes a number of “firsts” for container refrigeration applications, some of which are patented. Among them are:
- A purpose-built, multi-stage compressor with variable-speed drive;
- A new gas cooler in place of the traditional condenser;
- A flash tank;
- Multi-speed fans; and,
- An advanced software control system.
All work together as one to efficiently optimize fan speeds and compressor capacity to match cooling loads and temperature control.
Although natural refrigerant technology differs distinctly from Carrier’s other container refrigeration systems, one point of commonality is the Micro-Link® 3 Control, which assures that NaturaLINE units will be as familiar to operate as any other Carrier container refrigeration unit.
Serviceability will also be very similar to standard practices on today’s refrigeration units, and will be supported by Carrier’s complete service training program and global service center network. The way that technicians interact with, troubleshoot and repair NaturaLINE units will be very similar to how it is done with today’s units.
At the Intermodal Europe 2011 event, Carrier executives said that NaturaLINE units have completed extensive life testing and are readying for sea trials, following successful trans-critical demonstrations with Hapag-Lloyd in 2010 and 2008.back to top