Cold-storage facility converted to propane in Colombia.

Asocoflores has replaced an R22-based system with R290 in a cold storage facility for flowers.
Asocolflores, the association representing flower exporters in Colombia, has replaced an R22-based system with R290 in a 392 m2 cold storage facility for flowers, located in the Savanna of Bogota.
The performance of the system was analyzed and results showed that R290 provides 10% less of cooling capacity, but increases the Coefficient of Performance (COP) and reduces energy consumption by at least 10%.
To address safety concerns such as system pressure and refrigerant flammability, Asocolfores put in place several measures. In particular, an analysis on flammability based on the EN 378:2008 safety standard for refrigeration systems and a basic risk assessment under EN 1127-1:2011 was achieved.
Assuming a 10 kg charge of R290, the maximum concentration level would be 25 g/m3. The high charge is acceptable because the room is only accessible to authorised staff. Finally, technicians were trained to safely handle hydrocarbons.
Despite the success of the project, Asocolflores encountered challenges during implementation such as a lack of standards and funding mechanisms, a shortage of qualified technicians and difficulties in finding local equipment and component suppliers working with R290.
According to the National Ozone Unit, “The Colombian flower industry requires about 31.1 million kW of cooling capacity. 99% of the installations use R22 and the other 1% use R134a, so there is huge potential to convert those to R290.”

For further information, please consult the Hydrocarbon21 website.