Demand for remanufactured transcritical carbon dioxide-based compressors is rising sharply in the UK, according to Green Point UK, BITZER UK’s specialist services arm.
"Sales of remanufactured BITZER transcritical CO2 units are up 40% year-on-year, with a quarter still to go," says Will Pribyl, Green Point UK General Manager.
A combination of factors is responsible, he says. "Following the initial take-off of transcritical CO2 systems in mainstream refrigeration a couple of decades ago, the number of CO2 compressors coming to the end of their natural working life is increasing rapidly."
Until recently, the obstacle to processing these units and returning them as-new into service has been the high pressures required for full quality assurance testing.
Following recent technical advances, however, this is now possible using a high pressure hydraulic test rig –– developed by Green Point UK –– that is able to safely test compressor bodies up to 180 Bar, overcoming safety concerns related to use of conventional pneumatic-based test systems.
It has enabled the company to receive end-of-life transcritical BITZER units and return them to full original specification, with quality underpinned by the manufacturer.
Will Pribyl says: "This is a live issue for many national contractors, who have comprehensive contracts with customers. First-time fix is vital, as call-backs for faults or repairs can eliminate profits. Our comprehensive remanufacturing and testing process, overseen and backed by BITZER, gives total confidence that our transcritical units will perform to specification, with safety assured by rigorous testing."
Transcritical units are remanufactured using the same proven approach used for standard reciprocating compressors, which includes replacement of all key wear parts and motors with genuine BITZER replacements, with the added step of replacing all external bolts with new.
Use of transcritical CO2 compressors took off in the early 2000s as a number of UK supermarkets championed the solution as a low-GWP alternative to high-GWP refrigerants, putting the UK in the vanguard of the switch to carbon dioxide cooling.
Green Point UK is one of the first in the company's global network of remanufacturing centres to introduce this service for high pressure CO2 units, as a result of its role in developing the critical compressor pressure testing technology.
Green Point's operation in France, the company's global lead remanufacturing centre, has also now adopted similar hydraulic testing for transcritical units, and the service is being rolled-out to other countries, in line with market requirements.
The UK service covers all BITZER Ecoline 2, 4, and 6-cylinder transcritical compressors, which are deployed in thousands of applications across the UK, including supermarkets, food and drink manufacturers and industrial process applications.
The largest transcritical compressor remanufactured by Green Point UK to date is BITZER's 6DTE-50 unit. However, in principle there is no restriction on the size of compressor that can be reprocessed to as-new condition, including BITZER's recently introduced 8-cylinder compressor.
Remanufactured transcritical units are covered by a one-year warranty as standard, with an optional further one-year extension, as for new compressors.
Will Pribyl said: "As increasing numbers of CO2 compressors in the field come to the end of their natural life, and as F-gas restrictions continue to drive the switch away from synthetic refrigerants, we foresee continued acceleration in demand for remanufactured transcritical compressors.
"It is an attractive option environmentally, as it conserves material resources, embodied carbon and contributes to the circular economy. It also makes sense commercially, as it reduces customers' capital costs at a time when budgets are under pressure."