Hussmann revisits self-contained propane cases

OEM’s water-cooled condensing units using R290 are designed for small-format stores, following earlier installations at Texas supermarkets.


Hussmann, a Bridgeton, Mo.-based OEM, has developed new micro-distributed water-loop condensing units using propane refrigerant for display cases in small-format supermarkets.

The company previously installed such cases to do most of the refrigeration at a new 83,000-sq- ft H.E. Butt Grocery Company (HEB) store in Austin, Texas, in 2013, and for all low-temperature cases at a remodeled, 34,000-sq.-ft. Lowe’s Market in Lubbock, Texas, in 2015.

Hussmann is supplying the propane units to a small-format food retailer, said Quentin Crowe, product manager for Hussmann, declining to name the retailer without its permission. He sees propane cases as potentially suitable for dollar and drug stores, in addition to supermarkets. “I think it’s going to make an impact in the U.S.,” he said last month at the FMI Energy & Store Development Conference.

But he stressed that it’s important to find specially trained technicians to service the units. The retailer, he said, “has to own the service side.”

Technicians inspecting propane units should perform an evacuation process and leak test, and seal the system, he said, adding that this type of protocol should be put in writing and signed by the technician. “That’s to make sure the [cases] are certified to be safe when the technician leaves the store.”

Crowe said the cases designed for the small-format food retailer are equal to less than HFC units in energy consumption. At the Lowe’s Market, the energy consumption of the propane condensing units was found to be 25% less than that of condensing units using R407F. Each of the condensing units at that store contain 5 oz of propane, for a total of 170 oz.

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