Daikin Europe has completed the installation of a HVAC prototype mentioned in its Environmental Vision 2050. The prototype called ‘Conveni-Pack’ is an integrated refrigeration/air conditioning/heating system for convenience stores, using CO2 refrigerant, at a demonstration shop at its headquarters in Ostend, Belgium.
Daikin Europe developed the CO2-based Conveni-Pack for ‘Natural HVACR 4 Life’, a sustainability-focused research project exploring the use of CO₂ as a natural refrigerant. Co-funded by the European Union (EU), the project is led by Daikin Europe in partnership with Daikin Air conditioning Germany and Daikin AC Spain.
Daikin Europe officially launched the project in January 2020 – though the European Commission (EC) set the parameters for the project last year – and expects it to run for three years. The CO2 version of the Conveni-Pack is based on an existing version that employs R410A as the refrigerant.
Daikin Europe will test the CO2 prototype in a simulated convenience store, followed by demonstration and monitoring in stores in Germany and Spain, in average and warm climates, respectively. According to the EC, the project intends to install and monitor the system in 20 European stores, mainly the energy efficiency and safety performance of the equipment “to provide a risk mitigation strategy as the basis for a large-scale application of CO2 as a natural refrigerant.”
The CO2 Conveni-Pack, which comes as a preassembled system, recovers heat from the refrigeration display cabinets and evaporators and reuses it to heat other areas of the building at no extra cost. Through Natural HVACR 4 Life, Daikin intends to remove market barriers by exploring the viability (in terms of energy and safety) of an integrated refrigeration, heating and comfort cooling system that uses CO2 as a natural refrigerant. The company will raise awareness among installers, engineers, customers and the general public on the potential benefits of using CO2 as a natural refrigerant in convenience stores through exhibitions, conferences and online tools.
Daikin also plans to develop an ‘economically viable’ cassette indoor CO2 unit for comfort cooling and heating and may add a cold storage test at a later stage.
To support the project, Daikin will establish CO2 Conveni-Pack training and training materials for installers and customers, as well as share project insights with policymakers and standardisation bodies to facilitate the update of safety and energy-related standards and labels.
The Natural HVACR 4 Life project seeks to contribute to the implementation of the EU F-gas Regulation, according to the EC. “It intends to invite policymakers to take into consideration the characteristics of natural refrigerants in the definition of standards and energy labelling schemes, by providing information on tested risk management procedures to deal with the flammability or the toxicity of natural refrigerants.”
The project’s outcome in reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions should reach, the EC said:
- 24% after three years of operation;
- 12% after six years; and
- 6% at the end of the lifetime of the system (10 years).