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The Ecodry System by Frigel is a New Integrated Cooling Solution, that truly represents a Paradigm Shift in the Beverage Industry.

By Daniel Garcia – Frigel Firenze SPA

THE INNOVATION:

Ecodry System is a New Integrated Cooling Solution, based on an innovative engineering concept that truly represents a Paradigm Shift in the Beverage Industry. From soft drinks to brewing, from processing to bottling, this “Intelligent Process Cooling” approach can cover all cooling demands with unbeatable performance improvements and savings when compared to traditional solutions.

The system is based on two technologies:

1.  “Process-Synchronized Refrigeration Units” (Microgel® and MultiStage®)

In this revolutionary approach, one cooling unit (chiller) is dedicated to each main processing line, specifically designed for the application in terms of cooling and pumping capacities.

Super-compact, factory built and pretested, each cooling unit may have Single-Stage or Multi-Stage-Cascade refrigeration circuits that operate inverter driven screw compressors with latest generation of “green refrigerant” and inverter driven process pumps.

The units are easily installed and connected to each process, digitally-synchronized with the processing lines and automatically operated by them, delivering with high precision the set of cooling parameters (coolant temperature and flow rate) pre-programmed by the operator according to the actual demand and adapting the logics of control to the specific requirements of the process according to the process status (ON/OFF, RUN/STOP, IDLE or CIP) at any given time.

Optionally, the chillers being water cooled, they may also be operated as “heat-pumps” in order to easily achieve heat recovery, being able to produce hot water (up to 60°C) to be used either for process purposes or room heating (HVAC) during winter.

2. “Central Adiabatic Cooling System” (Ecodry®)

To complete the Ecodry System innovation, the cooling units installed at each process are connected to a Central Adiabatic Cooling System installed outdoors in order to reject the heat extracted from the processes to ambient (if not recovered). This modular system – an alternative to old-style evaporative cooling towers – is made of closed circuit adiabatic fluid coolers with large copper coils and aluminum fin heat exchangers and inverter driven DC-brushless fans. This system can keep the coolant temperature even lower than the ambient temperature, thanks to the Internationally Patented Adiabatic Chamber which, during high ambient temperature conditions, pre-cools the air before it reaches the heat exchangers.

Obviously, this central system can also provide direct cooling to all processes requiring temperatures above ambient, such as air compressors, cooling tunnels, pasteurizers, etc.

PERFORMANCE:

The new ECODRY SYSTEM brings overall performance to a higher level in beverage manufacturing, based on: Increased Productivity, highly Reduced Operating Cost and Total Modularity.

Increased Productivity:

“Process Synchronized Cooling” guarantees that each processing line always runs consistently at the highest throughput. In many beverage processes, especially those with a high cooling demand, an increased productivity of 20 to 30% can be achieved.

This is due to four main reasons:

1. Maximum Flexibility. There is no limitation for settings of coolant temperature and flow rate delivered to each process. The operator is able to record the cooling parameters that maximize the processing line speed for each specific product. These parameters may be digitally memorized and restored anytime the line manufactures the same product.

2. Perfect Stability. Each unit assures precise temperature control and constant flow rate of coolant to each process with complete independence – avoiding interference from the demands of other processes – while the processing equipment always runs steadily at the highest throughput.

3. Full Automation and Connectivity. Each cooling Unit is automatically operated by the processing line and is constantly communicating with it. It is able to start or change conditions extremely fast because it operates with very low inertial volumes of coolant, reducing ramp-up times and any dead time during production stops, change of formats, change of product, etc.

4. High reliability. The Ecodry System has built-in, high redundancy. On one hand, dedicated units are extremely reliable because they are factory assembled and pre-tested before shipping. They typically have multiple refrigeration stages and are generally designed with one back-up stage, resulting in no production stops in case of the failure of one compressor. Furthermore, each stage is basically an “extractable”, self-supporting unit that can be easily replaced. On the other hand, the central adiabatic Ecodry System has multiple fans and pumps, all easily replaceable in case of failure.

Reduced Operating Costs:

The “ECODRY SYSTEM” achieves remarkable running cost savings when compared to traditional central systems: Energy Savings (up to 30%), Water Savings (up to 95%) and overall Maintenance & Safety Costs Savings (up to 90%).

Energy Savings (up to 30%)

The new system based on individual cooling units for each process, results in very high energy savings due to four main reasons:

1. Higher overall refrigeration performance of the system (EER/COP).
According to the requirements of the different processes in the facility each dedicated refrigeration unit will operate at a specific coolant temperature, thus running each process consistently at the maximum refrigeration circuit performance level. Whenever the process may run a product that allows a higher coolant temperature, the unit associated with that line will automatically increase its efficiency. Additionally, this new concept consumes no energy – of any kind – when there’s no production.

2. Higher refrigeration efficiency of cooling units (EER/COP).
All units have the latest generation of high efficiency, variable speed refrigeration screw compressors and frequency driven pumps, resulting in remarkable efficiency, especially under partial load conditions. Additionally, for those processes with high temperature differential (difference between temperature of coolant returning from the process and temperature of coolant supplied to the process), the cooling units have Multi-Stage-Cascade refrigeration, further improving efficiency. Finally, being installed close to process, the units perform with minimal thermal and mechanical losses through the piping distribution network, adding even more energy savings.

3. Free-cooling opportunities (optional)
This new system can take energy saving even further. The main concept is to use ambient air cooling instead of refrigeration whenever the ambient temperature allows this. For this purpose, the system integrates the adiabatic coolers with the refrigeration units that have an additional feature: Automatic Free-Cooling mode. Whenever the coolant temperature returning from process is higher than the temperature supplied to the unit by the central adiabatic cooling system, the device will automatically switch to free-cooling mode. The coolant returning from process will be diverted to the adiabatic coolers to be rejected to the ambient air with minimum energy consumption. As a result, the refrigeration compressors will be unloaded proportionally. In locations with frequently low ambient temperatures, this unique feature may result in an additional 20 to 30% energy savings.

4. Heat recovery opportunities (optional)
The units being water cooled chillers, by operating them as heat pumps, they may also be used for heating by recovering up to 100% of the heat taken from the refrigeration loads. The hot water produced (up to 60°C) can be used for various purposes like pre-heating of water used in the beverage processes or for room heating during wintertime for an HVAC system.

Water Savings (up to 95%)

This consept uses a central Adiabatic Cooling System for heat rejection of the whole thermal load of the plant. This technology operates water evaporation only during short periods of time whenever ambient temperature is extreme (above 30°C). An “on demand” Intelligent Saving Software operates adiabatic mode only when needed. Otherwise, the system runs completely dry.

Maintenance & Safety Costs Savings (up to 90%).

The refrigeration units are made of relatively small chillers, which require low expertise to maintain or repair. The chillers are built with leak-free refrigeration circuits, which makes them almost maintenance free. Operating with innocuous gases, they do not require any specific safety infrastructure, saving all costs involved, including safety insurance policies. On the other hand, the central adiabatic system is a close loop circuit that provides excellent heat transfer with maintenance-free coolant, avoiding scale accumulation and minimizing the need for ongoing water treatment.

Total Modularity:

This Modular, Plug & Play Concept has many additional advantages compared to traditional systems. It is easily expandable at any time, which allows the installation of the precise capacity needed at every stage of the plant growth. Thanks to its modularity, it is also extremely easy to gradually implement even in existing plants, one unit at a time, requiring low level of expertise to engineer, install and operate. Eventually, it could be partially or totally relocated. An additional advantage of this new concept is that it allows processors to know the “cost of refrigeration per line and per product” because each unit can measure and record the specific energy consumption per product (kwh/hl, kwh/m3, etc.).

SUSTAINABILITY:

The Ecodry System achieves outstanding results in terms of environmental impact reduction. The main advantages are:

Reduced “CARBON FOOTPRINT” – up to 50% less
Thanks to its unbeatable refrigeration efficiency, free-cooling opportunities and the possibility of reducing natural gas consumption with the heat recovery option.

Almost no “WATER FOOTPRINT” – up to 95% less
Thanks to the Ecodry adiabatic cooling heat rejection technology, the beverage industry can achieve maximum reductions in water consumption.

Lowest “RISKS OF EMISSIONS”
The system is Ammonia free, utilizes innocuous refrigeration gas with the lowest GWP available today and is divided into several separated small circuits. So the risk of emissions in the case of leakage is reduced to a minimum. Moreover, this system does not require large thermal inertial central tanks and so operates with 90% less glycol than a conventional central system. Additionally, it does not dispose of any water treatment chemicals as evaporative cooling towers do (i.e. “bleed-off”).

For more info please visit: http://beverage.frigel.com

ABOUT THE FRIGEL GROUP
Frigel is a market leader in intelligent process cooling. The Frigel group includes the following companies: Frigel Firenze S.p.A, Frigel Custom Cooling Solutions s.r.l., Frigel Intelligent Energy Solutions s.r.l., Frigel North America Inc., Frigel Asia Pacific Company Ltd, Frigel Latino America Ltda, Frigel GmbH. It also has a worldwide network of agents and distributors.



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