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Project name:

Natural refrigerant heat exchange solutions for HVAC/R applications

Status: Idea
Creation date: 06-09-2022

Project objectives:

Short summary The Coolers and Power & Process division, based in Italy, is part of a multinational company that develops heat exchange solutions using natural refrigerants for HVAC/R applications. Natural fluids are a concrete alternative to the use of synthetic refrigerants and in this context carbon-dioxide (CO2) will play a pivotal role thanks to a net zero environmental impact and great thermodynamic properties. The Italian company is seeking research and technical collaboration.

Full description The group is an international leader in thermal management (11,000 employees worldwide). The company designs, engineers, tests and manufactures heat transfer products for a wide range of applications and markets. The Coolers and Power & Process division, based in Italy, is focused on refrigeration applications. Its production flagship is commercial refrigeration air coolers using natural refrigerants. The division has a decades-long expertise developing, engineering, testing, manufacturing and certifying fin-and-tube heat exchangers ranging from refrigeration to air-conditioning. Typical customers are installers, asking for air-coolers, dry coolers, remote condensers and gas coolers, or OEMs (original equipment manufacturer) that need heat exchangers only. The valued engineering and manufacturing know-how in working with natural refrigerants is a source of pride for the company. This has been achieved through intensive engineering efforts that have allowed to use standard materials for manufacturing top-end heat exchangers for high pressure and high temperature applications. Over the years the manufacturing process has increasingly been improved, attaining today's several thousand possible combinations of materials, tubes and fins. As a final quality guarantee, all heat exchangers can be certified according to PED (up to cat. IV), UL and UKCA regulations. All this has contributed in making the company a global player and partner in the green energy transition of the HVAC/R sector towards the use of natural refrigerants. The company is looking for research and technical collaborations in the following fields: 1. R&D research institutes with an extensive expertise in numerical and experimental topics of thermodynamics, fluid-dynamics and heat transfer problems, in particular with the use of natural refrigerants. 2. Retail wholesalers, distributors and associations dealing with the refrigeration of foodstuffs (fruit, meat, fish, dairy products) willing to envisage and build the storage warehouses of the future. 3. Industrial partners to find and develop new solutions for specific applications. 4. Engineering companies and energy managers willing to solve the performance gap between design and operation.

Advantages and innovations A distinctive aspect of the company is its attitude in studying engineering and manufacturing heat exchanger solutions. The company has an internal R&D department that provides engineering and laboratory services. Numerical modelling has a key role in the development process of any heat exchanger with analysis ranging from the assessment of brazing joints through FEM analysis to the calculation of the heat transfer coefficient of a specific fin geometry. Numerical models are calibrated and validated using experimental data from the company's internal lab. In particular the Italian facility is dedicated to refrigeration applications and it is used mainly to provide accurate performance data to end users and to continuously improve the portfolio of product solutions. Thanks to this work, it has been possible to select standard materials to produce a vast range of products and solutions based on customer specifications. This standardization process has allowed to converge towards mass production instead of niche applications.
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