Partner: National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
NREL’s research partnership with ComEd examined the technical aspects and potential energy savings of refrigerated display cases cooled by R290 propane refrigerant.
The use of reach-in refrigerated display cases is widespread in supermarkets and convenience stores across the ComEd service territory. Replicating the typical range of indoor conditions in supermarkets and convenience stores, NREL evaluated the technical aspects and potential energy savings of refrigerated display cases that use R290 propane refrigerant through laboratory testing. R290 is an environmentally-friendly refrigerant with an extremely low Global Warming Potential (GWP=3) compared to the existing baseline refrigerant R134A (GWP=1,300). The study aimed to characterize the energy efficiency of R290 cases for future program integration.
Results and Outcomes
The study results showed the propane case reduced energy usage by over 60 percent compared to the baseline case while maintaining the necessary temperature requirements. While the energy savings are significant, there are still barriers to customer adoption around cost and potential safety hazards. The energy results of the study are encouraging for this team to pursue the opportunity further and address these remaining customer barriers with the Program teams moving forward.