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Development of an expansion valve to reduce energy consumption of cold vending machines and small commercial refrigeration systems (Expand)
Start date: Nov 1, 2013, End date: Oct 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The European Vending Association (EVA) is composed of 20 national associations, who represent Europe's SME industry of machine and component manufacturers, suppliers of commodities (ingredients, confectionery, soft drinks) and operators. Our chilled vending sector is heavily based on older HFC refrigerant technology. In contrast Japan has embraced natural refrigerants and is the leading manufacturer of CO2 and HC vending machines. As a result, our industry needs to innovate and develop advanced components and systems, to remain competitive and provide cost effective, energy efficient products. Small refrigeration systems as used in vending machines use capillaries as the expansion device, however they do not enable optimal operation over the range of refrigeration loads. Away from design point load, coefficient of performance drops due to sub-optimal filling of the evaporator. More advanced control systems may be introduced by replacing the capiliary with an expansion valve, however for refrigeration systems in the 50-250W capacity they are challenging to manufacture cost effectively, due to small orifice sizes. As a result the Expand project will develop a low cost expansion device for HC and CO2 refrigerants together with a control system that will enable efficient modulation of refrigeration system capacity in relation to load. This will enable cumulative energy consumption savings of 25% for the cooler in relation to present HFC systems, thus regaining a technological lead for the European vending industry. In order to mitigate the need for small orifices we will use fluid flow control concepts that have been developed for fuel injection systems for aerospace and automotive application.

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