Danfoss bi-flow GBC ball valves: exclusive interview with Hans Ole Matthiesen

By Silvia Scaldaferri, Sep 03, 2014, 12:38 5 minute reading

Earlier this year, Danfoss Automatic Controls extended its portfolio of high-pressure components adding the bi-flow GBC ball valves, with and without access port, as well as large sizes 28-42s. In an exclusive interview with Danfoss’ Hans Ole Matthiesen- Global Segment Director, Food Retail- R744.com learns about Danfoss’ CO2 refrigeration journey and what the new GBC brings to the company’s CO2 product portfolio. +VID

Danfoss’ range of high-pressure ball valves and check valves improves the sturdiness of refrigeration systems using high pressure CO2 and makes servicing easier.

R744.com: What features of the GBC ball valve make it specifically suitable for high-pressure CO2?

Hans Ole Matthiesen: The new high pressure CO2 version of the GBC has a body and connectors designed to tolerate high internal pressures. The valves are type tested to the EN12284, PED harmonised standard for valves, meaning that no corners have been cut when it comes to safety.

The polymer materials used in the valve have been specifically selected and tested for compatibility with CO2 in all applications the valve is expected to see in the Food Retail setting. This means that the valve is internally and externally tight, not only when new, but also after being subjected to normal service manoeuvers.

The valve has also been tested for abnormally high differential pressures of up to 90 Bar (1300 psi) that could occur when the valve is closed in a service situation. The valve also features an internally equalised ball, preventing damage from trapped liquid.

R744.com: Does the GBC valve replace a previous generation of valves for CO2?

HOM: We currently offer both a 90 bar and a 45 bar series for CO2 in order to address different customer needs. Danfoss is considering an optimization of the portfolio but this will depend on the market demand especially for the new and fast growing CO2 market.

R744.com: How does this product help end users save energy/money?

HOM: There are many ways that this product helps to save energy and money. I will mention just a few. First, the intrinsic standstill capability of the high pressure GBC valves avoids costly downtime of a system due to loss of excessive refrigerant. At a temperature of 25°C, a non-operational system with CO2 will reach a pressure of 63 Bar. In most systems, pressure relief valves will start to vent at a much lower pressure. Over time the amount of refrigerant vented will make it impossible to run the system. Power failures may not occur often, but it only has to happen once for these valves to provide their value many times over in lost food.

Second, when comparing prices to alternatives available in the market at the 120 bar MWP level, these valves are a bargain. 120 bar is only needed to isolate the gas cooler between the discharge of the compressor and the transcritical regulating valve. For the vast majority of the system, including all of the distributed system, 90 Bar is more than sufficient.

Third, the GBC valves are all with a full port design, giving them a high Kv value, meaning that costly parasitic losses associated with pressure drop are avoided in the system.

R744.com: Where is the GBC available?

HOM: The GBC is available globally. For the North American market however, UL approval of the high pressure GBC for CO2 is still pending.

R744.com: How have you seen the market for CO2 develop over the last few last years, and where do you see the market for CO2 going in the near future?

HOM: When I started working with CO2 in 2007, the picture was very muddy. There were a few players in a variety of applications building prototype CO2 systems using components from the hydraulics industry or prototypes provided by Danfoss. It was very unclear whether or not CO2 could be efficient at a reasonable cost. Five years later, the question in the retail industry was not whether it was efficient, but how fast could the investment pay itself back. Today, the question is, “can you deliver?” Certainly, the main application today is food retail, and the greatest growth has been seen in Europe, North America, and Australia.

Going forward, I expect CO2 within food retail globally to become the refrigerant of choice. It will take time, as a significant amount of training will be required. Newly optimized components and system architectures enabling efficient operation also at elevated temperatures are helping to make these systems the most efficient on the market. Adding fuel to the fire, I expect that national and international regulations will make it difficult to find a better alternative, both from the economic and the environmental point of view.

R744.com: We have seen Danfoss focusing on expanding its product line for natural refrigerants, not only CO2, but also ammonia and hydrocarbons. What percentage of Danfoss' market share is attributed to products for use with natural refrigerants?

HOM: We know that a significant and growing share of Danfoss products are going to natural refrigerant applications. However, as Danfoss is reducing complexity in the portfolio, many standard products are being modified and qualified so they are also available for a broader range of refrigerants including hydrocarbons. Therefore, we cannot measure the success directly. When it comes to our dedicated components for CO2 we see growth in line with the market growth reported by R744.com.

R744.com: What other components for CO2 does Danfoss manufacture?

HOM: Danfoss offers a large and growing portfolio of products for CO2, ranging from electronic expansion valves, through dedicated electronic pack controllers to pressure transducers and gas detectors. Apart from components needed for commercial systems, Danfoss has also pioneered valves for industrial refrigeration applications offering a complete portfolio here as well. Some of the components can be seen right here on R744.com.

About Danfoss

Danfoss is a global leader in the research, development and production of high efficiency electronic and mechanical components and controls for refrigeration, air conditioning, heating and motion control systems. Based in Denmark, the company is dedicated to providing technologies and solutions that combine innovative engineering with energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.


By Silvia Scaldaferri

Sep 03, 2014, 12:38

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