Ice machines that use carbon dioxide (CO2) as a refrigerant are part of a trend in the use of natural and environmentally sustainable refrigerants in refrigeration equipment. The use of CO2 (R-744) as a refrigerant is becoming popular due to its low impact on climate change and low ozone depletion potential.
Features of the CO2 ice maker
- CO2 is a natural gas that does not deplete the ozone layer, and its global warming potential is much lower than some traditional refrigerants.
- CO2-based ice machines can provide high efficiency, which means more efficient use of energy for ice production.
- CO2 has excellent thermal characteristics, making it effective for cooling in the ice production process.
- Low dependence on ambient temperature, as unlike some other refrigerants, CO2 can operate efficiently at different ambient temperatures.
- The use of natural refrigerants such as CO2 helps reduce the impact of equipment on indoor climate change and ensures more sustainable operation.
- It is important to note that the use of CO2 in refrigeration may require some technical adjustments and adaptations, as CO2 operates at higher pressures than some traditional refrigerants.
Types of CO2 ice machines
Carbon dioxide (CO2)-based ice machines come in a variety of designs and specifications. They are typically used in the production of ice for cooling beverages and other products. Here are some types of ice machines that can use CO2:
These ice machines directly use carbon dioxide to cool water or other coolant during the ice making process. Direct contact with CO2 allows for efficient water cooling and ice formation.
Indirect Refrigeration system (Indirect Refrigeration):
In such systems, CO2 can be used to cool the coolant, which then transfers heat to the water to freeze. This can provide greater flexibility and efficiency in temperature control.
Sublimation Ice Generators:
Sublimation ice machines use a sublimation process in which carbon dioxide directly changes from a solid to a gaseous state, cooling water and creating ice. This can be used to produce granular ice.
Ice machines using high-pressure carbon dioxide can be designed to provide efficient heat transfer during the cooling process.
Integrated systems using heat:
Some CO2-powered ice machines may include integrated heat recovery systems, where the heat generated by the ice-making process is used in other parts of the system or for other purposes. Exact designs may vary depending on the manufacturer and equipment specifications.
The main components of a CO2 ice machine
- Expansion valve (expander)
- Ice forming unit
- Controller and sensors
- Ice storage bin
Each of these components performs a specific function in the ice formation process and ensures the efficient operation of the CO2 ice machine. Given the environmental sustainability of CO2, such ice machines are becoming attractive in various industries where efficiency and safety are important.
How does the process work?
The principle of operation is based on a refrigeration cycle where carbon dioxide acts as a refrigerant. This process provides efficient water cooling and ice formation using CO2, which can provide higher efficiency and environmental sustainability compared to traditional refrigerants. First, carbon dioxide (CO2) is compressed to a high pressure, usually using a compressor. The compressed CO2 is then cooled, causing it to condense and turn into a liquid phase. This liquid CO2 serves as the refrigerant in the system. The liquid CO2 is fed to an evaporator where heat is removed from the water that will freeze to form ice. The CO2 vaporization process cools the water.
The cooled water is then fed into the ice machine, where ice formation takes place. Typically, a metal surface is used to freeze the water. Once ice is formed, it is separated from the surface where it was frozen and fed into storage or used within the system, depending on the specific design of the ice machine. The residual liquid CO2 from the water cooling process can be expanded in an expansion device, which causes the pressure to drop and the CO2 to become gaseous. The gaseous CO2 is then returned to the compressor for a second cycle. Applications of CO2 ice machines.
Areas of application
- For ice production in restaurants, cafes and other catering establishments for cooling drinks.
- For cooling production processes or storing products in various industries (fish farming, meat, fruit and vegetable processing, etc.).
- They can be used to cool medical equipment or in the production of ice packs for medical purposes.
- In shops, supermarkets and other retail outlets for cooling drinks and food, displaying goods, etc.
- CO2-based ice machines can be used to create granular ice, which is widely used in various industries, including restaurants and healthcare.
The use of CO2-based ice machines continues to expand in various fields due to their high efficiency, environmental sustainability and versatility.
Advantages of CO2 ice machines
- Systems that use CO2 as a refrigerant can have a high capacity factor. This means that these ice machines can produce more ice with the same energy or use less energy to create the same volume of ice.
- Carbon dioxide has excellent thermophysical characteristics, making it effective for heat transfer and rapid cooling during ice formation. This improves the heat transfer process and reduces energy consumption.
- The use of CO2 as a refrigerant is associated with a low environmental impact, and its use meets modern environmental requirements.
- CO2 can effectively transfer heat at low temperatures, which has a positive effect on the efficiency of the cooling process in ice machines.
- CO2 easily operates at high ambient temperatures (+30°C), which is important for the efficient operation of ice machines in various climatic conditions.
- In some configurations, CO2 is used in secondary cooling systems, which allows for more efficient temperature control and reduced energy consumption.
The realization of these benefits depends on the specific configuration and technology of the ice machine, as well as the correct integration and configuration of the carbon dioxide cooling system.
CO2 cooling type of the ice machine
Different types of cooling can be used in carbon dioxide (CO2) ice machines. The two main types of cooling that are often used in such ice machines are air cooling and water cooling. Which type of cooling is used depends on the specific design and model of the ice machine. With air cooling, air is used to remove heat from the compressor and other heat-generating elements. Typically, air coolers are located near the compressor and circulate air for cooling. In the case of water cooling, heat is removed using water. The coolers are connected to a sewer system, circulating water and removing heat from the compressor and other components. This type of cooling can be more efficient than air cooling, especially in conditions of elevated ambient temperatures. Each of these types of cooling has its advantages and disadvantages. The choice between air and water cooling depends on the specific operating conditions, performance requirements, and characteristics of the equipment.
Features of CO2 use
To work safely with carbon dioxide (CO2), certain standards must be met. Working with CO2 can be a health and safety hazard, so it is important to follow the relevant guidelines and regulations. All of our engineers at BMSERVICE have been specially trained and certified to work safely with carbon dioxide. The following conditions must be met for enterprises that use carbon dioxide:
- Employers and businesses must comply with the relevant standards and regulations governing carbon dioxide handling.
- Working with carbon dioxide requires a good ventilation and exhaust system to prevent the accumulation of CO2 in enclosed spaces.
- Employees must use safe equipment to handle CO2, including special protective equipment if necessary.
- Regular inspection and maintenance of CO2 handling equipment are important safety measures.
- Employees should be trained to provide first aid in case of accidents involving carbon dioxide.
- Businesses should develop an evacuation plan and safety measures related to possible emergencies such as CO2 leaks.
Handling carbon dioxide requires a serious and responsible approach, and safety must be a priority when handling CO2. The guidelines and regulations set by the relevant authorities and regulatory organizations should always be followed. Add freshness and environmental friendliness to your business with a CO2 ice maker from BMSERVICE. Order the most efficient ice production equipment and entrust its maintenance to our professional team. Combine the power of innovation and responsible business – order an ice maker today for the freshness of tomorrow with BMSERVICE.