Refrigerant gases play a vital role in cold storage and industrial refrigeration but if a leak occurs, the impact can be costly.
Shaun Evers, managing director of Stonegate Instruments, explains how sophisticated new gas detection technologies can cut down on gas leaks and save on the related costs.
Energy consumption in the refrigeration sector costs British industry approximately £300 million each year with the average annual site energy bill for a cold store totalling £0.5 million. Many refrigeration units currently in use are outdated, having been designed and built over 20 years ago, at a time when energy efficiency was not the issue it is today. As a result, they are not operating efficiently and are using huge amounts of unnecessary energy, as well as costing more than necessary to keep in operation.
Whilst gas leaks are similarly hazardous both to a company’s bottom line and to the environment, the solution is quite simple - gas detection systems are a vital piece of equipment that offer peace-of-mind to cold store owners and operators.
The use of a gas detection system can help ensure that leaks are identified and repaired, which is especially essential just before the refrigerant gas is topped up. This is not only to minimise environmental damage or the impact on the health and safety of the workforce but it is actually a legal requirement and is part of the EU F-Gas Regulations.
Stonegate’s gas detection system detects a wide variety of refrigerants and accommodates up to 24 remote refrigerant sensors. The sensors are arranged in three zones of eight channels with four relay outputs for signalling an alarm, one for each zone.
LED colours indicate the presence and status of each sensor and any sensed gas leak sends an audio and visual alarm to alert staff members immediately so that the problem can be quickly rectified.
Unnoticed Gas Leaks
EU F-Gas legislation states that cold stores with a charge of 3-30kg must be tested for gas leaks once a year, cold stores with a charge of 30kg or more must be tested twice a year, and all units with a charge of over 300kg must have a fixed gas detector installed. These gas detectors must have a sensitivity of 5g/year and should be checked after 25 hours of continuous use. They should also be calibrated with a 1,000ppm gas to air mix.
Stonegate’s DL1024 gas detector meets all these requirements. Stonegate’s gas detection system can be programmed to detect a wide range of both toxic and non-toxic gases, including CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs and CO2. The gas detector also has a battery back up so it will still work in a power cut, a time which could be more risky than normal for gas leaks.
With the installation of a Stonegate gas detection system a business can reduce energy costs, cut carbon emissions, and demonstrate corporate responsibility. With a payback period of less than two years, this technology offers a simple solution for businesses across all sectors.