Shellfish company picks CO2 solution


01 October 2020
CUBO2 Smart LT units at John Lake Shellfish CUBO2 Smart LT units at John Lake Shellfish

John Lake Shellfish, a family-owned business based in Norfolk, has been providing high quality shellfish for over 30 years and is always keen to adopt the best technology available for delivering its product to market profitably, while maintaining a reputation for high quality.

The company has opted to use CO₂ as the refrigerant in a new cockle and whelk freezer room to avoid the potential pitfalls of using traditional HFC refrigerants. Environmental issues a given, it recently experienced first-hand one of the penalties in using a refrigerant where the price under quota became unviable. It wanted a solution that provided a stable cost platform, whilst offering an environment benefit, to protect against potential high service costs in the future.

John Lake turned to its refrigeration contractor, Fourstar Refrigeration. Owners Steve and David Forster always aim to look ahead and work towards a greener future. Steve said: “Global Warming Potential and ozone depletion factors need to become obsolete terms. We can sleep soundly knowing that, on our watch at least, we’ve made a conscious effort to leave a better planet behind for our children and future generations.”

They realised their ambition could become a reality after attending the CUBO2 Smart training course at Cool Concerns in Tewkesbury. Steve Benton at Cool Concerns quickly answered their concerns regarding the suitability of CO₂ for commercial systems. Like many engineers, the thought of dealing with a ‘high pressure’ refrigerant had been a concern, but this was put into perspective. They left Cool Concerns with a detailed understanding of the transcritical booster cycle, a feeling of confidence about the future of CO₂ in the commercial sector and a fuelled desire to be pioneers of the technology. So, CO₂ was chosen for John Lake’s freezer room project using three CUBO2 Smart LT units linked to LU-VE’s F35 evaporators.

The system uses LU-VE F35 evaporators

Steve explains: “The installation itself was incredibly straightforward. The K65 pipe work manipulates easily and smaller sizes are required than those needed for a traditional HFC system of similar duty. There’s no solenoid required, as the electronic expansion valve does all the work. And the CUBO2 units arrive just like any other packaged unit, with filter driers and service valves already fitted and ready for connection.

“A higher pressure regulator for the nitrogen cylinder was required, to ensure a correct pressure and strength test, but other than this and a designated CO₂ charging hose, all our regular installation tools and equipment was utilised as normal. The only challenge over installation of a traditional system is the extra communication wiring required.

“The MX Pro control panels utilise 4 probes per system, the coils for the valve also require a 4 wire connection and then there’s the communication between the Mx pro and the CUBO2. However it’s all labelled explicitly, so with a spool of some good quality FTP selected, we soon had everything connected up and ready to go.

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“Commissioning did present some additional challenges; it was a steep learning curve understanding the pros and cons of ‘floating suction’ and ‘smooth lines functions’. But thankfully, the highly detailed Cool Concerns ‘bible’ supplied with the CUBO2 Smart units provided a step by step guide though each stage of the commissioning process, and we soon had all three systems humming away quietly and smoothly. Within a couple of days, we’d gently stepped the store down to -22°C and it held. I’m pleased to say it’s all been working flawlessly for over a year, with incredible efficiency and performance”
Steve and David were so impressed with the system they recently took delivery of another two CUBO2 units for a customer in Essex.

Steve was even more impressed when he popped the cover off the first unit to find some suggested changes had been adopted. He says: “I was pleased to see an ‘additional oil already charged’ sticker and obvious signs that my concerns have now been addressed, in what is obviously a constant effort to keep improving an already reliable and practical product.

“As such, I have no qualms in recommending a CUBO2 Smart to every one of my customers who is looking for new equipment. And I’m quick to underline that although the costs may be off-putting today, when you consider the technology within and the benefits tomorrow, it’s without doubt the lucrative choice.”