March 4, 2013 BY Singh360

Hybrid Refrigeration Condensers Enable 25% Energy Efficiency Improvement for Grocery Stores

Singh360 Announces Deal to Sell Baltimore Air Coil Trillium Series of Hybrid Condensers to Midwestern Grocery Store Chain

Supermarket operators can achieve 25% gains in energy efficiency by using hybrid condensers for their in-store refrigeration systems. The relatively new hybrid systems present a cost-effective alternative to older air-cooled or water-cooled technologies, according to Abtar Singh, Chief Executive Officer of Singh360, a firm that provides energy-related consulting services to grocery supermarkets.

Singh announced that his company has agreed to represent the TrilliumSeriesTM hybrid technology ( from Baltimore Air Coil (or BAC). Singh360 will provide related consulting services to supermarkets in the Midwestern states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

Hybrid Condensers Use Less Water and Energy

The hybrid condensers alternate between using air and water to cool condenser coils, Singh said. “They use water only when it makes sense to do so. They conserve water and use it in a way that prolongs the life of coils.”

Fast Payback

The improved energy efficiency and reduced water use of hybrid condensers makes it possible to achieve payback in less than two years, Singh said. Utility rebates enable even faster payback and higher return on investment. Singh said his company can help firms apply for the rebates.

Limitations of Conventional Condensers

Conventional condensers are either evaporative or air cooled. The two technologies operate most efficiently at different temperature ranges. Evaporative condensers work best at temperatures higher than 70 degrees F. They spray water on condenser coils to chill the refrigerants inside.

Their constant use of new water incurs both a recurring expense and an environmental cost. The water has to be pretreated to reduce corrosion. Even treated water may corrode condenser coils over time, causing them to fail, Singh said. In contrast, air-cooled condensers use air flow rather than water to cool the refrigerant.

How Hybrids Work

Hybrid condensers maintain higher efficiency, in part, by switching back and forth from air to water, depending on air temperature.

When the hybrid condensers operate in water-cooled mode, fans push air through sponge-like membranes that cool the air by raising its humidity. The humid air cools the condenser coils, which contain aluminum and stainless steel parts to reduce corrosion. The units recycle water to reduce consumption, and recycling eliminates the need for expensive water-treatment systems.

The hybrids also save energy through their use two more highly efficient technologies:

  • electronically commutated (or EC) fan motors with variable-speed controls
  • microchannel heat exchangers

Compact Size, Quiet Operation

Use of microchannel heat exchangers enables two additional benefits:

  • Hybrid condensers are compact. Their physical footprint is about 10-25% smaller than that of conventional condensers of similar capacity.
  • They use less refrigerant. For their winter charge, hybrid condensers use only about half as much refrigerant as their air-cooled counterparts.

Hybrid condensers are also quiet, Singh said. Their quiet operation and compactness make hybrids ideal for locations where space is limited and noise is an issue, Singh said.

“If you’re planning to replace an old condenser, they’re definitely worth considering,” Singh said. “We can provide turnkey solutions for both new and retrofit installations.”

For a video of recent retrofit at a supermarket chain, please go to Youtube Link.

About Singh360 Inc.

Singh360 ( is a full-service consulting firm that specializes in facility management. The company has worked with the supermarket industry for 20 years, providing objective counsel that helps operators find and implement the best solutions to energy and maintenance challenges. Singh’s solutions often incorporate the latest technologies.

Services range from building-envelope assessments to complete design of mechanical and electrical systems (including HVAC, lighting and refrigeration systems) for new and existing buildings. The company also provides renewable-energy assessments. Singh360 helps organizations set priorities for efficiency projects based on sustainability goals, speed of payback and the size of return on investment.

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