What is R290? Choosing a Blast Chiller for the Future.

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Choosing a blast chiller for your commercial kitchen operation can be a challenge. Different brands, sizes, and each offers a unique functionality. But now there is another factor to consider – what type of refrigerant is being used?

Most blast chillers on the market use R404, a refrigerant with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 4,200. Used across the world in the past few decades, R290, a highly efficient form of propane, is now available in a blast chiller, exclusively through PrepRite by Everidge. But what really is the difference between R290 and other refrigerants, and what is the best choice for your business?

What is R290?

R290 is a propane refrigerant used in a wide variety of commercial refrigeration and air conditioning units. This non-toxic propane has a low GWP rating of 3 and no Ozone Depleting Properties (ODP). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has named R290 as its preferred hydrocarbon alternative.

In addition to its low GWP and ODP, R290 is also highly efficient, which can lead to additional savings in energy costs.
What about Safety – Isn’t It Flammable?

Yes – R290 is highly flammable. However, when maintained and serviced properly, there is very little risk to safety. Within the blast chiller, the R290 is fully sealed and self-contained, so there is virtually no risk of leaks. The self-contained nature also means that it does not come into direct contact with any ignition source. In fact, this study on the fire risk of R290 in ice cream freezer found that R290 only added an additional 0.001% fire risk over a similar appliance using a different refrigerant.

Additionally, the Everidge PBF 4.0 blast chiller, the first undercounter blast chiller in the U.S. to utilize R290 refrigerant, has been designed with safe and efficiently serviceability in mind. The cartridge-style design of the PBF4.0 means that the module containing the R290 and other parts can be easily removed as a unit for offsite repairs and swapped out with a new module within an hour. This ensures the safety of your employees and technicians, as well as minimizing the downtime of your blast chiller in the unlikely event a repair is needed.

While companies in the United States are at the beginning of the switch to R290 refrigeration, European countries have been using it for over two decades, and it is estimated that there are 2.5 million commercial units and 2 billion household refrigerators and freezers using R290 worldwide. Due to its widespread applications and significant environmental benefits, R290 seems to be the refrigerant of the future.
To learn more about R290 or about the PBF 4.0 blast chiller and freezer with R290, please contact Michael Kelly at Michael.kelly@thermalrite.com.