OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will conduct a series of field tests to help industry quantify savings obtained by using new, advanced supermarket refrigeration and climate control systems.

These tests will help stores use the technology to cut overhead and hopefully result in lower prices for consumers.

The test refrigeration system employs new “distributed” refrigeration technology for reducing energy consumption by 10% to 16% while significantly lowering the amount of refrigerant needed to operate a supermarket’s refrigeration system.

The system uses high-efficiency scroll compressors that can operate at lower condensing temperatures than conventional reciprocating compressors. These compressors, which are located in soundproofed cabinets next to the refrigerated display cases, reduce the amount of refrigerant needed for a supermarket system’s operation from about 3,000 lb to less than 1,000 lb.

“This advanced technology will cut energy costs for stores while also lowering energy consumption and reducing the use of environmentally harmful refrigerants,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson. “We’re pleased to work in partnership with one of the nation’s largest industries to incorporate these technologies and adopt energy smart practices.”

Integrating the refrigeration with a grocery store’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system also promises additional operating savings. The system employs circulating fluid loops to remove heat from condensers and rejects it to a fluid cooler located outside the store.

These fluid loops are integrated into water-source heat pumps, which are used for heating and cooling purposes. The heat pumps are able to recover nearly all of the rejected heat from the loops and use it to space heat the store.

In addition to temperature control, the water-source heat pumps also dehumidify the store and control ventilation to ensure acceptable IAQ. The heat pumps are equipped with a “dual path” coil that cools store and ventilation air separately, allowing the sensible and latent cooling loads of the store to be handled more effectively.

Along with DOE, support for the field testing will be provided by Price Chopper Supermarkets (Golub Corp.), Massachusetts Electric, and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Price Chopper will be installing the advanced refrigeration and hvac systems in their Webster, Mass., supermarket as part of a major remodeling effort. Massachusetts Electric, which helped bring the team together for this field test project, is encouraging its customers to adopt new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly technologies through their Energy Incentive and Design 2000 programs.

EPRI has led previous refrigeration hvac system integration demonstrations and is providing technical support to the project.

Field testing will consist of instrumentation and monitoring the operation of the advanced refrigeration and hvac systems.

A second Price Chopper store equipped with conventional, state-of-the-art multiplex refrigeration and rooftop hvac systems will also be instrumented and monitored for the purpose of comparison. Instrumentation, monitoring, and data analysis will be performed by Foster-Miller, Inc. of Waltham, Mass. The test store opened in May and data collection began in June.

ORNL is a DOE multiprogram research facility managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.