Freeflex™ is the latest addition to the Alleima product portfolio for compressor valve applications. It withstands tougher operating conditions to deliver higher energy efficiency and presents an opportunity to significantly reduce the world’s CO2 emissions from air conditioners.
Cooling is on the rise. Growing populations, increased urbanization and higher living standards, not to mention the impact of climate change on the world, account for the change. There are already some 350 million air conditioners in use in the US every year and in China, that number is 500 million (Source: Our world in data). By 2050, global energy demand from air conditioners is expected to triple. The International Energy Agency stresses the urgent need for action to improve cooling efficiency. It is here that Alleima Freeflex™ compressor valve steel can make a difference by improving the energy efficiency of air conditioning systems.
Compressor valves are small, but vital components that regulate the flow of liquid – in this case, the refrigerant in a cooling system. One of the key challenges for compressor manufacturers is to find compressor valve steel that is able to withstand higher dynamic loads. This requires valve material that can deliver enhanced fatigue properties. Freeflex™ offers this along with high strength, excellent wear resistance and surface finish, among other characteristics.
“Higher fatigue strength gives manufacturers greater creative freedom in the design process, allowing them to develop more energy-efficient compressors while meeting all the necessary lifetime and reliability requirements,” says Remco Jongen, product manager at Alleima. “With energy efficiency higher on the agenda than ever before, we decided to develop a new alloy with the ability to withstand tougher operating conditions and higher dynamic loads than any of its predecessors.”
Higher fatigue strength gives manufacturers greater creative freedom in the design process, allowing them to develop more energy-efficient compressors while meeting all the necessary lifetime and reliability requirements.
Freeflex™ is the latest addition to the Alleima portfolio of compressor valve applications. Alleima optimized the mechanical properties, microstructure, surface execution, and processing of the material to deliver the new strip steel material that would set a new standard for fatigue strength in a compressor environment.
“In the development of Freeflex™, we sought to optimize all the material properties we know to be crucial to the performance of compressor valves and, therefore, support the development of more efficient cooling systems,” Jongen says.
Freeflex™ could have a massive impact on the energy efficiency of cooling systems around the globe. In the period 2012-2022, the energy efficiency of the world has improved by approximately 18% with the help of new valve materials with improved design, durability and mechanical properties. 18% energy-efficiency improvements over 10 years correspond to the power of five modern nuclear power plants (about 50 TWh). This corresponds to carbon savings of 21,250,000 tons.