Woolworths to use CO2 in new supermarkets

By R744.com team, Jan 21, 2008, 00:00 2 minute reading

Australia’s largest food retailer will install CO2 cascade systems in new stores after the success of its pioneer “green supermarket” in Sydney. The Natural Refrigerants Transition Board (NRTB) and other NGOs now urge the industry and policy makers to follow suit and promote sustainable refrigeration in Australia.

"It's a hugely serious problem, but it's just such an easy problem to solve," Brent Hoare, spokesman for the Natural Refrigerants Transition Board, welcomed the decision of Woolworths to use CO2 (R744) in its refrigeration systems. "By using carbon dioxide as a refrigerant you immediately eliminate a large chunk of your emissions," he went on, adding that all retailers should consider similar moves.

As reported by the Australian daily "The Age", Woolworths will replace some of the most harmful fluorinated gases by "the much safer carbon dioxide" in new supermarkets. This decision was made after Australia's largest supermarket chain had successfully tested the cascade system in its first "green supermarket" in Sydney's Rouse Hill. A wide-spread use of R744 refrigeration and other energy-saving measures will bring the retailer group closer towards its overall target to keep its carbon emissions at 2006 levels. Currently, cooling products accounts for 48% of Woolworth's total emissions.

--image1--NRTB & other NGOs call for refrigeration legislation

The Natural Refrigerants Transition Board (NRTB) welcomed Woolworth’s announcement, adding that upgrades to existing cooling systems would be an additional step in the right direction. So far, chronic leaking of potent greenhouse gases from Woolworth's supermarket fridges nationally would equal the annual emissions of 240,000 cars, the NRTB estimates. As other food retailers had similar leakage levels, a switch to safer gases would greatly reduce environmental burdens, the organization added.

In an NRTB seminar last November focusing exclusively on CO2 refrigeration, participants had discussed the efficiency of R744 in hot climates. To demonstrate the viability of CO2-only refrigeration systems, the NRTB now invites interested parties to a site visit to Angle Vale, the first-ever Southern Hemisphere application of a transcritical R744 system. Operating since early December 2007, the CO2 unit has been monitored by the NRTB to provide first performance data during the site visit on 20 February. R744.com will keep you updated on latest developments.

Like the NRTB, the environmental group Planet Ark has called on the federal government to legislate for energy saving and less polluting refrigeration in all food shops.


Woolworths Limited has more than 3000 stores and 180,000 employees across Australia and New Zealand, being the largest private sector employer in Australia.

The Natural Refrigerants Transition Board was established in 2003 to achieve a wider use of natural refrigerants by providing information and facilitating training on their best practice use. The NRTB has received federal funding to coordinate a national fluorocarbon refrigerants reduction programme. The Angle Vale project is the first of five supermarkets using cascade and CO2-only systems.


By R744.com team (@r744)

Jan 21, 2008, 00:00

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