Small Brazilian retailer paves the way for CO2 adoption in South America

By Simon Burkel, Jun 17, 2013, 16:28 3 minute reading

Small end-users have a significant role to play in instigating the transition to natural refrigerants, as evidenced by the Brazilian food retailer Verdemar, the first to adopt CO2 refrigeration in South America. Blazing the CO2 trail, Verdemar’s investment started a growing trend in CO2 refrigeration in the region, presented at UNIDO ATMOsphere Technology Summit, in Vienna, Austria on 3 June 2013. + VIDEO

Carlos Arruda, Consultant and Foreign Representative at Verdemar Supermarket, Brazil, shared the retailer’s journey in adopting new technology with natural refrigerants.
Sustainability, a part of Verdemar’s philosophy, leads to CO2 being adopted as standard…
With sustainable practices a company philosophy, in 2010 the retailer opened a “green” store, employing, among other “green” features, a CO2 cascade refrigeration system. This was the first such installation in South America. 
A collaborative effort between Bitzer Brazil, Arneg, Danfoss and Plotter & Racks, Verdemar’s first installed system features: 
  • CO2 cascade subcritical central system - R134a + CO2
  • R134a primary circuit works in secure rack industrially mounted
  • CO2 secondary circuit in DX in low temperature applications
  • Propylene Glycol secondary circuit in medium temperature showcases 
  • Small IQ motors and larger Arneg evaporators - no defrosting
  • Frequency controlled compressors fine tuned by Bitzer
  • Dual speed ECM motors for chambers and preparation rooms
  • Variable speed EC motors at the condensation
  • Patented humid adiabatic condensation grids
  • Fine-tuned components provided by Danfoss
  • Electronic expansion valves for a precise control of CO2 fluid
After the first installation, the CO2/R134a design was adopted as a standard in Verdemar’s network, and two more stores have since been built with CO2 technology. An additional two CO2 stores are due to open in 2013-2014.
…  does away with fears of being the first-mover in the region
Perhaps most importantly, Verdemar’s adoption of CO2 technology spurred the uptake of natural refrigerants by other retailers in the region, as well as the integration of CO2 technologies in the portfolios of an additional 2-3 contractors in the region. 
Mr Arruda told
We are very glad to hear that our pioneer move to CO2 has inspired other companies. As we are a small company the difference inside [our company] is small. But as we see that we have inspired a lot of people, the result of this first move is larger than ourselves and this is very good news to hear.”

Indeed, the Montreal Protocol’s Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) estimates 31 CO2 cascade system installations in Brazil alone, as of November 2012.
Today the number of CO2 cascade installations amount to 40 in Brazil, 2 in Venezuela and 1 in Colombia, according to a presentation by Nina Masson, Head of Market Research, shecco. 
“As things go smoother and easier in Brazil, there is a natural step for the companies working in Brazil to enlarge their activities in other South American countries, like Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay”, adds Mr Arruda.
Additional system costs recovered in less than 24 months thanks to energy savings
Compared to a conventional HCFC22 system, the new CO2 cascade systems installed by Verdemar cost 20% to 30% more. This is partly due to the high level of imported components (more than 80%).
Even without having received any official support, the additional investment cost of the system has been recovered in less than 2 years, while the system continues to save energy.
The “natural” step forward: natural-only systems in South America
According to Michael Englebright, Carel, out of the total 40 CO2 cascade installations in Brazil, Bitzer Brazil has been involved with 21 of these, as well as having installed the region’s first CO2 transcritical system. 
Carlos Arruda believes that moving to systems that use natural refrigerants only will be the natural next step for retailer Verdemar in the medium term, and the retailer is already studying this.


By Simon Burkel

Jun 17, 2013, 16:28

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