CO2 is reaching a whole new segment: small-format stores

By Simon Burkel, Oct 23, 2013, 15:50 3 minute reading

A dedicated Commercial Refrigeration Panel session during ATMOsphere Europe 2013 conference revealed strong commitment to using natural refrigerants, and discussed the advantages of CO2 systems, like increased energy efficiency and reduced operating costs. The use of natural refrigeration systems for smaller stores was presented as the latest challenge, yet one with a growing number of emerging solutions.

Held on 15-16 October 2013 in Brussels, Belgium, the two-day ATMOsphere Europe 2013 conference brought together more than 200 retailers using, and suppliers of, natural refrigeration solutions to explore the business case for natural refrigerants in Europe. 

Retailers ask for natural solutions in low capacity ranges 
 
With CO2 increasingly becoming an established solution for larger stores, discussion focused on smaller format stores, where due to limited space and higher costs resulting from the slower pay off from energy savings, retailers are calling on cost efficient CO2 solutions for small stores. 
 
John Skelton from Sainsbury’s was one of the most vocal retailers on the need for smaller capacity solutions: “Probably the reason we only have the one convenience store using CO2 is because at the moment we are finding it easier to get to the right cost point with supermarkets and more difficult in convenience store applications. That is something that we need to change, and something that we need to change pretty quickly. Whether it is CO2 or another natural, we made a commitment back in November 2009 that all of refrigeration systems would be natural by 2030, and the piece that is holding me up delivering that, at the moment, is our convenience estate.” 
 
Michel de Rooij, from Ahold also stressed the importance of finding cost effective natural solutions for their high number of small stores in operation, needed in order for the retailer to achieve its environmental targets.  “For the smaller stores it is really too expensive. It’s a really annoying problem that we can’t solve the problem of the small stores, and we have a lot in Holland.” 
 
Suppliers are aware of the retailers need for natural solutions in convenience stores
 
Panel discussions between retailers and suppliers did however reveal that suppliers are aware of the need to offer solutions meeting the demand for environmentally friendly, efficient and cost effective natural refrigeration systems for lower capacity ranges.
 
Torben M. Hansen from Advansor and Stig-Göran Lind from Green & Cool, two leading Scandinavian refrigeration system suppliers, confirmed that solutions for smaller capacities have already been developed and are available on the market. Green & Cool has designed a small CO2 pack to meet the requirements of convenience stores, whilst Advansor offers condensing units with CO2 as the only refrigerant for medium and low temperature, in one system. Advansor’s offered refrigeration capacity ranges from 3 – 10 kW and the systems are available for indoor and outdoor installation.
 
CO2 refrigeration technology for small stores is readily available
 
Sylvain Lamy, Marketing Manager, Refrigeration Compressors presented Emerson Climate Technologies latest innovations to help retailers to adopt CO2 refrigeration systems in their convenience stores. Lamy noted that system compactness has already been reduced and that energy efficiency is 3-6% higher than for standard HFC systems. New CO2 scroll and digital scroll technologies will also help to make systems more cost competitive in the near future. His conclusion: CO2 refrigeration technology for small stores is readily available and convenience store operators can afford to make the transition to CO2 now.
 
Reduced energy consumption will make systems more cost competitive
 
Christian Heerup, Senior Consultant at the Danish Technology Institute (DTI) talked in his presentation about measures to improve the efficiency of small transcritical CO2 supermarkets. He referred to Danish retailer Fakta, which already has around 150 CO2 transcritical stores in operation today, amongst which is a small discount store. A comparison by Heerup of the average energy consumption of conventional HFC refrigeration systems and second generation CO2 transcritical systems in different supermarkets of the Fakta chain showed that huge improvements in energy consumption have already been achieved. The second generation of environmentally friendly CO2 transcritical systems has lower energy consumption in winter and equivalent energy consumption in summer, like conventional HFC systems. What is more, further improvements in energy consumption can be achieved by systems with heat recovery.
 

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By Simon Burkel

Oct 23, 2013, 15:50




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