Aeon’s activities to expand the installation of natural refrigerants

published Dec 09, 2014 - 12 pages

The AEON group, a member of The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), with 12 businesses in 13 countries and over 18,000 stores and offices, represents a leading supermarket (SM) and CVS chain. The company is introducing the natural refrigerant CO2 to its fleet of stores in Japan, mainly under its AEON, MaxValu and MiniStop brands.

At the beginning of her ATMOsphere Network presentation Haruko Kanamaru referred to AEON’s declaration on Natural Refrigerants: “We will

The AEON group, a member of The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), with 12 businesses in 13 countries and over 18,000 stores and offices, represents a leading supermarket (SM) and CVS chain. The company is introducing the natural refrigerant CO2 to its fleet of stores in Japan, mainly under its AEON, MaxValu and MiniStop brands.

At the beginning of her ATMOsphere Network presentation Haruko Kanamaru referred to AEON’s declaration on Natural Refrigerants: “We will introduce facilities with natural refrigerants (CO2) at all our new stores while converting to natural refrigerants at about 3,500 existing stores overtime.”

Kanamaru went on to talk about some of the results of AEON’s first CO2 installations. In case of the first three CO2 stores installed in 2009-2011, the confirmed energy savings was 10%, sufficient for AEON to further invest in CO2, as the technology was seen as a viable. The next CO2 supermarket had even better energy savings of about 20%, while the MiniStop CO2 CVS saves up to 30%. According to Kanamaru: “Safety, stability, energy savings (=reduction of operating cost) and a CO2 reduction were all confirmed.”

In December 2013 AEON opened its largest format (GMS) flagship store, the AEON Mall Makuhari New City. This GMS store covers an area of 128,000m2 and 20 CO2 systems provide cooling to 144 CO2 showcases. Performance data accumulated from February to October indicate 23% energy savings in comparison with an R404A system.

Kanamaru also pointed out regulatory and cost barriers to larger scale introduction of CO2 for Japanese supermarkets. The out-dated classification of CO2 as an “active gas” under the High Pressure Gas Safety Act limits the availability of large capacity systems and increases the cost of the solutions for supermarkets. According to Kanamaru, collaboration between all relevant stakeholders is necessary to change this, by for example working with manufacturers to trimm the weight of high intensity steel pipes. In her conclusion, Kanamaru demanded that the Japanese government address two points:

Develop policy that encourages natural refrigerant technological innovation
Ease regulations and provide preferential treatment to encourage technological development


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