Rack-type CO2 transcritical booster system debuts in Japanese supermarket
On display at the Fukushima booth, one of the leading Japanese showcase manufacturers was a second generation CO2 transcritical booster system developed by Japanese manufacturer Nihon Netsugen System (NNS). NNS exhibited their first generation CO2 booster system at last year’s SMTS continuing the development, improvement and testing of the system throughout 2014. The first installation of the system in Japan in the newly opened Acore supermarket, part of the AEON group, began operation on 20 February 2015, and is an identical system to the exhibited ‘blue earth’ type S-2 rack system.
Until now both Japanese supermarket and convenience store brands have equipped over 750 stores with package-type 2 – 20HP CO2 systems by Panasonic and Sanden. With the introduction of the very first rack-type CO2 booster system, more common in the European and Canadian markets, the market is showing signs of opening up towards other technology solutions.
System specifications and blue earth CO2 booster line up for Japanese market
The air cooled type S-2 systems exhibited at SMTS and installed in the Acore supermarket in Saitama prefecture has the following specifications:
- Refrigeration cooling capacity 33kW (MT 2 x 20HP GEA Bock compressors)
- Freezer side cooling capacity 7.5kW (LT 2 x 2HP GEA Bock compressors)
- Evaporation temperatures (ET) -10°C and -40°C
- Weight 1,500kg
The NNS line up of blue earth CO2 booster systems for supermarkets includes the type S-1 (MT 16kW, LT 3.8kW), currently under development, and type the S-3 (MT 47kW, LT 21kW). A model developed especially for the growing demand fro CO2 from Japanese convenience stores, with cooling capacities 18kW (MT) and 2.3kW (LT), is also currently under development, with plans to make is commercially available in the fall of 2015. In 2015, NNS intends to supply blue earth CO2 booster systems for F-type (ET -33°C) and C-type (ET -10°C) cold store facilities. The model currently available for this is the F-1, with cooling capacity 60kW. The F-2 78kW, C-1 and C-2 models are currently under development.
Showcase manufactures and bottle coolers warming up for the year of CO2?
NNS exhibited its CO2 booster system at the booth of Fukushima Industries who is supplying CO2 showcases for supermarkets. Unfortunately, this year at SMTS none of their CO2 showcases were on display. Okamura, one of Fukushima’s main competitors exhibited its Fontana Deux Z CO2 showcase but CO2 has not been a center of its marketing activities, unlike market leader Panasonic. Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba exhibited the same CO2 bottler cooler as at the previous SMTS show, failing to meet the expectations of those who thought that Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba would quickly join the CO2 race, as predicted last year.
Package vs Rack CO2 systems, the battle has begun
The trend towards package CO2 cooling systems lead by Panasonic and Sanden continues to represent 99% of the market. However with Shibata Welding Construction working closely with Bitzer and Carel as suppliers as well as Nihon Netsugen Systems working with GEA, we now have confirmation that rack-type CO2 transcritical booster systems are being introduced to the Japanese market. After market growth of 400% in FY2014, an even more accelerated uptake of natural refrigerant technologies by Japanese retailers is anticipated for 2015.