Accelerate America magazine announced the winners of its second annual awards program, which recognizes excellence in advancing natural refrigerant adoption in North America, at a morning ceremony today at the ATMOsphere America conference, held this week at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, Calif.
The magazine and conference are both produced by shecco, a Brussels, Belgium-based market accelerator for natural refrigerant systems.
The winners in the best-in-sector awards are Whole Foods Market (food retail), United States Cold Storage (industrial) and Nestlé (foodservice). The winner of the Innovation of the Year award is Hillphoenix for its AdvansorFlex transcritical carbon dioxide (CO2) modular refrigeration system designed for small-format stores. And the winner of the Person of the Year award is Paul Anderson, senior director of engineering for Target.
Whole Foods Market has installed a myriad of natural refrigerant equipment throughout the U.S., including secondary, cascade and transcritical CO2 systems, and propane cases in more than 50 stores. Its cascade installations include an ammonia/CO2 system (one of four in U.S. supermarkets) and the first propane/CO2 system in the U.S.
United States Cold Storage pioneered the use of ammonia/CO2 cascade industrial systems and now has them in 13 of its 36 U.S. cold storage plants. The systems, which are 5.8% more efficient than traditional ammonia systems, improve the safety of plants while reducing the ammonia charge below the 10,000-lb. threshold triggering strict federal safety requirements.
Nestlé, the Swiss food & beverage manufacturer, has led the adoption of propane-based retail ice cream freezers, with all new chest, upright and island units globally using the natural refrigerant since 2016. By 2020, all new proprietary cold beverage dispensers made by Nestlé Professional will use hydrocarbons.
Hillphoenix’s AdvansorFlex transcritical CO2 unit, a smaller, less costly version of its standard Advansor system, was installed in 30-40 small-format stores just six months after its release in December 2015, and has continued to advance the market for commercial CO2 refrigeration since then. By the end of 2016, Hillphoenix was on course to have produced close to 250 transcritical units (Advansor and AdvansorFlex) since 2013: the most of any North American OEM. The systems are 5%-18% more efficient than HFC systems.
Target’s Anderson drew attention at the ATMOsphere America conference in 2014 when he announced that the chain would make a CO2 hybrid cascade system its prototype for new Pfresh stores – the first such commitment by a U.S. retailer. More recently, he has spearheaded the installation of propane display cases at more than 580 Target stores, following a White House announcement that Target would be committed to using only HFC cases.
“Whole Foods, US Cold Storage and Nestlé have each pushed the boundaries of natural refrigerant system adoption in their respective sectors, while Hillphoenix’s AdvansorFlex system has made it possible for small-format stores to start installing efficient, environmentally friendly CO2 refrigeration units,” said Derek Hamilton, technical editor of Accelerate America, and vice-president, business development, shecco America. “Paul Anderson has been a leader at Target, first with CO2 cascade systems, and then by installing propane cases on a national scale.”