Signalling growing penetration of CO2 condensing units into the European retail sector, a new Delhaize convenience store in the heart of Belgian capital Brussels uses two units provided by Sanden and fitted in partnership with local contractor SABCOBEL.

The two new Sanden CO2 condensing units were installed in a franchised Shop & Go store on Boulevard Adolphe Max. The supermarket has a footprint of 250m2 and opened at the end of June.

One of the units serves the medium-temperature cabinets, and other serves the frozen food cabinets. They were commissioned in late June.

“A couple of months ago, we started to discuss with Delhaize the possibility of having a test store for our condensing units,” Benjamin Tissot, sales engineer at SANDEN INTERNATIONAL EUROPE Ltd., told in an exclusive interview.

“In some store configurations, CO2 condensing units are the preferred option to address the refrigeration needs, and also due to the limits of propane waterloop systems,” Tissot said.

Delhaize Belgium is aiming to be HFC-free by 2030. For bigger stores, Delhaize Belgium is adopting CO2 by default. For smaller stores, the retailer is also investing in hydrocarbons.

“We’re always looking for opportunities to share our expertise (with CO2 and natural refrigerants) with our franchise partners: with this project –developed by Delhaize engineers and Sanden – Delhaize is showing to its affiliates that CO2 can also be a valid solution for smaller-sized stores,” David Schalenbourg, , director of department – building projects, format & maintenance at Delhaize Belgium, told this website.

“There is no stronger arguement then a real live test,” Schalenbourg said.

Tissot argued that condensing units are “a good option” for stores such as the Adolphe Max Shop & Go, which is fitted with remote multideck cabinets and has frozen as well as chilled produce.

“There will be a selection of solutions with hydrocarbons, CO2, ammonia, water and air. This is what the future will – and should – look like.

Benjamin Tissot, Sanden

CO2 condensing units primed for growth

Tissot is optimistic that Delhaize will choose to replicate the Adolphe Max system in other stores.

Several hundred food retail stores in Japan have already been fitted with the units, where Sanden provides a turnkey solution. In Europe, some 240 Sanden condensing units have been installed in convenience stores, hotels, restaurants, schools and the health care sector, not just to serve cabinets but also cold rooms.

Tissot considers the main competitor to CO2 condensing units to be similar HFC or HFO-based units, rather than hydrocarbons – another natural refrigerant. He rather sees each natural refrigerant complementing the other.

“I don’t really foresee competition between them. I believe there will be a selection of solutions with hydrocarbons, CO2, ammonia, water and air,” Tissot said. “This is what the future will – and should – look like.”

Delhaize to evaluate system performance

Asked whether Delhaize would install more Sanden units in other stores, Schalenbourg said: “First we’ll evaluate the performance of this installation. Looking forward, we confirm that we want to go forward in this direction.”

“Recently we also built (with Panasonic) a cold room running on a small COunit (content 2 kg),” Schalenbourg said. “The engineering team is continuously scanning the market for solutions to improve energy efficiency and simultanuously decrease the environmental impact of our stores,” he added.

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