“I’m all for CO2, personally and professionally,” said Robert Leonard, responsible for business development at U.S.-based refrigeration contractor Key Mechanical, during ATMOsphere America 2019, held June 17-18 in Atlanta, Ga.

“I think it’s the best refrigerant to go with for grocery store applications.”

Key Mechanical designs, builds and maintains refrigeration systems for several food retailers in the U.S. in the states of Washington, Oregon and California.

So far, it has installed around a dozen transcritical CO2 systems for grocery stores in the region.

Speaking during the Contractor’s Panel session on day two of the conference, Leonard gave a number of reasons why Key Mechanical is becoming increasingly confident in its CO2 solutions.

“Our first one was five years ago and since that time, costs have come down almost at parity for installation,” said Leonard.

“[CO2] is the best refrigerant to go with for grocery store applications.”

Robert Leonard, Key Mechanical

In addition, Leonard said that the company has encountered minimal issues with on-going maintenance.

“For service, they’re great,” said Leonard.

“The CO2 systems are wonderful,” he added. “They seem to operate completely within parameters and more or less we haven’t had any major incidents at any CO2 location.”

The company’s technicians are also gaining CO2 experience, Leonard explained, which is helping reduce installation costs. “The technicians are installing them and they’re learning, so the learning curve is helping with those costs.”

With respect to operation in high ambient temperatures, Leonard said that he has seen its CO2 systems operating well in warmer and warmer climates.

“When we first started, it had to be within that certain band of temperature and climate,” said Leonard. “But now we are able to add them virtually anywhere. We did one in Fresno, California where in the summer, it is very hot and it’s working great.”

Key Mechanical is a dealer of Hillphoenix CO2 systems and works closely with the company on CO2 installations.

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