Danfoss said during a webinar on ‘Zero net energy supermarkets: towards a sustainable future’ last week (22 February) that it had partnered with VMA – a German solar energy equipment manufacturer – to install a CO2-based integrated heating and cooling system powered by solar energy at a German supermarket.

Dirk Leinweber, director sales (food retail) at Danfoss, explained during the webinar (hosted by sheccoBase – the market intelligence arm of shecco, publisher of this website, and Danfoss)webinar, that the German supermarket uses a 100 kW peak solar photovoltaic system, a lithium-ion battery bank, and two electric vehicle chargers of 22 kW each.

“This all goes to one central energy management system in the supermarket. All the data points are collected and provided to the owner of the supermarket,” Leinweber said.

“The intelligence of that, behind the scenes, is machine learning and data analytics that we will be increasingly applying here to improve the system,” enthused Leinweber. “We believe that we can ultimately reduce the energy bill of this supermarket by 35%, which is not only good for the supermarket owner but also for our project partners and the planet.”

This case study further demonstrates that supermarkets can maximise energy savings by partnering the HVAC&R system with renewable energy sources, and linking it into a district-heating network, according to Danfoss.  

Hans O. Matthiesen, global segment director (food retail) at Danfoss, said during the webinar that the company is rolling out the smart store of the future. 

An integrated strategy, where cooling and heating, renewable energy and e-mobility go hand-in-hand to optimise the store’s carbon footprint, can not only achieve a zero-net billable energy supermarket, but also offers new business opportunities, explained Matthiesen.

He said for instance that supermarkets can sell excess heat generated by the HVAC&R system to local district energy networks, powering nearby shopping centres, offices or apartments.

“We should always remember that even from a purely thermodynamic point of view, integration is always best, because we reduce the number of components, we reduce inefficiencies, and it should always help prevent energy losses,” Krzysztof Banasiak, a researcher at Norwegian SINTEF Energy Research, said during the webinar.

Asked about the possible challenges related to the use of COin integrated units for commercial applications, Banasiak explained that those challenges are mostly non-technical and related to a lack in skills on the field, as well as an insufficient network of suppliers and servicing companies. 

“This is more the case outside of Europe,” Banasiak explained. “For us, technical issues are pretty much resolved [in Europe],” he said, adding: “CO2 works perfectly fine also in hot climates. Of course, there is a breaking point in a hot climate where CO2 becomes less efficient than HFC-based equipment, but when we go to the annual energy performance profile of the unit, there’s not much of a difference.”

For more information, the recording of the webinar is available below: 

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