Chinese retail chain Hong Fu Supermarkets has installed a CO2 subcritical system at its flagship store located in the city of Hefei, Anhui province, in eastern China.

Preliminary commissioning of the system was completed in July and the store was officially opened in September.

The installation marks the first time a locally-owned Chinese supermarket chain has installed a CO2 based refrigeration system in the country.

While there are currently over 40 subcritical CO2 systems in China, they have all been installed by foreign-owned supermarket chains. Metro China has installed the most to date (28 CO2 subcritical systems).

This installation by Hong Fu Supermarkets signals the increasing awareness of natural refrigerant solutions among key players in the domestic retail market in China.

Wang Zheng, chairman of Hong Fu Supermarkets, stated that “compared with foreign supermarkets, the domestic retail industry (in China) still needs to further improve its environmental protection”.

The installation was a demonstration project jointly led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection, Foreign Economic Office (MEP-FECO), with funding provided by the Multilateral Fund for the Montreal Protocol.

U.S. multinational Emerson led the project, while installation services and refrigeration equipment were supplied by local companies, Anhui Xin Hop Electrical Equipment Co., Ltd. and Jiangsu Ke Lide Refrigeration Equipment Co., Ltd.

According to a news release from Hong Fu Supermarkets, the store is expecting to see a carbon emission reduction of around 12.7% (18.6 tons of carbon dioxide), and a reduction in energy consumption of about 16% compared to conventional non-natural refrigerant options.

The installation follows the recent announcement by METRO AG of a first CO2 transcritical system to be installed at a METRO Wholesale store in Beijing, by the end of this year.

Recognition from Chinese industry associations

At a press conference on 5 November, Hong Fu Supermarkets was jointly awarded the title ‘CO2 Refrigeration Demonstration Supermarket’ by the UNDP, the UN Environment Programme, China’s MEP-Foreign Economic Cooperation Office and the China Chain Store & Franchise Association.

The China Chain Store & Franchise Association is one of the leading retail associations in the country, representing more than 1,000 enterprise members with over 300,000 outlets.

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