Conyers, Ga.-based Hillphoenix, known for its transcritical installations at North American supermarkets, has taken a two-pronged approach to natural refrigerant technology for industrial plants: transcritical CO2, and low-charge packaged ammonia units designed by NXTCOLD, for which it has an exclusive partnership to promote, design, manufacture and sell the technology in North and Latin America.

“We’re seeing marginally more interest in NXTCOLD,” said Tim Henderson, industrial program manager, at the Global Cold Chain Expo in June. “But we’ve talked to several people about CO2. I don’t know that we’ve talked to anybody about synthetics.”

Hillphoenix sold its first NXTCOLD unit to a cold-storage plant in Fargo, N.D.; the unit was started up in August.

“I don’t know that we’ve talked to anybody about synthetics.”  

Tim Henderson, industrial program manager, Hillphoenix

In September, Henningsen Cold Storage, which installed a Carnot CO2 transcritical system at a plant in Grandview, Wash., was expected to install a Hillphoenix system at a facility in Scranton, Pa, replacing a low-temperature R404A system.

The cost of equipment and installation for natural refrigerant equipment is still more than that of synthetic refrigerant equipment, Henderson acknowledged. NXTCOLD costs more than transcritical CO2, though it is comparable to that of central ammonia systems. “In the near future, as we build more of them, NXTCOLD units will be a lower-cost solution than central ammonia plants,” he said.

Henderson alluded to one industrial customer who, presented with HFC, CO2and NXTCOLD systems, described them as “good, better, best,” though the customer has not yet made a selection.

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