Lawson is aiming to install CO2 transcritical systems in over 4,000 of its convenience stores by the end of February 2020, heard participants at the ATMOsphere Japan conference on natural refrigerants in Tokyo yesterday.
“We’re taking a long-term perspective by proactively introducing natural refrigerants,” Shinichiro Uto, who heads Lawson’s store development division, told the event, held at the Shinagawa conference centre in Tokyo.
By the end of December, Lawson had already installed CO2 transcritical systems in 3,272 stores across Japan’s 47 prefectures and expects to surpass the 3,400 mark by the end of this month.
The majority of Lawson’s CO2 systems have been supplied by Panasonic.
“As the CO2 refrigeration market expands, we’re endeavouring to advance the HVAC&R industry as a whole by field-testing products from a number of manufacturers,” Uto said.
“We’re seeking to move towards a multi-supplier system by FY 2020, to establish a stable supply, improve cost-competitiveness, and hedge risks,” he added.
“We’re taking a long-term perspective by proactively introducing natural refrigerants.”Shinichiro Uto, Lawson
Best-in-Sector: Food Retail
Lawson, a multinational retailer with operations in China, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Hawaii, is among Japan’s biggest convenience store operators. Its efforts to adopt natural refrigerants were recognised at ATMOsphere Japan with an Accelerate Japan award for ‘Best-in-Sector: Food Retail’. The award was granted by shecco – publisher of this website and host of ATMOsphere conferences.
The retailer has been trialling different natural refrigerant system types to help achieve its targets.
In May 2018, the company began using a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries 10HP CO2 system at one of its stores. It is scheduled to be trialed in two more stores in this month.
Lawson also aims to begin testing the use of hydrocarbon-based display cases, referencing Embraco’s hydrocarbon based Plug N’ Cool system in its presentation.
Uto said that Lawson recognizes hydrocarbons “as highly energy efficient refrigerants ideal for use in small built-in display cases.”
“Thus, we plan to take measures to promote the early-stage development of hydrocarbon products.”
No timeline was indicated yet for the installation of the hydrocarbon systems.
Lawson operates 13,992 stores in Japan, boasting total net sales of 2.283 billion yen in FY 2017.