The installation of China’s first transcritical CO2 system in the retail sector, in a METRO wholesale store in the Lishuiqiao area of Beijing, is just the first step in a journey that will see the German multinational fit transcritical systems in all its new Chinese stores by 2025. reports from ATMOsphere China in Beijing.

“It is planned that starting in 2025, all our new stores in China will be equipped with transcritical CO2,” Alan Lin, head of facility management at METRO China, told the ATMOsphere China conference.

METRO China’s parent company, Germany-based METRO AG, is a world-leading international wholesale and food retail company that has built a global reputation as a committed player in environmental protection efforts by committing to reduce Group-wide CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 (vs. 2011 levels).

Helping to deliver this target and in place since 2013, the METRO Group’s F-Gas Exit Program aims to phase out f-gases in all METRO stores worldwide by 2030, replacing them with natural refrigerant systems where it is technically and economically feasible to do so.

In China, the firm is aiming to eliminate HCFCs entirely by 2019-2020, Lin told the conference. In 2020, it will stop producing R22 systems and fully divest from them by 2025. In 2025, it will stop producing R404A systems and fully divest from them by 2030.

“It is planned that starting in 2025, all our new stores in China will be equipped with transcritical CO2.

Alan Lin, METRO China

Lin presented data demonstrating that the energy performance of the CO2 transcritical system in the Lishuiqiao store – which opened in January 2018 – is already outperforming a benchmark CO2 subcritical system in a METRO store in Shenyang.

In 2016, METRO opened a ‘green store’ in Dongguan, fitted with a subcritical CO2 system. Two more such green stores followed in 2017 (in Jinan) and in 2018 (in Putuo).

The successful rollout of CO2 transcritical in all new METRO stores in China will depend on training. “In China, these are totally new systems. So we need to train our employees,“ Lin said.

Later this year, METRO China will install new CO2 transcritical systems in two existing stores.

He does not see the higher initial investment costs of CO2 transcritical systems compared to HFC-based options as a deterrent. “As the market opens up and new players enter the Chinese market, the initial costs will come down,” he said.

The first ever ATMOsphere China conference on natural refrigerants took place in Beijing from 9-11 April.

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