In its November-December 2016 issue, Accelerate America, published by shecco, listed 25 individuals (manufacturers, end users and one utility executive) who are driving the adoption of natural refrigerants in North America. Of those, 15 are involved with CO2 systems as a key part of their work.

The following are short profiles of these 15 people.

Original Equipment Manufacturers

Jeffrey Gingras
President, Systèmes LMP
Key Accomplishment: Leading Systemes LMP’s marketing of efficient transcritical CO2 systems, often as a replacement for aging equipment in existing stores.

Jeffrey Gingras, who was promoted from vice president to president of Systèmes LMP in November 2015, has been active in promoting its transcritical CO2 systems in Canada and the U.S. Gingras played a role in Systemes LMP’s decision to build its own testing facility to develop solutions for low-temperature applications, including cascade, subcritical and transcritical CO2. Systemes LMP has distinguished itself in the marketplace with a transcritical system that uses mechanical subcooling to operate more efficiently in warmer climates. The company has also gained attention for replacing aging R22 systems at Sobeys stores in Canada with transcritical CO2 systems, including one store that has an integrated refrigeration/air conditioning and heating system; it replaced an R22 system at a Montreal-area warehouse operated by Plaisirs Gastronomiques with an innovative hybrid solution combining an ice slurry, a CO2 cascade system and two transcritical CO2 systems.

Marc-André Lesmerises
CEO and Co-Founder, Carnot Refrigeration
Key Accomplishment: Producing the first transcritical systems in North America and the first propane/CO2 system in the U.S.

Marc-André Lesmerises, Accelerate America’s Person of the Year in 2016, helped bring CO2 transcritical refrigeration to the North American continent in 2009 as a supplier of Sobeys’ first units, and to the U.S. in 2013, as a supplier to Hannaford Supermarkets. Since then, he has expanded his repertoire, making CO2 systems for cold storage and processing plants, ice rinks and data centers, and also ammonia/CO2 and ammonia/glycol systems for industrial facilities. In one of his boldest moves yet, this year he created the first U.S. propane/CO2 cascade system for a Whole Foods store in Santa Clara, Calif.

Scott Martin
Director of Sustainable Technologies, Refrigeration Systems Division, Hillphoenix
Key Accomplishment: Spearheading Hillphoenix’s Second Nature division and supporting the acquisition of Advansor.

A third-generation refrigeration engineer, Scott Martin has been instrumental in leading Hillphoenix’s Second Nature line of refrigeration equipment, which was introduced in the mid-1990s as one of the first cooling technologies to reduce the charge of refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer or have a high GWP (global warming potential). Martin is a constant presence at industry events and frequently quoted in trade publications discussing the latest installation of Second Nature CO2 equipment, including secondary, cascade, and, more recently, transcritical units, which have now exceeded 200 units in North America (see page 56). He was a key player in Hillphoenix’s 2011 acquisition of Danish transcritical OEM Advansor, which helped Hillphoenix to become a transcritical OEM (see page 58).

Masood Ali
Global Leader of Center of Excellence for Alternative Systems, Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration
Key Accomplishment: Designed a low-charge/high efficiency NH3/CO2 cascade system installed at a Piggly Wiggly store

Masood Ali has designed and validated systems such as a transcritical condensing unit with split cycle with two-stage compression, a trans-critical booster system with two-stage expansion for supermarkets, and a low charge-high efficiency NH3/CO2 cascade system for supermarkets and cold storage. The NH3/CO2 system is installed in a Piggly Wiggly store nearby Heatcraft’s facility in Columbus, Ga., the ammonia rack in the store was found to consume 22% less energy than an HFC rack Heatcraft installed in the store for comparison purposes. Ali is a member of ASHRAE, a corresponding member of ASHRAE 10.7, a member of the CANENA Technical Harmonization Sub-Committee, and a member of UL’s Joint Task Force for Flammable Refrigerants.

Component Manufacturers

Joe Sanchez
Application Engineering Manager, Bitzer US
Key Accomplishment: Promoting the exchange of natural refrigerant technologies across the commercial and industrial sectors.

Joe Sanchez has gained some distinction in the natural refrigerants industry for coining the word “industrommercial,” which means “suitable or fit for industrial or commercial use.” The term It reflects the growing overlap of commercial and industrial applications of natural refrigerant technologies. In his many industry presentations, Sanchez is showing how each sector can make use of the other’s technology, with Bitzer providing compressors that serve both types. The exchange of technologies, he believes, will ensure the success of natural refrigerants. Sanchez is a member of IIAR, RETA and ASHRAE, and is also active with AHRI in the Compressors and Condensing Units section and its subcommittees.

James Knudsen
North American Segment Leader for Food Retail, Danfoss
Key Accomplishment: Sharing insights about the business case for transcritical CO2 refrigeration.

James Knudsen joined Danfoss in September 2015 after a long career in the refrigeration business and other segments. From 2011 to 2015, he focused on the global product development strategy for advanced refrigeration systems. To this has brought a passion for, and understanding of, natural refrigerant technologies, which are reflected in a trio of guest columns he wrote for Accelerate America. In his first column he outlined the basic choice faced by the HVAC&R industry: to proceed with chemical refrigerants or invest in natural refrigerants, a long-term solution that is known, viable and safe. His other two columns broke down the business case for transcritical CO2 systems, first looking at their overall ROI and then analyzing their energy advantages – even in warm climates, if the proper technology enhancements are used.

André Patenaude
Director – CO2 Business Development, Emerson Climate Technologies
Key Accomplishment: Educating the industry on the nuances of CO2 technology.

André Patenaude is Emerson’s CO2 maven, responsible for developing its global strategy for marketing CO2-related products such as compressors and controllers His work brings him in contact with end users, contractors, wholesalers and OEMs. He can often be found explaining the magic of CO2 as a refrigerant –  along with its inherent challenges – at industry conferences and trade shows. He put his CO2 expertise to good use in a guest column in this magazine in the November 2015 issue called “Seven Keys to Servicing CO2 Systems”.

End Users: Food Retail

Paul Anderson
Director of Engineering, Target
Key Accomplishment: CO2 cascade prototype system, plans for transcritical installations.

Paul Anderson stirred the audience at the ATMOsphere America 2014 conference when he announced that Target had adopted a new prototype refrigeration system for new PFresh outlets – a hybrid cascade that uses DX CO2 for low-temperature cases. In 2017, Target plans to install its first transcritical CO2 systems in a few locations.

Kevin Christopherson
Energy Program Manager, Roundy’s
Key Accomplishment: Launched Roundy’s first transcritical CO2 test, which has led to six more this year.

Kevin Christopherson spent two years evaluating whether Roundy’s should test a CO2-only transcritical refrigeration system. He ultimately decided the chain should move forward with a test, and secured buy-in from its chairman and chief executive officer, Robert Mariano. The first transcritical installation took place at a Pick ‘n Save store in Menomonee Falls, Wis. In January 2014. On an annual basis, the transcritical system saves $13,000 in energy costs over a comparable HFC system. The success of the first test led Roundy’s, now a division of Kroger, to install a second transcritical system in January 2016, followed by five more installations this year; four more transcritical stores are slated for 2017, which will make Roundy’s the leading user of transcritical technology in food stores in the U.S. other than Whole Foods Market. Christopherson, whose vision started it all, continues to manage the transcritical rollout.

Tristam Coffin
Director of Sustainability & Facilities, Whole Foods Market’s Northern California division
Key Accomplishment: Managing a potpourri of natural refrigerant systems.

Whole Foods Market has distinguished itself in the marketplace by its willingness to test every available natural refrigerant option. The person who has played one of the largest roles in this process is Tristam Coffin, who operates out of Northern California but who coordinates with Whole Foods’ corporate executives on sustainability projects. While still working on the East Coast, he oversaw Whole Foods’ first transcritical (and totally HFC-free) store in Brooklyn, N.Y. In California, he has managed cascade systems, a slew of transcritical stores, an ammonia/CO2 store system, and his latest project, a propane/CO2 cascade system in a store in Santa Clara, Calif.

Harrison Horning
Director of Energy & Facility Services, Hannaford Supermarkets
Key Accomplishment: Managed first installation of transcritical CO2 refrigeration in a U.S. supermarket, and is pursuing a transcritical retrofit.

Harrison Horning made his first mark in natural refrigerants marketplace by overseeing the first installation of a transcritical CO2 system in a U.S. supermarket – in a Hannaford store in Turner, Maine, in July 2013. At ATMOsphere America 2015, he reported that the energy performance of the transcritical system was comparable to that of HFC DX system in a similar store. Since then, Hannaford opened a second transcritical store in North Berwick, Maine in 2015, and is beginning installation of a transcritical system in an existing store in Raymond, N.H., its first retrofit project. Hannaford is among the first retailers to purchase carbon credits from retailers and others that have earned them by recycling HFC refrigerants.

Yves Hugron
Director of Buildings, Systems and the Environment, Sobeys Quebec
Key Accomplishment: Helping to make Sobeys the leader in transcritical CO2 installations among North American food retailers.

Yves Hugron played a prominent in role in starting Sobeys, Canada’s second largest food retailer, on the road to transcritical CO2 systems in its corporate and franchised stores in Quebec in 2009, and establishing the technology as the chain’s standard refrigeration system in 2011. Since then, Sobeys has become the leader in transcritical installations among North American food retailers, installing them in 82 stores (mostly in Quebec but in other provinces too) as of last July, with another nine installations expected by year’s end. Every year, 15-20 additional stores are equipped with transcritical CO2, both new stores and retrofits. Hugron was and remains adamant about the need for a transcritical, a future-proof, energy-efficient system that will safeguard the chain from future refrigerant phase outs.

 Keith Milliga
CIO, JTM Corp. (Piggly Wiggly)
Key Accomplishment: Installing an NH3/CO2 cascade system in a store.

When JTM Corp. decided to open its 19th Piggly Wiggly store in Columbus, Ga., Keith Milligan decided it would use a refrigeration system tried in only three other stores in the U.S. – an ammonia/CO2 cascade system, the ammonia confined to the roof. The system was provided by Heatcraft Worldwide Refrigeration’s Kysor/Warren brand, whose factory is just 1.5 miles from the new store. Milligan has allowed the store to serve as a test lab for Kysor/Warren. The store has also become a showcase for other retailers to learn about using NH3/CO2 in supermarket refrigeration.

End Users: Industrial

Michael Lynch
Vice President – Engineering, United States Cold Storage
Key Accomplishment: Managing rollout of NH3/CO2 systems.

Beginning in 2005, United States Cold Storage has led the cold storage industry in the installation of ammonia/CO2 cascade systems. With direction from Michael Lynch, the company now operates 12 plants with the technology, out of its 36 total facilities. Lynch has overseen these deployments since becoming vice president – engineering in 2011. Up until the last few years, many in the industry doubted the efficacy of NH3/CO2 refrigeration, but Lynch maintained US Cold Storage’s commitment to the system. Now it is becoming increasingly adopted as the advantages have become clear: no ammonia in the storage areas, much less ammonia charge, costs comparable to those of standard systems, and energy efficiency (5.8% more on average than conventional systems at US Cold Storage).

End Users: Foodservice

Antoine Azar
Global Program Director, The Coca-Cola Company
Key Accomplishment: Driving worldwide adoption of HFC-free equipment.

Coca-Cola has become the lead proponent of using CO2 as a refrigerant in beverage coolers and vending machines worldwide in lieu of HFCs, with a much smaller percentage employing propane. By the end of 2015, the company had deployed more than 1.8 million HFC-free units globally. One of the chief managers of Coke’s HFC-free program is Antoine Azar; he is also chairman of the HFC-free advocacy group Refrigerants, Naturally!. Azar is helping to drive Coke’s plan to be HFC-free in almost all new equipment purchases within two years. North America is somewhat behind other regions, with 12,354 HFC-free units in 2014, but that year Coke reported that a substantial portion of North America’s equipment purchases were CO2-based. At ATMOsphere America in June, Azar said Coke is opening the door to more hydrocarbon equipment for smaller cooler equipment.