Neelands Group Limited, a refrigeration contractor based in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, has developed a reputation as one of the leading installers of transcritical CO2 systems in North America, with more than 60 transcritical CO2 rack installations in the province of Ontario to date, according to Tom Quaglia, its senior manager, construction.
Neelands estimates that these installations have displaced approximately 29,000kg (63,934lbs) of HFC refrigerants, equivalent in CO2e emissions to 100,000 metric tons, or 21,000 passenger vehicles driven for one year, said Quaglia.
On its website (www.neelands.com), the company notes that it “has pioneered CO2 supermarket installations for close to 10 years and has gained valuable experience from the many installations throughout Canada. That experience has proved that CO2 can be applied in supermarkets enabling both environmentally friendly and energy saving systems to operate successfully in all types of retail applications.”
Among its food retailer customers, Longo’s, a 35-store chain based in Vaughan, Ontario, has been a leading adopter of transcritical CO2 systems, with 35% (12 stores) using the technology, “and this number continues to grow,” said Quaglia. “Longo’s has been a large supporter of CO2 technology here in Ontario, and as an influencer in the industry has helped us push this through to our other customers.”
In addition to Longo’s, Neeland’s has installed transcritical CO2 systems for such retailers as Metro and Costco, as well as many independents, including Highland Farms, Greco’s and Coppa’s, said Quaglia, in an interview at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Energy & Store Development Conference. Some of the installations were retrofits, he added. In 2019, the contractor has installed or will install CO2 systems in four new stores, three at Longo’s and one at Costco, he added.
Most of the Ontario stores using transcritical CO2 have more than one rack, said Quaglia, explaining that Ontario’s safety standards limit the horsepower of each rack to under 100. OEMs of transcritical equipment Neelands works with include LMP Systems, Carnot and Hillphoenix. Many of the stores employ adiabatic condensers from suppliers like Guntner in their transcritical systems.
The Canadian food retailing industry as a whole has embraced transcritical CO2 systems, including the two largest chains, Sobey’s (the pioneer of the technology) and Loblaw. “I don’t think there’s a chain in Canada that isn’t doing it,” said Quaglia. Many of the stores are in the province of Quebec, where Neelands doesn’t have customers due to the preference there for local contractors.
One of Neeland’s most notable CO2 installations took place about a year ago at a Longo’s store in Stouffville, Ontario, what is called Canada’s first “near-net-zero supermarket.”
According to Neelands’ website, the store “will reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of CO2 as a natural refrigerant, integration of multiple technologies to reduce losses of refrigerant, recover waste heat from it’s operation, lower heating and cooling loads, and produce and use clean energy from renewable technologies such as rooftop solar panels, building integrated photovoltaic panels, combined heat and power generation, advanced software, and other advanced building materials.”
The 40,000ft2 (3,716m2) supermarket will use 35% less energy than similar stores and produce 65% of it’s own energy through renewable technologies, Neelands says, adding that “the goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by between 1,500 and 2,000 metric tons per year, or the equivalent of taking from 274 to 366 cars off the road.”
Neelands also provides CO2 systems for cooling data centers, including a 2014 installation of a Carnot system at a Bell Canada facility in Ottawa. “Longo’s has been a large supporter of CO2 technology here in Ontario, and as an influencer in the industry has helped us push this through to our other customers.– Tom Quaglia, Neelands