Panasonic Europe has announced the launch of a new 20HP CO2 (R744) outdoor condensing unit to the European market, with applications for supermarkets and industrial process cooling.

The 20HP unit extends the company’s existing range of 2HP, 4HP and 10HP CO2 outdoor systems and offers support for food retail and process cooling applications, including chilled and low-temperature display cases, walk-in cold rooms, freezers and blast chillers.

“This launch represents a significant step in the company’s strategy to grow within the industrial and retail solutions segment,” Panasonic said in a press release. “[Our] objective is to develop a suite of high-performance, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly cold chain refrigeration solutions.”

According to Panasonic, the CO2 units can be connected to an “unlimited number of evaporators or display cases,” with operating outlet temperatures from −35 to 5°C (−31 to 41°F). The fully inverter-driven system provides “energy efficient operation” in ambient temperatures as high as 45°C (113°F) and as low as −20°C (−4°F). 

“[The condensers] ensure reliable operation no matter the climate,” Panasonic said. “In addition to advanced features, these units comply with future European regulations regarding cooling systems, offering retailers and food outlets a path to long-term savings.”

The 20HP condensing unit offers an extended pipe run of up to 100m (328ft) and has a footprint of 1.06m2 (11.4ft2). A nighttime low-noise operation setting makes the units suitable for convenience stores in residential areas, Panasonic said.

“The 20HP [size] is one of our most requested products,” said Jaume Casanovas, a Technical CO2 Product Manager at Panasonic Europe, in a presentation at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) Europe Summit 2023 held in September in Brussels. ATMOsphere is publisher of R744.com.

No CO2 equator

In the same ATMO Europe presentation, Indy Tharnvithian, a Product Specialist at Panasonic France, explained that the CO2 condensing units use patented split-cycle technology with an intercooler and a two-stage rotary compressor to reduce the compression ratio.

In an R744.com interview at EuroShop 2023, Benjamin Tissot, then CO2 Business Development Manager at Panasonic Europe, noted that “dramatically improved” condenser technology enabled the company’s condensing units to run well in hot climates, including on the Spanish island of Ibiza and in Australia.

Tissot, speaking at the ATMOsphere (ATMO) Europe Summit 2022, said that based on data from previous installations, Panasonic estimated that its CO2 condensing units could reduce energy consumption by 15–20% over HFC systems.

In some situations, Panasonic’s condensing units may be more energy efficient than traditional CO2 racks with adiabatic cooling. A French biotech company in Lyon saw up to a 60% energy savings by switching out its CO2 rack system for two of Panasonic’s 10HP CO2 condensing units.

As of September 2023, Panasonic had installed more than 16,000 outdoor CO2 condensing units in Japan for medium- and low-temperature applications. Since the 2017 European rollout of its 2HP unit, the company has installed more than 3,000 CO2 condensing units in Europe.

“This launch represents a significant step in the company’s strategy to grow within the industrial and retail solutions segment.”

Panasonic