The E-Commerce and Equipmag exhibitions – held jointly as part of Paris Retail Week – see 1,000 companies and 40,000 professionals gather at the Porte de Versailles exhibition centre in the French capital from 12-14 September to showcase the latest technologies for offline and online retail.

“The CO2 transcritical market in France is growing. We’re simply providing the solutions that the market is asking for,” Didier Rello, marketing director of Exkal, told

Exkal manufactures refrigerated cabinet and display cases for supermarkets.

Large end users ‘conducting the orchestra’

“Big customers like Carrefour are asking for CO2. That’s what’s moving the market in France. They’re conducting the orchestra,” Rello said.

Other key players sounded a similarly optimistic note. “The market for CO2 transcritical in France is picking up. We already have around 50 transcritical installations and we expect to install more,” said Remy Reval, technical director of MCI, a French commercial and industrial refrigeration system installer.

MCI, a subsidiary of multinational Johnson Controls, works closely with rack manufacturers including Advansor, SCM Frigo and Epta to install CO2 transcritical refrigeration systems in supermarkets across France. Their retail clients include Carrefour, Colruyt, Picard and Intermarche, Reval explained.

Interest in natural refrigerant technologies is expected to grow in Europe as HFC phase-down deadlines in the framework of the EU’s F-Gas Regulation draw nearer.

“You need to decide which refrigerant to use in view of the F-Gas Regulation. HFCs will be phased down, so over the ten-year lifecycle of a refrigerated cabinet or display case, it may be better to use natural refrigerants,” said Jonathan Leguil, who installs and maintains refrigeration systems for ENGIE Axima.

Exkal’s Rello laments what he describes as a climate of “misinformation” surrounding natural refrigerants in France. He feels that misconceptions regarding the complexity or safety of natural refrigerant systems mean that some potential customers remain hesitate to go down the natref route.

“Actually natural refrigerants are a very practical solution. They are energy-efficient, and they help you to comply with the F-Gas Regulation. But it takes a lot of communication,” Rello said.